Sherman's Food Adventures: Island Creek Oyster Bar

Island Creek Oyster Bar

On our quest to find a better lobster roll than the one we had at Luke's, our journey brought us to Island Creek Oyster Bar near Fenway.  It was tough making a reservation for 8 people, but we did it, albeit eating at 5:30pm!  No matter, we ended our Freedom Trail festivities early and headed back to the hotel for some rest before dinner.  It was easy as taking the Green Line out to Kenmore and walking across the street.  Still not sure if we enjoyed the NYC subway more or the T in Boston...

Getting down to business, Viv and I started out with both the Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque.  A touch on the watery side, the clam chowder still ate creamy enough.  Packed with tender bits of potato and slightly chewy fresh clams, the broth was somewhat briny.  We weren't really sure of the bits of still-crunchy onions though as it took away from the rest of the softer ingredients.  As for the bisque, it was smooth and creamy with the essence of lobster.  There was a subtle hint of wine while the whole thing was sweet with only a mild saltiness (which is a good thing).  I thought there could've been a few more chunks of buttery lobster though.

Continuing with the appies, we tried the Salmon Tartare served with various chips.  We found the salmon to be buttery with a slight chew being fresh and bright.  It was mixed with a good amount of sesame oil which made it aromatic and flavourful.  The hard crunch of the kettle chips ensured that it was both a good textural contrast and held up to the wet ingredients.  We only got 6 oysters as there was too much food already (don't they have a smaller plate???).  They consisted of Island Creeks, Aunt Dolly and East Beach.  We found them expertly-shucked, sweet and lightly briny.  Since I requested more creamy oysters, these were exactly that.

For our entrees, we went straight for their Lobster Roll.  It was substantial in size and stuffed with plenty of lobster.  It was lightly dressed and hence, there was a certain saltiness to it.  Furthermore, the bits of onion added a crunch (which I didn't find necessary).  There was also a slight background tang.  I found the roll to be on the denser side and aggressively toasted.  This was totally different than Luke's and hard to compare.  We also got the Lobster Roe Noodles with oyster mushrooms, beef and large chunks of fresh lobster.  I found the noodles to be al dente and dressed in a considerable amount of oil  This was necessary to distribute the roe flavour.  It did eat heavy though, especially with the addition of beef.

My son didn't stray too far from his self-imposed dietary restrictions and got the Colorado Angus Burger prepared medium-rare.  It was done just right in that respect where the meat was not as juicy as it appeared since it was rather lean.  There was a nice meaty texture with the accompanying beefy flavors while the outside was seared well.  I found the bun rather hard and dense though.  My daughter ended up with the kid's Fish & Chips which was rather large (we wondered what the adult size would be like).  The thick cut fries were somewhat crispy while totally soft and potatoey inside.  The fish was flaky and moist while the batter was slightly thick, yet crunchy.  Not sure about the tartar sauce as it was tangy, but missing the bits of pickle and onions.

Costanza also shared a lobster roll with Elaine, but also got the Seared Monkfish which was done beautifully.  The outside was crispy and well-seasoned where the inside was flaky and almost buttery.  Not bad for a fairly firm and not usually fatty fish.  We loved the addition of clams as they added an added component of seafoodiness to the broth underneath. Costanza's son had the Fish Sandwich served with Old Bay fries.  The fish was on point much like the ones in the fish and chips.  The bun was airier and softer than the burger which worked well with the delicate fish.  Tossed in Old Bay seasoning the fries were nicely spiced and flavourful.  Although on the pricier side, the meal at Island Creek Oyster Bar was solid and well-prepared.  As for the best lobster roll, Neptune was definitely next up.

The Good:
- Nice dining space
- Solid eats
- Fresh seafood

The Bad:
- On the pricier side
- Both of the signature lobster items were good, but not great  


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