Row 34 is an oyster bar with a focus on beer. I really wish I were more into oysters and beer, because I hear that Row 34 does both well. But the fact that this restaurant can make home run dishes outside of those specialties shows that Row 34 isn’t just a two-trick pony.
Besides, who needs oysters and beer when you could have fluke crudo, hot buttered lobster rolls, and a knockout candy bar dessert?
Row 34 is a relatively recent addition to the fast-growing culinary hub in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, by the Seaport. My first visit was for my boyfriend’s birthday in April, and the second was a surprise lunch date during my last week of summer classes in August.
Please note that this review is based on lunches, which Row 34 serves only during the weekdays. Plan accordingly.
Row 34 offers a daily selection of crudo and ceviche on a separate mini-menu. When we asked for the fluke crudo as an appetizer to share, the waiter told us it was one of his favorite dishes. His enthusiasm was palpable and genuine.
My boyfriend, so often hard to impress when it comes to food, said the crudo was the best bite of food he had eaten in a while. The fish was fresh as could be. The strong citrus opened the taste buds for the spicy peppers, the aleppo pepper’s drier taste contrasting with the jalapeño. Bright, light, and spicy…the crudo set a high bar for the rest of the meal.
Luckily for us, the lobster roll was up to the task.
The warm buttered lobster roll is New England’s best-kept food “secret.” Everybody knows about lobster, of course, and everybody knows about cold-with-mayo “Maine-style” lobster rolls. But surprisingly few people seem to know about how much better lobster rolls can be when you get rid of the cold mayonnaise-coated “lobster salad” and just let fresh, hot lobster flavor rule the palate.
Why the secret? Few restaurants offer this “Connecticut-style” version, which is bizarre because the dish is so popular at the restaurants that do offer it. My speculation is that making lobster salad is quicker and cheaper because it’s easier to refrigerate. Nevertheless. Hot is better.
Thankfully, Row 34 provides both options, Maine- and Connecticut-style. Obviously I opt for the former. Hefty chunks of butter-soaked lobster meat spill out and over a toasted roll—don’t be a martyr, this is a sandwich that requires a fork—accompanied by homemade potato chips. The plate was so filling that I almost didn’t have room for dessert.
Bahahahaha JUST KIDDING. I will always have room for dessert at Row 34.
I order dessert at just about every restaurant I go to. Sometimes instead of an entree, and sometimes twice per meal; I don’t really pay much attention to societal norms about “when” and “how much” for something as important to my emotional well-being as dessert.
Thus, I eat a lot of sweets, and accordingly I’ve had many a candy bar dessert. It’s not uncommon to find on menus. It is always very good, and often great. I get excited when I see it, and I usually order it. No restaurant has ever disappointed me here.
This is to give you context for my endorsement: Row 34 does the best candy bar I’ve ever had. It is easily a contender for top dessert in Boston.
Chocolate, heavy caramel, peanuts, thick and chewy salted toffee, and peanut brittle. All the flavor foundations of a Snickers, but genuine quality, natural ingredients assembled with gourmet craftsmanship. Store-bought candy is forever ruined for me.
When my boyfriend asked where I wanted to go for an end-of-semester celebration, I said Row 34. I hope to try the restaurant soon for dinner; but honestly, seafood lunches are one of my favorite ways to dine out, and they just don’t get better than this.
383 Congress St
Fort Point, MA 02210