Endless Road Trip Boston: Ye Olde Union Oyster House
On our Sam Adams tour, we heard references to the Union Oyster house several times during the two hours we were there. One memorable reference was to their food, while the other was to a beer that they brew only to serve at that one location. So obviously, our post-brewery eating agenda was set.
Of course, what’s a trip to Boston without a little history?! The Union Oyster House claims to fame because of its food, yes, but also its history. It’s the oldest restaurant (in continuous service) in the United States. The restaurant has seated members of the Union Army, those damn Red Coats (I’m sure), presidents and politician, including plenty of those Kennedys. Apparently JFK had a favorite booth upstairs that is now dedicated to him—”The Kennedy Booth.”
It’s also more in more demand than we thought…with a three-hour wait, we had reservations at 10:00 P.M. It was also worth it…
Oyster House Clam Chowder
On the menu underneath “Clam Chowder,” it says “A Boston Classic.” Obviously, that’s what I’m getting. And the expectations are high. For anyone to claim it’s a classic, it needs to be pretty damn good, or I’m going to bitch about it. The chowder was creamy (as it should be), had plenty of potatoes (cooked the right way—not too mushy but not too raw) and every single spoonful had a good helping of clams. The chowder alone would have been enough to fill me up. It was simple, yet fulfilling.
Boston Baked Beans
I’m not a huge fan of beans, plus I had just scrapped every drop of clam chowder out of my bowl, but If I’m in Beantown, I’m going to have to at least try the beans, right? I’m still not sure why they call it beantown. Apparently people loved baking beans in molasses and it stuck (no PUN intended). Anywhoo, I got the beans. They were tasty. But even though it looks a little watery, the texture was just right—it wasn’t too thin and the beans stuck to each other when you spooned them out. The beans were cooked right and they were nice and sweet. If you’re going to get beans in Beantown, get them at the Oyster House.
The rest of the patrons were in bibs cracking open lobster shells. But I’ve had regular lobster before. Bring out the Lobster Newburg! If you don’t know what it is—it is tons and tons (like a whole lobster’s worth) of lobster meat, rice pilaf, and sherry sauce, served on a decadent pastry. Decadent is the best word to describe this dish. Obviously, the lobster dominates, but is complemented with the rich sherry sauce, along with the crunch of a pastry underneath. When you get everything on the dish (rice pilaf, lobster, pastry) in one bite, it really is the perfect bite. If it weren’t for the beer, clam chowder, and beans I ate beforehand, I would have finished this entire dish. Regardless – I enjoyed every bite.
And for our land-loving friends – of course there is the filet. With béarnaise sauce and something new, to me at least,— a whole roasted shallot. First off, the filet was great and cooked perfectly. Sadly, it is hard to find places that can cook a steak properly. What is more interesting though is the roasted shallot. Rather than offering the option of having mushrooms and onions or the sauce, they offer the sauce and a roasted shallot. The shallot actually turned out to be better than mushrooms and onions. Yum.
This is a place worth the wait. The food leaves you completely satisfied and the atmosphere is great. If you ever go to Boston, visit the Union Oyster House (just make reservations far in advance)!