I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant about date night tonight simply because we are coming off a week-long vacation in Italy. How could we possible top the amazing prosciutto, cheeses, wine, pasta, gelato and other amazing dishes that we ate all week? Fact of the matter, we can’t so maybe it was good that we tried something not even close to Italian. Tonight we ventured to Burlington, MA to the Island Creek Oyster Bar. This is the second location for ICOB with their first location on Commonwealth Ave. in Boston.
This is part of a new development in Burlington, just behind the mall. This is becoming a hotspot for restaurants which now include the Tuscan Kitchen, the Tavern in the Square, Pressed Cafe along with ICOB and it looks like there will be more to come!
First impression of ICOB is that it is large and very modern. There are very sleek lines and the color scheme is grey – you could almost say 50 shades of grey! Even the brown wood floors and furniture seem to be have a grey wash. The ceilings are high and are accentuated with 3 stalls of 12 huge grey pendulum lights which actually help to define the space. Those along with acoustic tiles helped to keep the noise level down so that you could actually carry on a conversation. The back wall is a wall of oyster shells. I can’t imagine how many oysters were shucked to fill the space provided for all those shells! As you enter you will see an oyster bar to your right and a clean and sophisticated alcohol bar to your left. There was some patio seating outside.
We had made reservations but at 6:00 it looked like we could have walked in and been seated. Our maitre de told us she had us seated at a low table for two or we could sit at a high top. We chose the low table – bad choice. This one row of table-for-two seating was tightly packed. I was actually embarrassed as I tried to squeeze past the table next to us, taking care not to knock over their oysters! The rest of the restaurant looked decently spaced. They really need to get rid of just one set of these table and give the tables a little more room. It was seriously so close together that the waitress couldn’t put anything on my side of the table without reaching over Jerry!
We started our night with cosmos that were shaken perfectly! The bread served at the table was hearty whole grain and was served with a salted butter.
Since we were at an oyster bar, we thought we would start with oysters. That was until we saw the price per oyster! The cheapest was $3 a shuck, most were more than that. So for each of us to have 4 – you do the math – but that is the price of an entrée. Instead, we went for the Narragansett lager steamed little neck clams with thick diced bacon and scallion butter. For half the price of the oysters this was a tasty dish served with crostinis for soaking up the broth.
We decided to order a bottle of wine with dinner. The wine list was limited and leaned toward more expensive choices. There were three rows of white varietals to choose from but only one row of reds. There was only one Pinot noir on the menu at a smooth $98! We chose a Rose’. They did not have our first choice so they recommended another and gave it to us for the same price.
For dinner, Jerry chose ICOB’s version of a surf and turf. He had the lobster roe noodles served with grilled lobster, braised short rib, mushrooms and topped with pecorino (a romano cheese). This was a well-balanced meal and surprisingly the lobster and short rib complimented each other. The fettucine noodles did not have a strong lobster flavor. They were not skimpy on the chunks of lobster and Jerry had plenty to share. The short ribs were tender and moist and fell off the bone.
I chose the monkfish schnitzel with mustard spaetzle, spinach and ICOB tasso ham. The fish was cooked perfectly, moist on the inside, crispy on the outside. I have a soft spot for spaetzle and this version with a mustard sauce did not disappoint!
For dessert Jerry chose a mocha semifreddo chocolate streusel with mascarpone cream. Semifreddo is a class of semi frozen desserts. There was a layer of chocolate through the middle. This was not heavy and the perfect amount of chocolate to end the meal.
Our only mistake – having just come back from Italy – is that we ordered an espresso and cappuccino. Under normal circumstances these would have been fine but I don’t know why but the Italians have it all over us on this one! So, too soon, making them just o.k.
Our waitress showed us just the right amount of attention without hovering. She just needed a little more space to move around. You could tell the staff works as a team, meeting the needs of diners as they arose.
All in all, this was a great dining experience. Perfect choice post vacation. We will definately be back! We give this 4 out of 5 cheers!