A basket of fresh Popovers and slabs of soft butter were delivered right after we placed our orders. Breaking into the hollow muffin shaped roll, the swelled batter in addition to releasing piping hot steam, was light, eggy and moist on the inside and delicately crunchy on the outside. Popovers are certainly a highlight of the experience here.
We continued our lunch with 1/2 dozen Oysters ($14.95). This day just so happened to be National Oyster Day so was it fitting to enjoy a freshly shucked batch of bivalves. However, I would have been slurping these down regardless of the declared "food holiday".
Our platter consisted of three Norwalk Bluepoint Oysters from Long Island Sound, Connecticut and three Penn Cove Oysters from Samish Bay, Puget Sound, Washington. Adam preferred the Penn Cove which were firmer with a bright brininess and cucumber finish. I liked the Norwalk Bluepoint best, they had a moderate saltiness with a sweet gentle finish.
If last Friday wasn't the epitome of the perfect summer lunch, I don't know what is.Behold the beauty that is my bucket of Ipswich Fried Clams ($19.95). Once I saw this special listed on the chalk board just outside the dining room entrance, I was pretty much sold.Batter dipped and deep fried, this iconic New England delicacy is prepared with whole soft shell clams, the bellies left intact to impart a richer flavor. Anthony's served an impeccable, large proportioned batch alongside thick and tangy tartar sauce, lightly dressed coleslaw and your standard cut french fries. Unfortunately, the fries were lackluster. Adam said they were great as he chowed down on the portion that came with his Lobster Roll ($19.95), but I felt they were too soft, lots of potato and not enough fry. By the way, he loved his lobster roll. I commented that it looked heavy on the mayo but he was quick to correct that this was not the case. Those were some extremely large chunks of fresh claw meat. (And the camera lens became foggy as I reached across to get that shot - from the steam rising off my clams!)Service was smooth and well paced. Our waiter, dressed head to toe in a pressed sailors uniform was friendly and efficient. All the details were attended to without us having to ask. Waters were refilled and plates were cleared promptly. Tabasco and horseradish were delivered with the oysters and ketchup with the meals upon arrival.
Lunch today was mostly comped, the company responsible for Anthony's website development hooked me up with a $50 gift card awhile back. I was under no obligation to review the restaurant, however I can't say I would have been persuaded to visit otherwise! (Simply wasn't on my radar.) Adam and I were so glad we did though, especially with the recent announcement of its impending closure.*We enjoyed a leisurely harbor front stroll from the North End and back, stopping afterwards for a visit to the neighboring Institute of Contemporary Art where the free Friday admission (one time only on that day) persuaded us in. But not before a goofy photo shoot with the parking lot locomotive...Yes, all four of these were necessary.
*I read yesterday on Boston Restaurant Talk that Anthony's is closing its doors because the space it occupies is slated for replacement by a one acre public park. There is potential of it re-opening in a nearby location on the property. Construction for the park won't begin until Spring 2012 so it looks like you still have time to visit this Boston landmark before it no longer remains in its original form! For additional details about the construction scheduled to transform the Seaport District's Pier 4 check out this Boston Globe article.*