I'm going to be perfectly honest with my readers; prior to the tasting session at Boston Seafood Shack, I did some online research on the restaurant and boy, were the results far from flattering. If you looked up hungrygowhere.com, you'd probably still see the nasty reviews up there. I promised myself as a food writer that I will never sugar coat a truly bad experience, if not that defeats the point of a review. This might be awkward hmm.
Nonetheless, one of the main reasons why they invited food blogger Melissa (melicacy.com) who in turn brought me along is because Boston Seafood Shack has committed to change. The previous service crew team has been served fried cuttlefish (fired), the head chef has been replaced and the recipes have been tweaked. Even the ordering format has changed from a fast-food counter style to table menu ordering like a proper restaurant. These guys are serious about getting back on track.
Meeting the chirpy PR team of Reza and Eileen, I'm glad the experience started out well with these amicable fellows. The restaurant interior is clean, brightly lit with a lot of natural sunlight from the glass windows, and has a casual nautical theme associated with western seafood.
So how does the food measure up?
First up were portions of Mussels/Clams with Garlic Bread ($12). These came with spicy white wine broth, a very classic seafood dish and loads of garlic. The white wine reduction was pretty well done, not tasting any of the alcohol and pairing well with the shellfish. The ample diced garlic and spice made sure there was not much oceanic taste from the clams/mussels. My only gripe is that serving pot was not wide enough, and wanting to dip garlic bread in the white wine sauce below all the claims/mussels proved as challenging as wrestling a polar bear.
Boston Seafood Bucket ($17). A fried mix of calamari, oysters, prawns and fish and chips. Eating the entire bucket can get a bit repetitive on the palate, with every item fried in the same batter and giving similar textures. The portion's pretty big though and the price is quite reasonable.
Boston Premium Lobstah Roll ($14). Oh yea, the photo looks as good as it tastes. This was my favourite item at Boston Seafood Shack. The lobster chunks were huge in this bun roll and the creamy lobster mayonnaise sauce was refreshing after all the fried goods. The lobster wasn't shredded finely and served with loads of mayonnaise to musk the lack of meat like other places do to save cost. This is the star buy here.
Seafood Grilled Platter ($24). Grilled red snapper, prawns, calamari, corn and buttered rice. Compared to the fried seafood bucket, this provided much more variety in taste and texture combining fried and grilled elements with staple rice. I felt the snapper wasn't fresh enough though, as grilled seafood needs to be really fresh to bring out the natural flavours. Compared to Fish & Co's seafood platter which no doubt everyone will use as a gauge, this dish still has improvements to make.
From top: Baked Seafood Marinara pasta ($14), Crabmeat Porcini Cream Sauce pasta ($14). I was really full by this point, but the bottomless pit somehow managed 2 more pastas. The seafood marinara sauce tasted like the cook misread 2 teaspoons of basil as 2 barrels. The herbs were just too overpowering and I hope this was a one off mistake.
The Crabmeat Porcini was a completely different experience, with generous amounts of crab meat mixed with springy porcini mushrooms and light, tasty cream sauce. This was a pretty good pasta even after so much food.
There were a few hits and misses at Boston Seafood Shack, and I am glad to say that this restaurant is not as bad as the internet puts it out to be. They had a rocky start, but not now anyway. Some of the dishes like the Lobstah Roll and Crispy Soft Shell crab have very generous portions and serve value for money. If you eat with an unbiased stomach, Boston Seafood Shack is worth a try if you're in the area.
Expected damage if you eat normally: $20-$30 per pax
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Recommended Dish(es): Lobstah roll
Date of Visit: Sep 25, 2013
Spending per head: Approximately $25(Lunch)
Keep it up!