Ye olde Union Oyster House has the distinction of being the oldest restaurant in America in continuous service. It’s on the Freedom Trail at 41 Union Street in Boston. The building is over 250 years old, and that’s obvious when you enter the restaurant. The decor is American colonial for sure—steep creaky stairs, dark wood, and small spaces. It’s warm and inviting, and it exudes its historical significance. An oyster bar and a gift shop are located on the first floor and the main dining is located upstairs. The staff is warm and friendly and eager to share stories about the restaurant’s famous guests—Daniel Webster, Sam Adams, and Ted Kennedy, just to name a few.
We were in search of lobster when we found the Union Oyster House. We started with a side of hot, sweet cornbread and a bowl of New England clam chowder, which, I think, was the best we had in Boston. The chowder was thick and creamy as it should be and filled with delicious clams. The Hot Oyster House Sampler followed the chowder. It included Union Grilled Oysters, Baked Stuffed Cherrystones, Clams Casino (awesome), Oysters Rockefeller, and Shrimp Scampi. My husband devoured the oysters before I had the chance to sample one. I went straight for the clams; my personal favorite. I also had two of my other personal favorite: a cosmo. My husband ordered the medium steamed lobster. I ordered the Shore Dinner. It came with steamers (another favorite), medium boiled lobster, sweet corn, red bliss potatoes, and gingerbread. I was fairly stuffed by the time dinner arrived, but I managed to eat all of the steamers, and a bit of lobster tail. My husband was the eager recipient of the rest of the lobster. I’m sure he had an inkling that this was going to happen as I have a tendency to order much more than I can eat. The potatoes and corn were good, too, but I couldn’t eat them. I had to save room for the gingerbread. The Union Oyster House offers an eclectic menu of seafood, meat, and poultry. The seafood, of course, dominates the menu. The House serve oysters and clams on the half shell as well as steamed mussels and clams, and oyster stew, fish and clam chowder. Fresh seafood abounds, and it’s prepared fried, steamed, boiled, broiled, and blackened. From what I observed, the majority of patrons opted for lobster of some kind. In addition to fresh fish, the Union Oyster House also serves filet mignon, pork chops, and chicken.
With the exception of the chocolate lava cake and Boston Cream Pie, the dessert selection reflects early American tastes: warm apple pie, homemade gingerbread, and hot Indian pudding. The food was excellent, the service was grand, but bring lots of cash; the food is rather pricey. The Hot Oyster House Sampler is about $26; the Medium Lobster dinner, $32; and the Shore Dinner, $46. Given the excellent quality of the seafood, and the exquisite service, I thought the food was worth the price. If ever in Boston, the Union Oyster House is the place to go for seafood.
Reviewed by Sherry