We always order a few appetizers and have them staggered. Our waiter apparently did not understand what staggered meant for he had our last three items sent out all at the same time. Now this restaurant has two sides, the outside sitting area, which is filled with long picnic tables, or the inside with regular tables. We prefer sitting outside because of the open windows and the view of the Boston skyline. Outside you are sharing a picnic table with other people and it is not unusual to feel crammed, especially if you have three plates of food in front of you.
First we ordered a bowl of the New England Clam Chowder. The restaurant is right on top of the water and its named, The Barking Crab, so we were expecting an amazing bowl of chowder. Instead it was a disappointment. The chowder was lacking clams, had a grainy texture to it, and could have used a few more minutes on the stove top; it was borderline cold.
Next we had some raw local oysters on the half shell. These were served with a lemon wedge, cocktail sauce, and vinegar. The oysters were not bad although, in our opinion, they could have been cleaned better.
Their fried calamari came next; it was good but it was not great. The calamari was somewhat crispy and cut way to big. You need a knife to cut it down to bite sized pieces and when you do the crunchy crust comes off it. The plate was greasy and once again it wasn't nearly hot or crispy enough to be truly enjoyable.
Then we had the steamed mussels. The last time we were at The Barking Crab we remember falling in love with this plate. This time aroud it left a sour note in our mouths. The heaping portion of mussels is served with a white wine, garlic, butter sauce. On top there are two slices of toasted bread for dipping in the sauce. There were large chunks of tomato and celery on the plate which thickened the sauce way to much.
Lastly, we had the fish and chips. The french fries were ok, but then again it is pretty hard to mess up french fries. It was a generous portion of breaded, flavorless, greasy cod fish. The breading completely overwhelmed the fish (Aida ended up removing the breading to get to the fish). Overall it could have used some seasoning, we had to dip each piece into the tarter sauce in order to taste anything. In the end the plate was left full of french fries and breading.
As a whole this was not our best experience at The Barking Crab. The service was sloppy and the food left us wondering what went wrong in the kitchen. We went on a Friday night at 6:30pm and got seated right away however, by the time we left at around 8:00pm, there was a line out the door (The Barking Crab does not take reservations).
Our recommendation would be to get there early and probably do what we did not do...order the crab.
For The Barking Crab's full menu go to http://www.barkingcrab.com/.