BOSTON – New England Clam Chowder, two types of lobster rolls, and Boston Cream Pie for dessert. You can get it all just steps away from Paul Revere’s house. Nestled in Boston’s North End, North Square Oyster is not the red sauce spot the neighborhood is known for.
“Typically when you come to the North End, people come here for pasta, red sauce, cannolis, but what people forget is that the North End is sort of the bread basket of history here in Boston, and there’s nothing more classically New England than seafood,” said North Square Oyster’s Justin Power.
Justin, along with Chef Douglas Rodrigues, has created a place unlike anything else in the area, offering everything from elegant oysters, to hearty bowls of soup, to a double patty burger you will have no problems putting back.
“Chef Doug is always mixing up the menu based on what’s locally available. There’s a lot of things that are very familiar, but the way that we do them is something new and something sort of unexpected.”
This two-tiered spot offers many options depending upon your mood, with a cozy bar, cafe style seating as you enter, and a handsome dining space just upstairs, decked out with rich wood, old art, original tin ceilings and windows that look down onto North Square.
“We were really excited to have the opportunity to come in to a space that already had so much history built in, and we kind of wanted to play off of that rather than cover it up. So we highlighted those ceilings and those walls. We used chairs and fixtures that from days past that would look right at home at Paul Revere’s house,” Justin explained.
While you are at North Square Oyster, ordering some shellfish is a must, with tremendous towers of the freshest stuff they can find.
“It’s kind of a showstopper when it comes through the room,” Justin said. “You can mix up the different varieties of oysters you order. It comes with a half lobster. It comes with your choice of croudo, shrimp cocktail. I mean, there’s truly something for everybody on that tower.”
For something totally different, try one of their Composed Oysters.
“You get these different flavors that sort of pair well with the oyster and it’s not as intense. So it’s a great entry into eating oysters if you’ve never had them,” Justin explained.
Other ways to kick off your meal include the Crab and Avocado topped with a passion fruit syrup, or a French Onion Soup made with an aged bone stock, and rivaling any you’ve had.
“You start with the sweetness from the caramelized onions and the melted cheese, and when you finish you can actually taste the beef from the aged bone broth,” described Justin. “It’s really just a much more interesting French onion soup than most people are probably used to.”
If you have room, nothing will warm you up, or fill you up, like the Clam Chowder served in a housemade kombucha sourdough bread bowl.
“After they scarf down the chowder, you’ll see their friends kind of picking at the bread and everybody’s trying to grab a piece, because it’s one of those rare cases where the vessel is almost as delicious as the soup that’s in it,” Justin said.
The sandwiches at North Square Oyster are nothing short of sensational. There is the Fish Sandwich topped with green garlic tartar sauce and served with hand cut fries, and the overloaded lobster roll served either hot or cold.
“We give you six ounces of lobster meat and you can order it two ways. You can get it hot or cold. Cold is just simply dressed with mayonnaise on a hot buttered bun, with a little bit of chives on top,” Justin described. “Our hot buttered roll comes with brown butter. It’s a way to have almost a two-in-one dinner because it’s exploding with lobster meat, it’s warm, it’s hot and buttered, but you don’t have to deal with the shell.”
But nothing beats their burger.
“It’s a double patty burger with a special sauce. It’s a little reminiscent of a Big Mac. It’s just a big hearty burger. It’s cooked to perfection. It comes with hand-cut French fries on the side, and I put it up against any burger in the city.”
Entrees at North Square Oyster are equally as impressive, like fresh salmon cooked to perfection, and a 12-ounce New York Strip plated alongside caramelized onions and trumpet mushrooms, and served with a pommes puree.
“It’s basically just meat and potatoes, but it’s really the best meat and potatoes that you’re going to get in a neighborhood that’s known for pasta,” Justin said.
If you want surf, turf and some pasta too, order the Lobster and Oxtail Bolognese.
“It’s very delicate, but it’s really hearty and filling at the same time,” Justin said. “When I think of Bolognese, I think of a winter dish, kind of stick to your ribs, which this will do, but it’s so light and fresh that it’s such an unexpected way to have a Bolognese.”
While you are in Boston’s oldest neighborhood, it is only fitting that you treat yourself to the city’s signature dessert: Boston Cream Pie.
“It’s delicate, it’s beautiful. It almost looks like something you don’t want to eat, but once you dig into it, you get just that softness of the cake with the creamy center and it’s sweet without being overpowering. I mean, people are always fighting for the last bite on that one.”
With prices coming in at affordable in this typically touristy area, you will be fighting to pick up the check when you eat here.
You can find North Square Oyster at 5 North Square in Boston’s North End, and online at northsquareoyster.com.
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