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Entries in Seaport (2)

Friday
Nov302012

75 on Liberty Wharf

75 on Liberty Wharf

220 Northern Ave.
Boston, MA

(617) 227-0754

One of the greatest revivals in Boston is the Liberty Wharf area in the Seaport District.  Places like Del Frisco’s and Legal Harborside are thriving, while some of the old guard get ready to go.

October 17, 2012 welcomed a new property to the mix with the opening of 75 on Liberty WharfThis tiny (120 seats total – Inside (Bar and Grill) – 60, Outside (Deck) – 60) location is standalone from the other properties, located between Del Frisco’s and the Boston Fish Pier, the first thing you notice are the outdoor “bonfire” style gas torches.  Dramatic, and inviting, you are drawn to the property.

While we could have sat outdoors near one of the Bonfire torches or the fire pit, our New England sensibilities took us inside on this 40 degree afternoon.

Entering the bar and grill area, I expected some of the touristy “Cheers” elements, since 75 on Liberty Wharf is owned by Thomas A. Kershaw who also owns 75 ChestnutCheers Beacon HillCheers Faneuil Hall, and Hampshire House.  While Sam, Diane, Norm and the rest of Cheers was nowhere to be found, we certainly felt as welcomed.

Sitting at the beautiful wood bar, we were captivated by the floor to ceiling windows.  We looked out at the harbor and quickly began a discussion about whether it would be more fun to live on water or near trees.

This light debate was made all the better by a selection from the drink menu.  I felt suddenly intrigued with a Tea N’ Honey martini - Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka shaken with Barenjager Honey Liqueur and lemon juice.   It was a fabulous choice.

One of the other patrons at the bar entered into a discussion about whether the drink was “perfect,” as apparently the bartender suggests she makes perfect drinks.  I had to be honest; the drink was a perfect complement to the day.

The menu was simple Boston pub comfort food, like clam chowder, cocktail shrimp, classic Caesar, and a Bistro burger to name a few.  We went with the Five Alarm Chili, served with condiment bar and roasted polenta wedges, as the perfect addition to the Patriots game getting underway on the large screen televisions.  The chili wasn’t spicy, and wasn’t as warm as we liked, so a quick return to the kitchen took care of the warmth. 

As we took in the view of the sun setting over the harbor, with the Patriots playing well, and the overall feel of the place, we both commented how comfortable 75 on Liberty Wharf is for a visit, and how we wish there was a pub as comfortable in MetroWest.

We want to go back to 75 on Liberty Wharf before the crowd finds out about the place.  It is delightful, with an accommodating, pleasant staff.  And the view?  Let’s just say living on water would be a treat.

Hours

Monday – Thursday
11:30am – 3:00pm
5:00pm – 12:00am

Friday:
11:30am – 3:00pm
5:00pm – 2:00am

Saturday:
11:30am – 2:00am

Sunday:
10:30am – 12:00am *Brunch is available Saturdays and Sundays

 75 on Liberty Wharf gets a GREEN LIGHT…go and enjoy.

About the RAG scale:

       Green Light – Go and enjoy

       Amber Light – Use caution

       Red Light – Save your time and money

Friday
Oct262012

Anthony's Pier 4

Anthony’s Pier 4

140 Northern Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02210-1902

617-482-6262

A good friend sent me a note, “We’ve got to get into Anthony’s Pier 4 before they tear it down.”

It’s true, the venerable Anthony’s Pier 4 is going to be replaced by a million square foot development of park, apartments and hotels by New England Development.  Once the highest grossing restaurant in the United States, Anthony’s has struggled to keep up with the latest trends in the area, relying on the original 1963 waterfront location as the key draw.  Now, there are many waterfront dining places, including Del Friscos, Legal Harborside, and Smith & Wollensky.

Anthony’s in Lynn…from Google Street ViewAnthony’s has always been a place I got exposed to…whether wanting to or not.  For a year my office was across the street from the closed Anthony’s Hawthorne in Lynn, the original Anthony’s opened in 1937.  My parking was in the restaurant lot, and we paid Anthony’s Management Office directly.  The lot attendant said the Lynn restaurant simply closed, and hadn’t been touched.  So the wine and booze was still there, along with tables.

In the late 90’s as co-program chair for the Boston Society for Information Management our luncheon meetings were held at Pier 4.  “Anthony” (Anthony Athanas) would float in and out of our meetings…just standing in the back, taking it all in. 

While he passed in 2005, you just know he is still floating in and out of the facility.  And it’s good to know Anthony’s will have a place in the new development, too.  Somehow it just seems right for Anthony to remain as a part of the waterfront.  Athanas’ four sons - Anthony Jr., Michael, Robert and Paul now own and operate Anthony Pier 4 Restaurants, including two other properties: Anthony’s Pier 4 Café & Hawthorne by the Sea Tavern in Swampscott, MA, and Anthony’s Cummaquid Inn in Yarmouth Port, MA and some smaller cafes.

We had some bread and marinated (pickled) mushrooms to start.  Sampling the mushrooms, one of the people in our group chuckled and observed, “American food palates have evolved.”

We started the evening with seafood appetizers of Oysters on the Half Shell, served raw with cocktail sauce and mignonette sauce, Chatham Littleneck Clams on the Half Shell, served raw with cocktail sauce and scallion-lime-ginger sauce, and a Shrimp Cocktail (iced jumbo shrimp served with Anthony’s own cocktail and remoulade sauces.)  I’ve been spoiled by 111 Chop House or the Sole Proprietor where every shrimp has a nice snap to it and the cocktail sauce has horseradish in it.  These shrimp were a bit mushy.

Every meal at Anthony’s has to start with the popovers, and tonight was no exception.  The popovers were hot and tasty.

The menu hasn’t changed much in the years.  We went with lobster bisque and spinach salad to start.  The bisque was thick, thick, thick very reminiscent of a heavy tomato soup.  This bisque was served at three presidential inaugurations.  The spinach salad was well prepared.

Temperatures on the entrees were off, making the entire dinner problematic. 

One diner had fresh Yellowfin Tuna, ordered rare, served with served with mango chutney.  It came out Medium at best, and was very dry.  Half the fish was left unconsumed.

I went with the fresh swordfish, medium rare, served with tomato-olive beurre blanc.  My swordfish was just dry…well on the way to medium well.  The sauce was not light and respectful of the fish.  My dinner wasn’t finished, either.

Another diner in the group had Yellowfin Tuna, with Cajun spices.  Half the fish was raw, and the other overcooked, and was inedible to this diner (see photo.)  He called the waiter over, and the waiter exclaimed, “WOW!” and turned and walked away to get a manager.  While the manager offered to prepare another meal, this diner passed.

As we waited in that awkward silence after a meal failed, one guy said, “Well, at least I can tell my Grandmother I ate here once.”  He then proceeded to try and get another popover.

Heaven forbid you ask for more popovers!

He had to flag down the lady with the popover basket.  Once he got her attention, he asked if we could each please have another popover, circling his finger around the table like you would if asking for another round of beverages.

Well, one popover was delivered.  One.  We laughed heartily as we broke the popover up to share.

We passed on dessert and deserted the place.  The popover lady was guarding the popovers.

It’s unclear to the people we asked when Anthony’s Pier 4 would be demolished.  There is work going on in an adjacent area destined to be part of the new development.  Business was brisk, with some tour groups chowing down on lobster.  The parking attendants thought the end would be relatively quickly, while the wait staff thought a few more years.  My guess is the parking guys see who is coming and going….so sooner rather than later.

It will be a sad day when the building representing Anthony’s Pier 4 is reduced to a memory.  Since the meals are now unmemorable, let’s get to progress sooner rather than later.

Hours                          

Lunch Monday-Saturday 11:30AM - 3:00PM

Dinner Sunday 12:00PM - 10:00PM

Dinner Monday-Thursday 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Dinner Friday-Saturday 3:00PM - 11:00PM

Friday and Saturday, bar open until 11:00PM

Anthony’s Pier 4 gets a RED LIGHT – Drop by to say goodbye on your way to Liberty Wharf and Del Friscos or Legal Harborside.  Perhaps have a beverage and get a popover.

About the RAG scale:

       Green Light – Go and enjoy

       Amber Light – Use caution

       Red Light – Save your time and money