This is an ongoing series covering the Seaport District in Boston, which includes both Fort Point and Fan Pier. Some previous posts from the area: Morton’s Steak House, Legal Harborside, Row 34, Tavern Road, Sportello, and Menton.
Every day this past summer on my commute to work, I walked by these little tent-like buildings. While the surrounding waterfront area has been quickly ballooning with massive skyscrapers, ultra luxury condos (we’re talking upwards of $10 million a unit for some of these), and constant construction, this little single story “shack” remains – just the same as it was twenty years ago when it began.
Although I’d been in the Fan Pier area for over half a year, it wasn’t until late into the summer that I finally had a chance to try this lively seafood shack right on the water in Fan Pier.
The Barking Crab has two sections. There is an indoor section (inside the red building with the green sign), which has a bar area as well as individual tables.
There is also an outdoor section that’s under a huge red and yellow striped tent with long wooden benches.
The views from both sections is gorgeous.
We ended up sitting on the indoor section but right next to the window. Isn’t that a phenomenal view looking back out towards downtown Boston?
The atmosphere is casual, sort of like a summer seafood shack. Water comes in a plastic cup; soups are served in paper cups with plastic utensils. Bryan got a Bloody Mary, which he said was pretty good.
We started with a New England quintessential dish: the Clam Chowder. It was OK but not great. The ingredients were fresh and the clams were properly cooked. However, I personally thought the soup was a bit bland and lacked a deep clam flavor. The housemade hot sauce helped, but overall I prefer other clam chowders in the city.
Fried Full-belly Clams were perfectly fried, crispy, and hit the spot. We polished off the entire plate.
We both love raw oysters so on a whim (after having already put in our order), we decided to get a half dozen of these.
The oysters came with two classic sauces: a mignonette and cocktail sauce with horseradish. I like to eat my oysters straight up, so I didn’t actually use either of the sauces. These local oysters (which I *think* were from Duxbury) were good – nice and fresh, briny, yet also sweet.
They have two types of lobster rolls on the menu. A hot buttered one and a cold mayonnaise based one. Since we had never tried the hot buttered lobster roll before (I know! Not even from the most famous place in Boston!), we thought we’d get that version instead.
Unfortunately, this was one of my least favorite dishes of the night. The lobster was a bit dry and tough. The flavor was alright, but the texture made it not so fun to eat. The fries were pretty average as well.
Thankfully, we loved the crab legs that we ordered.
We got one order of the King Crab Legs. You can augment any crab or lobster order by making it a “Clambake”, which includes chowder, littleneck clams, chourico (spicy sausage), corn on the cob, red bliss potatoes, and slaw.
They give you all the tools that you need for cracking those crab legs open.
Including plastic bibs and metal tools!
This was by far our favorite part of the entire meal. The crab legs were phenomenal. The meat was super tender, very sweet, and all around pretty amazing.
Yes, we got our hands nice and dirty. Bryan hates getting his hands dirty, but even he was willing to do this because it was that good.
I guess there’s a reason why it’s name is Barking Crab – the crabs were indeed fantastic.
The dessert selection is very basic. I think on the day we went it was a choice between cheesecake and chocolate cake. We got the cheesecake and it was fine. Nothing special and nothing to write home about.
All in all, we had a fun time at the Barking Crab. The ambiance is festive, fun, and the views are beautiful. It’s really one of the few remaining shack-like structures in a sea of high rises. I wonder how long it will stay there before someone decides to tear it down for yet another skyscraper.
The food varies. I would stick with simple items, like raw oysters and boiled and fried seafood. If king crabs are available and you don’t mind paying the higher prices (I think ours was forty-something dollars), it’s well worth it. Personally, I would skip the lobster roll and clam chowder and go somewhere else for those classics.
After dinner, take a stroll across the pedestrian bridge back into downtown Boston.
This bridge is on the way back to South Station (red line), and it’s beautifully lit up at night.
Perfect both on a warm summer night or a cool autumn evening.
The Barking Crab
88 Sleeper St
Boston, MA 02210
Disclaimer – this meal was paid for by the Barking Crab. All opinions are my own.
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