The highest rated "I" restaurant in Boston is Island Creek Oyster Bar, in Kenmore. On the same block as the Kenmore T station, ISOB. Owner and operator Skip Bennett opened Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, which now provide the restaurant, along with many other Boston restaurants, with extremely locally sourced farm-to-table bivalves. With a 25-seat bar and plenty of dining space, the modern decor mixes well with the remnants of fallen oyster shells that are caged to the walls.
Opening at 4 for the raw bar & drinks, dinner does not start until promptly at 5pm. We headed to the bar for an amazing cocktail. Although a lengthy list, we both decided on the "Death in the afternoon", a mix of champagne & absinthe (two of my favorite drinks!) with a twinge of lemon zest.
At this point I was pumped, an amazing cocktail, a hopping bar scene, what else do you need? Unfortunately the meal went downhill after the cocktail. We headed past the large raw bar to the dining room.
We took our seats and were given our just-printed-fresh menus. With an informative raw menu providing a variety of locally-sourced oysters and shellfish (but no crab), I could see how this place is so popular. Not the biggest fan of raw anything, I passed on the raw bar (which may be why the meal went downhill) and went straight to the fried clams.
I usually love all fried clams, or anything fried really, but in each bite I had bits of sand, so I was sadly disappointed. My date had an oyster slider which she reported was tastier than the clams.
For dinner I went with the lobster roll, having heard this roll was the best in Boston (even better than my warm favorite at Neptune Oyster) I had to try it. A nice toasted bun hugged the lobster meat which was well prepared, but the killer of the whole dish was the overpowering raw red onion bits. Each bite tasted a bit like lobster, a bit like mayo, and a bunch like onion. I love onion, but I did not order an onion roll!
My date went with the seafood casserole, a mix of scallops, lobster, pollock, and vegetables in a lobster cream sauce topped with a crust. Although a bit heavy from the cream sauce, she was almost able to finish the dish. It smelled amazing & she seemed to enjoy it as well.
It seems like my date had better luck in the ordering-department. If it weren't for the amazing cocktail, I may not have the guts to go back, but at some point I will go back to give it one more chance (and have a few more tasty cocktails) since it's rating is so high from everyone else...and I do love clam chowder.