BOSTON (CBS) – Fishbones in Chelmsford looks like a plain box from the outside, but the interior has been transformed into a sea-blue maritime mecca.

The bar gets a festive after-work crowd, while dining room patrons enjoy views of the retail market’s pristine catch.

The overlong menu of thirty-plus seafood entrees wasn’t as sprawling as it looked-they were out of the first three dishes phantom ordered.

First, hand-cut onion rings were textbook-perfect, lightly fried and served with tangy dipping sauce. The stunning “fry-umph” continued with whole-belly clams, featuring crisp-crusted bites of pillowy perfection.

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Next, Phantom was so enamored of the delectable baked stuffed lobster. But, the seafood-Mediterranean was a mezza-mezza mash-up of shellfish, peppers, artichokes, olives, and feta over under-seasoned pasta.

Raisin bread pudding pulled a sweet-tooth solid, velvety goodness in a crispy crust spiked with sugary dried fruit. Generic Tollhouse cookie pie was so forgettable, Phantom made a mental note to forget it next time.

Portions range from normal to whale-sized, and hungry soles can upgrade with raw bar add-ons.

Service was schizophrenic: brusque-yet-efficient at the bar, friendly-yet-scattered at the table. The place was as pristine as the quivering-fresh shellfish behind the counter.

While lobster dishes cost a pretty penny, most entrees stay grounded in low-twenties territory.

Fishbones is in Chelmsford’s Central Square, with on-site parking. Phantom gives the restaurant a total of 79, Phantom approved.

For more food and fun, watch The Phantom Gourmet Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on TV38.


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