For me personally Atlantic Fish Company is one of the better Seafood restaurants in Boston. While the larger chains like Legal’s and McCormick are solidly good, Atlantic goes that extra step when it comes to service and food and I have always believed it is the standout champion when it comes to Clam Chowder.
On Saturday, I met my friend BosGuy for lunch and little bit of retail therapy. We used to frequent Atlantic a lot many years ago when it was one of our “go to” places when we both lived in the Back Bay and then the South End. With the opening of so many new restaurants it had fallen by the wayside. When we were trying to think of somewhere to meet we both got quite excited about going back to Atlantic.
As I walked in at 1pm on Saturday afternoon, the place was absolutely packed and had a line waiting for tables. My friend was sat waiting for me at the bar and had a seat saved. There is a long bar that seats about 20 people and is surrounded by beautifully crafted wood shelving and bar. I was once told it was carved out of one piece of oak, although I am not sure how much of that is true. Regardless, it really is quite breathtaking and reminds you of being in a classic wooden sail boat. There are high-top tables opposite the bar and the main restaurant extends far back towards the giant open kitchen area. In the warmer weather they open the floor to ceiling windows out onto a patio area.
I was reminded of a time when many years ago I fell backwards off one of the bar stools because I was trying to get a glimpse of Matt Damon walking down Boylston Street. Lucky for everyone no-one was badly hurt, although I did have a very bruised ego and tailbone! Anyway, back to the review!
Warm crusty bread and tiny blueberry muffins were placed in front of us accompanied by soft salty butter while we looked at the menu. The muffins were just the perfect, two bites size and tasted warm and comforting.
The menu offers fresh daily seafood, made to order and choices from soups and salads to classic fish chips and baked whole lobster and seafood specials such as Pan Seared Scallops and FraDiavolo.
We both knew we wanted the “Award Winning” Clam Chowder so decided on a cup each. I love my chowder with lots of cracked black pepper to add a bite to the creaminess. The chowder is truly marvelous, filled with tiny pieces of clams and potato in a thick creamy but not overwhelming, hearty soup. It still is one of my favorites.
I followed my chowder with the Toasted Goat Cheese Salad and asked for some grilled shrimp to be added to my dish. I paired my salad with a crisp glass of Chablis – a perfect pairing. Fresh lettuce, juicy, tangy beets and sweetly spiced pecans added a nice amount of textures and colors to this simple salad. The goat cheese was perfectly baked in breadcrumbs with a warm, creamy center of delicious goat cheese. I asked for my dressing on the side and used just a light drizzle of it over my greens, which added a good sharp tartness. The shrimp, unfortunately were tasteless. I made a comment to my friend about this, quite quietly I thought and within minutes the bartender came over to us to say she had overhead my comment. Next thing I know the manager was profusely apologizing for the shrimp. I felt a little guilty about the reaction but it also made me realize that Atlantic takes great pride in their customer service. They were insisting on making me more shrimp but I declined the offer. They took the shrimp off the bill – an appreciated gesture.
My friend ordered the Fish and Chips. He cleared his plate and I know why. Lightly golden batter blankets small pieces of white, tender, flaky, buttery haddock that just melted in your mouth. Skinny, salted chips dipped in sharp tartar sauce were so good I kept picking at them like candy.
I am still a fan of Atlantic and would recommend it to any seafood lover looking the best Clam Chowder in the city. It is also still a great place to go to for lunch.