- Food Lens Five
Row 34 is a self-proclaimed “workingman’s oyster bar,” which makes sense only if the working man referred to is a polished young professional letting loose after a long day in a Fort Point office building. But the airy, warehouse-style space feels expansive enough to feed the proletariat masses, and the droves who swarm inside create a ceaseless bustling.
Chef Jeremy Sewall clearly wouldn’t sacrifice the reliance on fresh seafood and culinary prowess that made him famous at Island Creek Oyster Bar, but he’s definitely used this project to delve into new territory. Take the craft beer: Those changeable letter boards spanning the entire length of the open kitchen/bar boast names of mind-blowing drafts. Hailing from everywhere from Boston to Belgium and beyond (oyster stout from Italy, what?!), the constantly rotating selections are just right for washing down the menu’s salty, crispy offerings.
Row 34’s menu offers a bit more bite than your average bivalve joint: fried calamari yield edges of gathered and browned batter that beg to be dunked in a bold, red-hued aioli-like sauce. Raw oysters are accompanied by multiple mignonettes with kicks of Fresno chilies and jalapeños. Lettuce cups are bright and texturally masterful with a layer of pickled cabbage. Those colors, textures, and flavors all reflect the love-of-food attitude that’s best summed up on the sparse opening page of the restaurant’s website: “If we could eat oysters and drink beer for every meal period, we probably would.”
When seated you’ll receive a raw-bar menu and a pencil. Don’t forget to flip it over for the original seafood charcuterie items that Sewall is becoming increasingly famous for.
Always full, but seating expands in warm weather when Row 34’s terrace is open. Sitting out there is a great way to get a feel for the unique bustle of the neighborhood, but don’t expect those vines to shield the clamor of West Service Road Extension.
A love of the sea must run in the Sewall family; chef Jeremy sources lobsters from his cousin Mark, who fishes for them off the coast of York, Maine.
Tastes of Row 34
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