ICOB [Burlington] brunch

Per Bear, it has been a bit quiet so I’ll chime in.

Driving back from a N.H. weekend we stopped at the Burlington outpost of a Island Creek Oyster Bar for a late brunch. We noted before that it’s easier to snag a table here than at the Kenmore Square original, and parking is a breeze. Shared a tuna poke (good but not great), scallop crudo (with yuzu on a slice of ripe peach, outstanding) and the biscuit (amazing). The biscuit is simply listed under sides, but it deserves prime billing. Warm, flaky, coated in honey. For mains two of us had fried oyster ban mi (ok but lacking much Asian character, high on bread to content ratio), another had avacado lobster toast with egg. This was the winner by far, a great combination. Deserts were a peach ice cream sandwich (we ditched the sugar cookies for the excellent ice cream) and a banana banoffee cake/pie, a winning combination of banana, whipped cream, and dulce de leche.

They feature interesting Bloody Mary options with a do-it-yourself checklist, but my SO was at a disadvantage as all the premixed options include horseradish, a nonstarter for her. The freelance effort by the bar to start from scratch with tomato juice was tame and underwhelming, but my “classic” based on vegetable-infused vodka and garnished with celery and blue cheese stuffed olives was excellent. They have an excellent brut nature rose cava from Pere Mata that I rarely see elsewhere (though I have a supplier in Seattle that gets it for me)

The room seems somewhat larger than Kenmore Square. A great option when north of Boston.


Question: How loud is the room?

We have older relatives coming to visit in the next few weeks who might enjoy ICOB. One person uses a hearing aid and a restaurant where you can have a comfortable conversation, without lots of background noise, is an important factor.

I ask because at ICOB’s sibling restaurants, the room at Row 34 in Boston is really loud but the Portsmouth, NH location has proven to be pleasant for us.

I will be following this!

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The room has fairly high ceilings and seems to me to be less noisy than the Kenmore Square location. Conversation was very comfortable. Nothing like Row 34 in Fort Point. The parallel between the ICOB Burlington and Row 34 Portsmouth locations and their respective “mother ships” is kind of interesting.

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Appreciate your thoughtful answer. Row 34 in Fort Point was much too loud to carry on a conversation without straining the one time we dined there.

Sometimes the noise level makes a restaurant a no-go for us depending on the needs of our dining companions.

I have brought my parents there (albeit for lunch which is probably quieter than dinner) and we had no problems holding a conversation. Neither of them hasn’t hearing aid though, which I know can be problematic with ambient noise.

I find it an easy room in which to converse - way less hubbub than Fenway.

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Good thought! Maybe a lunch is a possibility.