Barlows Restaurant – All new hot spot in the Seaport District

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I drove by it daily for a few months as they were renovating the building at 239-241 A Street in the Seaport District and wondered what it would be.

Finally, last Wednesday, Barlow’s Restaurant (Superior Dining Group – The Warren Tavern, Devlin’s, Orlean’s, etc.) opened its doors and I got a chance to go there on Thursday night with my wife. Apparently I was not the only one; the place was packed. We got there around 7:00 p.m. and planned to sit at the bar and eat but the bar area was so crowded with an energetic group drinking and watching games on the flat screen TVs, so we opted instead for a table.

The space was nicely designed, with a loft like feel in keeping with the character of the residences and artist lofts that surround it at Channel Center. It was also much larger than I anticipated. There is great patio that I can imagine will be a great place to sit outside in warmer weather. Of course it was absolutely freezing that night so warm days seem like a distant memory already! My only real issue with the set up of the restaurant is actually the front door that is not the front door. There are front steps walking up to what you would think is the front entrance, but in fact it does not open, rather you have to walk around to the side entrance that serves as the “front door”. This is not such a huge deal but since our table was right next to the fake front door, we had to endure a number of patrons walking up and trying to come in that way, only to figure out as we did, that it is just a façade. A simple sign on the door saying to enter around the corner would be an easy fix.

On to the food and service. I was a bit disappointed right off the bat when I did not see the steak and cheese spring rolls on the menu that I had heard they had. I asked the waitress, and after checking, she came back and told us that they had already been taken off the menu….a bummer in my book. We ordered drinks and that took longer than it should have to arrive. Our waitress was nice, without a ton of personality, but could have been more attentive for sure. I ordered the burger with fontina cheese and caramelized onions and my wife ordered some type of ginger crusted salmon. The menu features a nice mix of upscale pub fare with ambitions to be more eclectic. It didn’t seem like there was really a theme that stood out. I’m definitely not a food critic and won’t pretend to be so here are just a few thoughts on what we had. My wife thought her salmon dish was great and I don’t really even like salmon but I tried it and agreed. My burger was very good as well; no complaints there except maybe the fontina cheese and the lack of other options for how to have the burger served. The real issue was the French fries. I consider myself somewhat of a French fry connoisseur so I know a good french fry when I eat one. These were far from it. Seemingly frozen, they were under cooked and over salted. I saw that the guy next to me was eating the steak tips and french fries so I was dying to ask him about his fries, which I did when they were done eating. His response, “cold and not worth the money”. I knew I wasn’t imagining this. They really need to work on the fries if they are going to be a go to spot for me for casual dining.

At the end of the day, we would definitely go back and I’m hoping that as they go they will keep improving because I believe there is a lot of potential there. I’m also rooting for it because it is one of the few dining/bar options in the area and is a short walk from both my house and office. Clearly they were very busy so a lot of people feel the same way.

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