[Boston] 4 days end of October

DO NOT get a rental car. Just don’t. Ride share (Uber, Lyft) or on foot is the way to go. Or maybe water taxi from the airport to your hotel.


No car, I’ll use some taxi service indeed. Or just walk. Enjoy the foliage!

I holidayed around New England a while back, with a rental car, but never got to see Boston. But this time won’t be my only time here, I’ll probably come back either for work or pleasure.


Two more for you to consider: Bar Mezzana and Black Lamb.


+1 - Ohh, the crudo at Bar Mezzana…


The MBTA ferries are short, inexpensive boat rides that have great city views.


This looked very interesting, from today’s Globe. Sorry for the length, otherwise a firewall.

A first look at All That Fish + Oyster

Garrett Harker’s new restaurant paves the way for Eastern Standard’s comeback

By Devra First Globe Staff,Updated September 18, 2023, 9:00 a.m.


The bar and dining area at All That Fish + Oyster, in the Fenway. It’s the first concept for Garrett Harker and team after the closing of Eastern Standard.JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

The interior is spare and neutral, so the eye is drawn to what matters most: the raw bar, the people making cocktails, the glow from the semi-open kitchen to the side. This is All That Fish + Oyster, the first of four new concepts in the Fenway from proprietor Garrett Harker and crew. There will also be a cafe, a bar called Equal Measure, and the cocktail cherry on top — a revived Eastern Standard, back after the beloved original closed in 2021. (Next door, sister spots Island Creek Oyster Bar and The Hawthorne were no slouches either.)

ES Hospitality makes its home on Beacon Street instead of Comm Ave this time, part of a luxury residence called Bower. The group’s culinary director is Nemo Bolin, who has worked at places like No. 9 Park, Craigie Street Bistrot, and Locke-Ober, as well as Rubicon and Chez Papa in San Francisco. It was at Cook & Brown, his Providence restaurant, that he blew me away, turning seasonal New England ingredients into precise but unstuffy and delicious dishes. Writing about it a decade ago, I said that if it were in Boston, it would be a local favorite. Well here we are.

Familiar figures roam the room: Harker and beverage director Jackson Cannon, who has been so instrumental in shaping Boston’s cocktail scene. They’re shaking hands and greeting former regulars. The Sox are playing tonight, and the lights of Fenway Park are visible from what will be the outdoor patio, coming soon.

Garrett Harker (left) oversees activity at the service area at All That Fish + Oyster, in the Fenway. It’s the first concept for Harker and team after the closing of Eastern Standard.JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

In case you didn’t guess, All That Fish + Oyster focuses on seafood. As we did so often at Eastern Standard, we start with oysters. There are three kinds on offer — Beach Point, Rocky Nook, and Ichabod — an approach I quite like. Options, just enough. They’re impeccably shucked, served with orange mignonette, a dollop of horseradish nestled in red chile sauce, and wedges of lime.

The menu is stocked with flavors light and bright, drawing from Asia, Peru, and beyond. Dayboat scallop tiradito features a golden sauce warmed with aji amarillo and sprinkled with corn nuts and kernels of corn. Crudos are a highlight of this menu, which also features versions made with sea bass, fluke, and beef. Flatbreads also feature prominently: coconut flatbread, scallion pancakes, and salt and vinegar rice crisps. You can order them with a selection of sauces, from those that came with our oysters to one made with lime and green herbs and a creamy white garlic sauce.

Citrus-marinated grilled shrimp with rice noodle salad at All That Fish + Oyster, in the Fenway. JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

From the section titled “chilled + crunchy,” we snack on whipped avocado with plantain chips. Here, diners will also find spicy octopus tostadas and lobster in tiger’s milk with sweet potato chips and passionfruit.

We move on to “hot + saucy,” as one does. There’s a local seafood chowder with coconut, hominy, and lime. Those who want a break from seafood will appreciate smoky chicken wings with Sichuan peppercorns and dried chiles. We’ve arrived too late to get our hands on lobster scallion pancakes with garlic sauce and pea shoots. Instead, we order the charred hamachi collar. This section of the yellowtail, below the head and above the gills, is served on the bone, rich and meaty. It’s embedded with white and black sesame seeds, wreathed with fresh green herbs, and served with pickled ginger mayo for dipping.

Lobster in tiger’s milk served with sweet potato chips and passionfruit at All That Fish + Oyster, in the Fenway.JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

We attempt to follow instructions — the next section of the menu is titled “eat your greens” — and get the lone dud of the night: grilled bok choy, bitter, watery, and undercooked. We move on to the more affirming “you’re a catch.” There’s bluefish with local creamed corn, green chiles, and coconut milk. A Vietnam-inspired dish of grilled shrimp comes with rice noodles and herbs.

For dessert, we are enticed by frozen grapes with warm dipping chocolate and olive oil. They’re still working on the dish, a staffer tells us. Coconut rice pudding with sour orange caramel and sea salt is a fine backup option.

Dayboat scallop tiradito features a golden sauce warmed with aji amarillo and sprinkled with corn nuts and kernels of corn at All That Fish + Oyster. JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

The cocktail menu is concise and endearingly wacky, from the Band of Gypsies (made with turmeric and tomato) to the Banana Boulevardier (which brings one of my least favorite fruit flavors to one of my most favorite cocktails). La Penùltima is a rummy salute to the bars of Puerto Rico, the Mahaniyom Special is a pandan-enhanced Old Fashioned that nods to Brookline’s excellent Thai restaurant, and the Spice Girl Margarita probably is, as the drinks list says, what you really, really want. Elsewhere, there’s the refreshing, spirit-free Summer of Shrub, Friulano on tap, Mexican chardonnay, chilled Cinsault, and a tight list of easy-drinking beers including Fort Hill Fresh Pick IPA, Narragansett lager, and Rothaus Tannenzapfle pilsner.

It will be interesting to see what comes next from the team of Harker, Cannon, and Bolin. The Eastern Standard website — like the restaurant itself, as it points out — is currently under construction. “Every restaurant’s a comeback,” it says. “See you soon!”

771 Beacon St., Fenway, 857-305-3095, www.allthatboston.com. Wed-Sun 5-10 p.m. (weekend brunch and daily lunch and dinner coming soon). Dishes $10-$38. Cocktails $10-$15.

Charred Hamachi Collar seasoned with soy sauce, sesame, and served with pickled ginger mayo at All That Fish + Oyster.JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Devra First can be reached at devra.first@globe.com. Follow her @devrafirst.


Neptune Oyster is very good, but I’m not sure you want to deal with the rigamarole of standing in line. Agreed with @kobuta that Select Oyster Bar is excellent but I’ve only been there once (right after I happily got laid-off so it felt celebratory yet casual). I also mapped out from your hotel that haley.henry is but a 0.5-mile walk/drive. It is a TINY wonderful little jewel box of a place and it’s close to some historic sites (Granary Burying Ground) but otherwise, the immediate area is just meh (I used to work close by). Or you could go full-on Bostonian and go to Yankee Lobster, order a lobster roll, after having grabbed a chilled bottle of wine or beer from Cardullo’s and brown bag it while sitting on a discrete spot on the waterfront and watch the boats and planes go by. (I may be speaking from experience :wink:. Just be discrete…we are way too uptight here about stuff like that in New England.) I am an ocean-centric Onion, as a native Rhode Islander, so my advice will always be to hang out by the water.


Great tips! :slight_smile: And looking at them on google maps, I notice some other options nearby. Like Eataly, 21st Amendment, and Atlantic Fish Company. 21st Amendment seems like a great, local sportsbar, a spot where you could bump into Ben Affleck?! Might be fun to watch a game there.

Eately…My hubby B used to once go in a while for lunch while he was consulting “in the big city” (we are country mice, relatively speaking…we live on the border of Cambridge and Somerville, in a town called Arlington). Guess that’s an option but a corporate-ish one? Atlantic Fish Co I would avoid (unless other folks have better data). 21st Amendment is the type of place I used to hang out at…right next to the State House, where you could overhear politicians’ chatter. Not many good dive bars in Boston anymore, and I would place that squarely in the dive bar category, if that’s your thing. It certainly used to be my thing before I had a kid.

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Okay, thanks, yes Eataly would more likely be a place where I would just be wandering around, biding my time while doing some shopping for small items to take home.

Not necessarily looking for a dive bar, but maybe on the Sunday afternoon just watching some sports - is that a thing in Boston?

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I stopped being a big Patriots fan long ago but, oh yes, football-watching on a Sunday afternoon is definitely a big thing at bars here in the Boston area, which can be a lot of fun, depending on where you choose. It’s almost better to go to a higher-end place (like at a nice hotel), where you can settle in at a comfy bar, with comfy bar stools and get some good 'ol 'mericun bar food/snacks.

But there are plenty of other places within walking distance (Tony C’s, Harpoon, Lord Hobo). I’ve been to Tony C’s many times and they have a crazy number of TVs. Harpoon and Lord Hobo, I’ve been to both but can’t remember the TV situation there.

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THIS. Exactly this. Because you could stand in line for an hour only to have them tell you when you get to the front that they stopped taking names for the day half an hour ago - but they don’t come out and tell people to stop standing in line.


Yeah, I’m just too old for that shit. :rofl:


21st Amendment would be great for divey/local Sunday afternoon bar, as would Corner Tavern in Back Bay (although a good mile-ish further, it’s a really beautiful mile). I have happily watched sports in both places!


Not sure of the TV situation at Lord Hobo myself, but certainly would recommend it to @damiano for the beer!


Chef Jasper White’s pan-roasted lobster at Summer Shack. It’s his signature dish, and worth every butter-sauced penny. It is truly a bucket list dish for gastronomes. For ultimate enjoyment, bring your own good bread to sop up every bit, because the house bread isn’t worthy, and they don’t supply enough either. I suggest Martin’s potato rolls, sold in any supermarket. Summer Shack has zero ambience. You are there for the seafood and only the seafood! You’re welcome.

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I am loving this thread! I am passing through Boston late on the 4th and decided to take a walking tour of Boston small cafes on the morning and early afternoon of the 5th before I leave for DC on the 6th. I do not have time for more than one meal off the tour so I may hit Neptune Oyster at 4:45 or so to try to avoid the line. Then grab a pizza to go from Modern Pastry and take it back to my hotel for a late night snack.


while you’re at modern pastry, grab a cannoli for dessert. filled to order — much better than mike’s across the street.


When I tried to go there this summer the line stretched over two blocks down Hanover. A midweek day is likely to be better, though.

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Another favorite Onion visiting my hometown. A short but hopefully sweet trip, food-wise. October in Boston is typically great — cool and sunny.

Huh? I didn’t know that Modern has pizza. Is it grandma/Sicilian style? (I love those styles.)