The Joys of Restaurant Week
By Ramona Flightner/@ramonaflightner
I love restaurant week, a time when over 200 restaurants in Boston create special menus for lunch and dinner. It is a clever way to entice patrons in to sample a restaurant’s fare with the hopes they will be return customers. I leapt at the chance to eat a three-course meal at the venerable establishment, Locke-Ober.
Locke-Ober is one of the oldest restaurants in Boston opening in the mid 1870’s. It is a gorgeous, belle-epoque style restaurant. Its old world charm is unmistakable from the moment you enter the front door and glance at the beautiful, hand carved bar. The wall sconces are beautiful, the fountain in the main dining room stunning, and the entire atmosphere is one of refined elegance. The long, elegantly carved mahogany bar in the main dining room gleams and I felt like I had stepped back in time when I sat at our table.
Thankfully, I was allowed admittance. It wasn’t until 1972 that women were allowed entrance. I remember the tale of an aunt of mine defiantly splurging on a meal at Locke-Ober’s simply because she finally could in the mid-1970’s. She greatly enjoyed the meal, but enjoyed even more being allowed to enter the restaurant.
I ordered a “Ward Eight” which is like a special whiskey sour and is Locke-Ober’s signature drink. It is named after one of Boston’s famous ward (or political) leaders, Martin Lomasney who ruled the West End’s Ward 8 for years. Lomasney was famous for saying,”Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.”
Our meals were delicious. I had the calamari to start, duck as the main course and peach cobbler for dessert. I love good food, but I am not someone who can describe the different nuances of the distinct flavors and compare them to other places I have eaten. I simply know that I greatly enjoyed the meal. The waiters were dressed in tuxedos, those speaking with the patrons wore a white bow-tie, those filling water glasses and clearing plates away wore black bow-ties.
I loved eating at Locke-Ober because the food was delicious, service good, and I was able to easily envision what it was like in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s when it was in its heyday. If you ever have a chance to eat there, I’d highly recommend it.
© Ramona Flightner