Boston >Food & Dining > Locke-Ober
3 Winter Pl, Boston, MA | Directions 0210842.355557 -71.060689
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Central
Over 2 decades later – my wife and I dined here again. The main dining room is now more open and bright with the warmth of lots of wood. I believe that the large inlaid ceiling panels are old, very nice. Two sides of the room were lined with this enormous bar which appear to be used for silver service. If the restaurant was busy, that would be a great place to eat as well as to drink. Great ambience, large comfy chairs and good sized table.
We were early so there was no maitre d' or hostess. Service was attentive and good. Became even warmer after we ordered a bottle of wine.
The menu is what I would call modified American with a nouveau touch. Good choice of seafood, steaks and starters. My wife had the daily special swordfish. I hoped for prime rib which they did not have. Decided to try the wiener schnitzel instead. We shared an escargot and house salad. The escargot was in little ceramic cups, very hot overflowing with butter and garlic served with plump chunks of toat also with garlic. It was perfect for soaking up the juice. The salad was fresh consisting of perhaps a dozen large green leaves with 3 sun dried tomatoe pieces and some walnuts. Excellent dressing. Certainly an excellent start.
We both graded the entrees a "B". The swordfish was a nice 1" thick piece, but somewhat overcooked. Good taste though. The schnitzel was served with flat noodles. It was soaking in oil and therefore no longer light. Probably also not pounded very thin. The chef may not have experienced a genuine wiener schnitzel himself.
The wine list is good, with representation from most of the popular international wine regions. It is not an exhaustive list, so the focus is on moderate to medium price labels. I did rediscover a favorite classified bordeaux. They use a wonderful huge decanter, a nice touch. The bottle remainder should be even better tomorrow after it had a chance to open up more.
Overall, this is a good dining experience. Old Boston it is no longer. The entres need improvement although the steaks are probably better. Appetizers are very good.
It may be mediocre but at least its pompous. – Some of the classic menu items are pretty good but you cant get past the wretched location, pompous staff and drole pricing. There are much better experiences in Boston.
Very Very disappointing – My husband and I were very disappointed with the food and the atmosphere at Locke Obers. We decided to go for a special dinner on a Friday night as it was our anniversary. It was nothing like we had expected. The outside of the restaurant is tired and worn with cracked windows. The inside is very dark and gloomy. The wait staff acted as if it was still 1870 and it was a priviledge to be there. There were very few patrons there and I now know why. The restaurant reminded me of an 80 year old person who is trying to be young and "happening". The food was just fair and the price was rediculously high. We could have gotten a better meal at a franchise restaurant for a fraction of the cost.
On another note, the building is very historical and the mahogany wood work is stunning. It should become an ice cream parlor where ther is an admission fee to come see a historic building and get a cone.
BEST PLACE TO TAKE YOUr LOVED ONE!!!! – Yesterday my wife and I went to Locke Ober. It was magical. We walked in and were immediatly taken care of. The beautiful coat girl took our coats, the Maitre D' escorted us inside the main dining room to the most beautiful table. I had never seen such a magestic old Boston venue. The atmosphere was perfect! My wife and I enjoyed some Cabernet Sauvignon while the waiters addressed our every need. I ordered the Steak with Calamari, while the wife dinned had the Veal - And they both were cooked to perfection. And then for dessert we had flamming baked alaska. OMG!!! My wife and I went back home and celebrated our romantic evening. Believe the hype - this place is 5 star quality. Ive been around the world and I have yet to visit a restuarant so magical.
Go once to expereince old Boston – You can't get more "old Boston" than this downtown dowager located off an alley near Downtown Crossing. The glass and woodwork is magnificent, the real essence of turn-of-the-century Boston. Sadly, the same can not be said for the staff (the front desk staff are often downright rude) nor the food (overdone and absolutely loaded with butter and cream). The wine list is extensive and expensive (as in many fine restaurants). As for the food, there is no excuse for some of the sky-high prices for entrees that are often rather mediocre. If they would lighten up some of the dishes and better train the staff this would be an excellent restaurant. As it is, it is a one-time visit ... then try some of Boston's truly great restaurants.
Classic upscale dining – Correction to the review below. My computer screen was partially covered when I originally filled it out and I meant to give "highly recommended" to most attributes. Sorry.
My memory of my one time at Locke-Ober. My friend and I had come into the city to shop and I had brought a small rolling suitcase to carry home my purchases. We were little old ladies in sensible shoes and respectable outfits. We had meant to go to Maison Robert but on an impulse decided on the famous Locke-Ober. The gentleman receptionist greeted us politely (we expected to be told there were no empty tables) and offered to check my suitcase. He almost concealed his surprise as he lifted it and obviously realized it was empty. We speculated that he might have thought we were after the silver. Anyway, everyone was very kind and polite. I felt I got my own back when the expensive item on the menu which I ordered was not available. However the roast beef hash was excellent. The wall-to wall silver on the buffet was impressive and we were treated like "grandes-dames"
A grand old warhorse – It is always amusing, instructive and even pleasing to read a negative review of a place one loves. THose of us who are Locke-Ober devoteees don't mind calumny hurled at the old girl but we of course want the place to do well else it be closed. What amuses is the extent to which someone can miss the point of the place. Of course, it is sad if someone has been rudely treated but experience shows that often(not always) the treatement has been coaxed out of the staff. Two sad trends have developed in Restaurant Reviews: the first is the resentment of dress codes. Denim of any kind should not be allowed in any restaurant of merit nor should pants suits, leisure suits or other abominations. respect for the older places and the people around one are important(As Grace Kelly rebuked her daughhter's dress one day, "_I_ have to _look_ at you.") A little self-respect and respect for the place goes a very, very long way. The second problem is the complaint that an old restaurant is not exciting, or serving, as we have learned to say, "cutting edge" food or, more bloviatedly, "cuisine>" Locke-Ober serves its traditional fare and some dressed up items that Shire has wisely put on the menu to compete. One goes there for continuity and cream---and butter. Shad Roe were magnificent there last trip, the salads were nice if a little frou-frouy. THe place should not be condemened for not being something. And try the steak tartare...not as of yore (would that it were...it was a great pile of chopped ,meat with all the goodies..now it is a smaller, streamlined version but still excellent.) Coffee is nothing to scream about, though, at least not to aging New Orleanians outside their hunting grounds.
Extremely poor attitudes of the staff – We had a reservation at L.Ober for a business dinner with an international client. Upon arrival we were told 2 of the people in our party would not be allowed to enter the main d.room because they were wearing denim; even though they were also wearing blazers and dress shoes with a very tasteful pair of denim pants. And we were not given any dress requirement upon making the reservations. The hostess told our clients they could go home and change, they explained home was far away so then the hostess tells them there is a store around the corner and they can go "buy a pair of pants". We were offered the lounge area for seating, which we took since we did not think it would be possible to wait less than an hour anywhere else. In an effort to try and salvage the evening we ordered a very nice and expensive bottle of wine for our guests. Rather than decant the bottle at the table, it was taken away and brought back to the table already out of the bottle. When we asked to see the manager, we were told to leave. When we tried to explain to the manager that a bottle of wine should be decanted at the table, we were again told to leave. The staff was rude and obnoxious from the moment we walked in, with no respect for anyone in our party. An indivdual in our party was charged for the bottle of wine that we never drank, and he was told by the manager the very nice bottle of wine would be enjoyed by the staff at his expense.
Fortunately, we found a great restaurant near Copley Square called Abe&Louies. The staff was unbelievably pleasant and although they were full with reservations, they accomodated us the next night for a last minute reservation for another business dinner of 9 people (since we cancelled our 2nd reservation at L.Ober due to our experience that night). After our experience it was no wonder the d.room of L.Ober was fairly empty and the dining room of Abe&Louies was full.
Locke Ober Memories – In the early 1970's, while a student at Boston College, I developed a personal tradition of going to Locke-Ober's oince per year, by myself, as an elegant treat. I would save my money all year to make this pilgrimage. Later, after I married, I introduced my wife to the wonderful amibience and food that made Locke-Ober one of my most consistent stops when in Boston. Through the 80's, though the food failed somewhat, the atmosphere and service made the trip worthwhile. I have not been able to visit for at least 10 years, but this editorial and my advancing years, have made a trip to this restaurant a firm target for 2007. It sounds as though the new staff has restored a terrific experience and I look forward to visiting in the near future to see if all is as wonderful as I remember.
Wonderful Evening! – My fiance and I had dinner here recently and it was WONDERFUL! The restaurant is gorgeous. It takes you back into time a bit and is a nice refreshing change from all the other restaurants in town. The service was impeccable and the food was out of this world! It is warm and very comfortable inside too. Locke Ober is a true gem in Boston.
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