Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Union Oyster House

Rich in history and serving up fresh tasty seafood is the self proclaimed oldest restaurant in Boston and the oldest restaurant with continuous service in America, the Union Oyster House. Established in 1826, the character and charm of the earlier centuries are preserved in this establishment designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Union Oyster House sits proudly on the Freedom Trail at 41 Union Street. Below is the original menu from when it was called the Atwood and Bacon Oyster House.

My cousin Kenny, a Corporal in the US Marine Corps is in town to participate in Marine Week Boston. He actually plays Trombone in the Albany Marine Band, performing in various locations throughout the city all week! Tonight when we met up after work and he told me he wanted seafood, I knew just the place.
When my cousin Paul from Iowa was in town last year, he had also requested seafood, and so, I took him here. Kenny is a born and raised southern gent from Atlanta, Georgia. These boys know what's up: you're in a coastal city, eating seafood is where it's at! From my weekend post, you may or may not have gathered, I have lots of cousins! I am pretty close with all of them, as close as one can be with us scattered all across the U.S. I hadn't seen Kenny since the great binge week our family reunion in 2007, so we were thrilled to catch up!
I really appreciated the accommodating staff as we showed up and were seated right away with our party of two, which was maybe going to be three, and then turned into a definite four. I think this was part luck as we arrived at about 6pm just before the crowds begin to pour in. While awaiting Adam and Leah's presence, we ordered some beers. Sam Summer for me, Blue Moon for him, both garnished appropriately with the respective lemon and orange. 
We decided to split the Hot Oyster House Sampler for 2 ($22.95) containing Union Grilled Oysters, Baked Stuffed Cherrystones, Clams Casino, Oysters Rockefeller and Shrimp Scampi came plated around a bed of rice, which I thought was a nice touch. Adam arrived next and ordered an appetizer of Steamers (Market Price).
Slimy and salty bathed in a warm bath of melted butter.
You can't go wrong with steamers at Union Oyster House. I think we get them every time we come here!
When Leah arrived she ordered a cup of Clam Chowder ($5.95).
I think its pretty darn good chowder, but I've had so many chowders in my life, I find it hard to pin the best. After the courses of appetizers were cleared, we were all served a large slice of sweet cornbread. I was having a hard time narrowing down my entree but eventually chose the Sauteed Seafood Medley ($25.95) with Shrimp, cherrystones, mussels, fish and calamari sauteed in a spicy marinara sauce, served over linguine.
Leah snapped a picture (yes, these are all compliments of the iPhone, me forgetting my camera) of her dish which was the delightful looking Baked Scallop Special ($27.95).
Adam and Kenny both got Lobsters of some sort. Adam's was your standard Lobster Pot (Market Price).

I made a pretty heavy dent in my huge portion and ended up taking the leftovers home. Love leftovers!

While this dish wasn't anything new to me, it was still a quality meal that was incredibly satisfying. Our waitress was pleasant and attentive. She was on top of the second round of beers, and third round of drinks which happened to be waters.
I understand the Union Oyster House gets the label of a "tourist trap" by some Bostonians.
I admit, I do think they get away with slightly higher prices for location and claim to fame. And they do have a souvenir shop selling stuffed lobsters etc. But their service is friendly, their seafood is excellent, the entree portions are plentiful, and I find the classic 17th century atmosphere to be charming. The upstairs floors creek when you walk across them. Each rustic wooden booth or table is nestled into a unique spot in one of the large dining rooms.
Union Oyster House is undoubtedly busy every night of the week. If you aren't a seafood lover, I still recommend stopping in for a drink at the polished Union Bar, if just to soak in a bit of history and take in a different scene.
I think it's fun to be a tourist in your own city, especially if you have family visiting from the likes of the south or the Midwest plains, to share in the experience.

Where are your favorite places to go for seafood? 
Union Oyster House on Urbanspoon


  1. I love McCormick and Schmicks. I've been to Union Oyster a couple times and I always think its overpriced... but maybe I will try it out again...your pics looked yummy!!!!!

  2. You can take me here anytime kristen. Favorite seafood palace in Boston? The Summer Shack! :)

  3. I'm with Corinne, just let me know when we're all going out for seafood. ;-)

    Hmm, I love going to Maine. It's my second home. So maybe anywhere in Kennebunkport, Wells or Ogunquit for really fresh seafood.

    Your pictures look delicious!

  4. Hey Daisy!

    I actually just did a post on my blog about my trip to Boston in January! My favorite place we ate while we were there was the Beehive.

  5. omg! i need oysters and lobsters right NOW!!

  6. We used to take guests to Samurai on Boylston next to the Apple Store for Pok Tan Ju shots (Korean sake bombs)

    I also like Jacob Wirths and the piano sing-along!

    (And I'm still laughing at the photo of the lobster hugging the bowl!)