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The Oyster Club Does Oysters Well, With Room for Improvement

Two critics take an early look at the new Boston restaurant, and more recent reviews

A mural of three giant ships on the wall of the Oyster Club at the Heritage
Art at the Oyster Club at the Heritage
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Welcome back to Week in Reviews, a (usually) weekly round-up of the restaurant reviews recently written by Boston’s food critics at publications such as The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and Boston.com.


Finding “Simple Pleasure” in a Branzino

Both the Boston Globe and Boston.com provide reviews of the Oyster Club at the Heritage in Back Bay this week. First up: the Globe’s Devra First, who went in with high expectations, calling chef Chris Parsons “a talented seafood chef, probably one of the city’s best.” She visited several times, noting improvement with each meal, but called out the overwhelming process of ordering and several redundancies on the menu. “If the Oyster Club tries to be all things to all people, I’m chalking it up to Parsons’s excitement at being back in the game,” First writes. For her, the highlights include a calamari salad, fried clams, a lobster casserole, and the grilled branzino, which she calls a “simple pleasure.” Overall, she rates the restaurant one and a half stars out of a possible four, between “fair” and “good.”

“Floundering” at a Grand Restaurant

Erin Kuschner of Boston.com notes some of the same concerns, finding a chaotic scene in the ordering and service. There are several things the recently opened restaurant does well, she writes, fortunately including the namesake oysters. There’s an extensive raw bar menu, including a “warm, buttery oyster Rockefeller” where the oysters come baked in their shells with spinach, potato, and parmesan, resembling “miniature casseroles.” An oyster pan roast “is equally fantastic,” Kuschner writes, calling it her favorite dish on the menu. Soak up the heat in the dish with bread and pair it with a glass of wine. In other areas, however, Kuschner writes that “there is too much floundering at this grand, glitzy yacht club.”

“Bar Food Is Given the Fine-Dining Treatment”

Kuschner also reviews Beacon Hill newcomer the Emory, finding “a distinct high-low feel...that thankfully skips over the well-worn caviar-on-potato-chip trend that seems to have infiltrated so many other restaurants.” Everything Kuschner tried was “outstanding,” she writes, such as “dreamy” baked potato beignets, an “ethereal” avocado panna cotta, and the burger, “a strong contender for one of Boston’s best.”

“Kicky” and “Glamorous,” With Pasta That Rocks

MC Slim JB pays an early visit to Orfano for Boston.com. Chef Tiffani Faison and her spouse and co-owner Kelly Walsh push aside the “big boys” to present Orfano, where “dishes are familiar, yet each gets its own galvanic jolt,” he writes. Slim calls out what might be “Boston’s best” butter-laden garlic bread, as well as a Parmesan mousse that has a “velvety richness that haunted our dreams.” The house-made pastas “consistently rock,” including a linguine with clams, fusilli a la vodka, and a rigatoni bolognese in “a fabulously rich, long-cooked ragu,” and Slim notes the “delectable” desserts, skillfully executed cocktails, and a stacked wine list. Overall, he writes, Orfano is “kicky, glamorous, and eminently comfortable,” even with its potentially high bill.

“Stick-to-Your-Ribs” Scrambles

Marc Hurwitz reviews Kristin’s in Braintree for the Dig. He digs into standard breakfast fare, with basics like pancakes, French toast, bacon and eggs, and omelets, as well as “decadent and delicious” meals like birthday cake pancakes, coffee cake French toast, and Johnny cakes. Among the savory options, Hurwitz calls out a hashlet omelet with house-made corned beef hash and a “stick-to-your-ribs” ham and cheese scramble. There are also lunch items, like salads, sandwiches, and quesadillas. Overall, he writes, Kristin’s “is certainly one to try if you’re bored with the same old basic meals that start off your day.”

The Oyster Club in Boston Is a Fine Seafood Restaurant, but It Needs to Find Focus [BG]
Review: The Oyster Club [Boston.com]
The Oyster Club at the Heritage Coverage on Eater [EBOS]
At the Emory, Bar Food Is Given the Fine-Dining Treatment [Boston.com]
The Emory Coverage on Eater [EBOS]
You’ll Find Glamor, Cheek, and Inventive Italian-American at Orfano [Boston.com]
Orfano Coverage on Eater [EBOS]
A Breakfast Spot for People With a Very Sweet Tooth [Dig Boston]

Orfano

1391 Boylston Street, , MA 02215 (617) 916-9600 Visit Website

The Emory

21 Beacon Street, , MA 02108 (617) 430-6325 Visit Website

The Oyster Club at the Heritage

79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116 Visit Website

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