quick bite: Row 34

February 28, 2023

The pandemic put an end to many of my favorite restaurants including Island Creek Oyster Bar (ICOB). We went to the Burlington location often for many years, and I was disappointed when it shuttered. It wasn’t long, however, before Row 34, a longtime favorite in the Seaport, reopened in its place. If you didn’t know better you wouldn’t have thought anything happened. The space was the same, the menu was the same, only the name was noticeably different.

Tonight was the first time I could tell I wasn’t at Island Creek. Things were just enough different, and better. The menus were new and much better. The food hit a high note it hadn’t before. And I left more satisfied with my meal than I had in recent visits.

I can’t eat raw oysters (allergy), but I go to Row 34 primarily for the raw bar. This usually means I get shrimp and my wife gets oysters. I keep a notes on all the oysters she eats and how much she likes them, living vicariously. I also like the variety of ceviches, crudos, and pates they offer. We’ve enjoyed both the swordfish pastrami and the whitefish pate. Tonight we shared shrimp and the spicy marinated mussels along with a side of their awesome shoestring fries. The mussels, served chilled and out of the shell, were very good but not quite spicy enough for me. They came with a few saltines, but I preferred to eat them with the fries.

The shrimp is always excellent. I like cocktail shrimp to have a bite without being chewy or stringy. These are always fresh with the perfect texture and good flavor. It’s best when my wife gets oysters because I like dipping them in the mignonette , but the cocktail sauce works too. Or as we found out tonight, they are great dipped in the spicy marinade left in the bottom of the mussels jar.

My wife got a bowl of clam chowder. I never really liked the ICOB clam chowder, but this was excellent. It was smokey without being too bacony (is that a word? should be). There were good pieces of clam and potato, and it was rich and creamy, everything you want in a chowder. I got an oyster slider. I had one when it was on the ICOB menu. It was just ok. Not tonight. Tonight it was fabulous. The bun was nicely buttered and toasted. The oyster was crispy and juicy and the ratio of it all was spot on.

Of course we had cocktails. I always liked ICOB’s drinks and Row 34 has kept up the good bartending. The service was also good, as it usually is. I’m sure there will be more updates since we do eat here several times a year, but tonight was excellent, and I am hopeful it’s an indication of the direction the restaurant is heading. If it is, I’ll be back even more often.

More quick bites

One thought on “quick bite: Row 34

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: