Posted by: mikeydude | December 23, 2009

Legal Seafood Boston Restaurant Review (8/10)

Amazing quality and freshness

If steak was the reason for going to New York, then lobster was the reason for going to Boston. Where better then to try seafood than at an institution that prides itself of fresh seafood; boasting the slogan “If it ain’t fresh, it ain’t legal”. Being perhaps a little skeptical of spending one of our limited dinner evenings at what was effectively a chain, our fears were quickly evaporated by the sheer quality of what arrived on our table dish by dish.

After a nice walk in Harvard Square we arrived at Legal Seafood Restaurant in a rather semi-full state after over-indulging in vietnamese noodle soup in the late afternoon! We were allocated a nice circular table in the corner of the restaurant. The place was doing well; already half full at the early time of 19:00! Our waiter was polite and well informed of all the items on the menu. The wine list was also reasonably priced; a house bottle cost us $21. Anyway here are my thoughts on one of the finest evening meals we had during our short stay.

The bread rolls were warm and had a wonderfully golden crispy outer crust encasing a soft fluffy centre. Delicious with butter. They were quickly wiped out and another basket was quick to follow.

Starter #1: Oysters

We decided to sample their fresh oysters, of which there were a few types. Now I am no connoisseur of oysters and my ability to distinguish between the different types is somewhat amateur. I ordered a few of each type and in all honesty I could only differentiate them by size as opposed to taste (!). Regardless of this they were very fresh and delicious with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Starter #2: Clam Chowder

Thick creamy chowder with crispy bread bites tasted nice but not overwhelming. We had quite a few chowders in New Hampshire and they all tasted similar in my opinion. It’s just too thick for my liking. I prefer the thin clear soups of Japan.

Starter #3: Lobster Bisque

I forgot to take the photo of this so apologies. The best lobster based soup I have ever had was in a Parisian restaurant called L’astrance (review here) and another fantastic bisque was in the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. This one was alright but I think the care and attention to flavour provided by the fine-dining restaurants dwarfs a simple bisque like this. I’m not sure if my father-in-law agrees with me on this one?

Main #1: Snow Crab Legs

The Mrs ordered this one and I must warn you it’s rather tricky to eat, but the sweet tender meat that awaits you makes the hassle well worth it. The trick is to use your incisors to make a break in the edge of the leg (away from the joints) so that you can then use your fingers to pry away the shell from your incision point. Don’t be tempted to overuse the shell pliers as that destroys the texture of the meat, makes it trickier to deshell and is messier. I don’t eat crab very often, but the meat on these snow crabs were full of flavour and not overdone. It’s always fun to put a bit of work in for a rich reward afterwards!

Main #2: Sea Scallops

These sea scallops were grilled nicely on skewers and the meat was still bouncy. Gloriously sweet sea taste but I still prefer the raw sashimi scallops that I had in London only a couple of months back. For scallops that are ultra fresh I prefer them raw as cooking them rids some of the natural sweetness of the meat. Still an enjoyable dish and the chips were nice and crunchy.

Main #3: Grilled Swordfish

A nicely presented grilled swordfish steak sitting on a bed of pilau and vegetables. My sister-in-law had this and I had a bite. Not bad. The meat was nice and firm on the outside with a soft centre. I prefer the rare seared tuna that I had in Portsmouth the following night for its more tender and less earthy flavours.

Main #4: Mixed assortment of fish, scallops and prawns

My photo for this dish turned out rather blurred so unpublishable. You’re not missing much however as this is just an assortment of fish, scallops and shrimp (bit like a mixed grill if you like). I forget what fish they were, but most of the elements were dry and overdone. I would say the weakest dish of the night.

Main #5: Lobster

This is what made the night for me. The meat on this little crustacean was absolutely phenomenal. The boiling was spot on and texture was perfectly tender. The flavour of the meat was better than any lobster meat I’ve had before and a true representation of Maine lobsters. The whole table was struck by this dish and we were quick to ensure this little guy did not die in vain. Fantastically fresh.

After that mammoth feast we could not fit in any dessert. The total cost came to approximately $220 excluding service but including bottle of wine. For me the crustaceans stole the show and the near perfect cooking of the lobster impressed me. We all had a great time with both the food and service. I would not hesitate to return in future should the opportunity arise.


20 University Road
MA 02138-5756

Tel: (617) 491-9400

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Fri-Sat 11:30 am – 12 Midnight
Sunday 12:00 Noon – 11:00 pm


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