Profile: “THE WARREN TAVERN” in Charlestown, MA

The Warren Tavern ExteriorAfter a long day of hiking around Boston, we decided to stop into The Warren Tavern for a beer and a bite. We noticed they featured a lobster roll on their menu, so we decided to give it a try. Dating back to 1780, The Warren claims to be “the most historic watering hole in America” and “the oldest tavern in Massachusetts.” It definitely feels old, and at least initially had a really cool revolutionary-era atmosphere. But, after being greeted by a less-than-friendly hostess and looking around a bit whilst we awaited the arrival of our server, we realized that the decor feels more like 1970s Pewter Pot than 1770s revolutionary America.

The Warren Tavern InteriorWhether or not the history is true or accurate, one thing’s for sure – George Washington and Paul Revere did not frequent The Warren because of their lobster roll. Our rolls arrived in a small split-top New England style hot dog bun that was splayed open as flat as a piece of bread. (Hey Warren, how much do those little paper hot dog roll sleeves cost?) And, although one side of the roll was butter-grilled, warm and crispy, the other side was cool and soggy. Oh, and the bun was lined with some shreds of iceberg lettuce.

Worst, though, was the lobster meat, which was tough and didn’t taste fresh at all. I asked our server if the meat was frozen, and she insisted that they get fresh deliveries every morning. Well, if that’s true, then The Warren should really consider changing suppliers. Or, maybe these “fresh deliveries” don’t come on Sundays. And adding insult to injury, this tough lobster meat was over-mayo’d, and was flecked with chunks of chopped celery.

The Warren Tavern lobster roll very nearly landed themselves in our Hall Of Shame, along with other substandard rolls from  The Lobster Dock, Neptune Oyster, and Charlie’s Kitchen. But in the end they averted the shameful designation.

We were rooting for you, Warren Tavern, but in the end you ended up with a NOT RECOMMENDED rating. Here’s how you stacked up (0-100):

  • T’s Rating: 70
  • P’s Rating: 70
  • AVERAGE: 70

The Warren Tavern is located at 2 Pleasant Street in Charlestown, MA. WEBSITE: FACEBOOK: PHONE: 617.241.8142

The Warren Tavern Lobster Roll

The Warren Tavern’s lobster roll in NOT RECOMMENDED.


Profile: “KELLY’S ROAST BEEF” in Revere, MA

Kelly's ExteriorEarlier this summer we dusted off the road bikes and headed toward Revere Beach to visit an institution: Kelly’s Roast Beef. Nowadays known to most simply as “Kelly’s,” it seems nearly everyone north of Boston has been to Kelly’s, and opinions vary – some people swear by Kelly’s, where others despise the place. We think this is because Kelly’s has been around so long that it has become a sort of caricature of itself – that is, people more often express opinions about the “idea” of Kelly’s, than they do about their actual experiences there. We certainly felt this was true of ourselves, and we wanted to give Kelly’s a fair shake.

One thing’s for sure, Kelly’s always seems to be busy. We waited a bit before placing our order, and in 10 minutes we picked up our rolls and headed across Revere Beach Boulevard to the picnic tables overlooking the beach. Our initial impression was very favorable. This roll was loaded, and enclosed in a beautifully butter-grilled split-top hot dog roll. The lobster meat was very fresh, dressed with mayo and a tiny bit of diced celery (i.e. not so much as to count against them). The portion was large and, if the review was to end here, Kelly’s would have ranked very highly indeed.

Now, the rest of the story. We had two complaints about the Kelly’s roll. First, this roll was way over-salted – so much so, that it was difficult to imagine eating the accompanying potato chips after polishing off our rolls. Second, and this observation was confirmed after the fact by several other lobster roll hounds we know, this roll was, in a word, soggy. We’re not saying the bread was soggy – it wasn’t. What we’re saying is that the lobster meat itself was just way too wet, not from too much mayo but from what we assume to be excess water left over from the picking process. You can see from our accompanying photo, the mayo on this roll looks watered down, because it was… and that’s exactly how it tasted.

The thing here is, aside from these two complaints this was a very good roll. And these issues are easy fixes. In fact, if it weren’t for the salt and the sog, Kelly’s roll would have scored in the ballpark of James Hook or The Beach Plum, with a solid “Highly Recommended” rating. Instead, Kelly’s ends up with an “Acceptable” rating. Here’s how they stacked up (0-100):

  • T’s Rating: 84
  • P’s Rating: 84
  • AVERAGE: 84

Kelly’s has multiple locations, but we visited their original location at 410 Revere Beach Blvd in Revere, MA. WEBSITE: FACEBOOK: PHONE: 781.284.9129.

photo 4