Monday, June 29, 2009

Boston's Fish House Review: Reader's Favorite (That's Just Not Right)

They serve a lot of fried fish at Boston’s Fish House, and readers named it the best fish and chips in the Orlando area in a recent poll. I’m not so sure I agree with the readers that it’s the best fish and chips in Orlando, but they do serve a lot of it.

Boston’s is located in an older shopping center on Aloma Avenue in Winter Park. The crowd is even older than the shopping center. Way older. On a recent visit I was one of the youngest diners in the restaurant. And that’s a rare occurrence, to say the least.

When you enter the restaurant, the first thing you’ll notice is the unexpected ordering system. You aren’t seated immediately. You first stand in line to place your order before sitting. That’s weird. That’s not right. What advantage this process is to the restaurant, I do not know. What inconvenience to the diner, I do know. The process really cheapens the experience. I saw a couple of older folks struggling to stand so long to place their orders. That's not right. You get no opportunity to discuss your order with your server. No opportunity to see what other diners are enjoying. No opportunity to change your mind or order additional items. It’s just not right.

Once you order, you’re seated by a hostess and you wait for the order to arrive. One server brought our drinks, another dropped off our food and another checked on us during the meal. Did we have an assigned server? I’m not sure. How do you tip in this situation? I’m not sure. It's just not right.

The dining room is a pleasant place, if as impersonal as the service. It looks to have been originally fashioned with a New England fishing village motif, but over the years, with the addition of Red Sox posters, Patriots banners and Celtics flags, the interior has morphed into a kind of Boston sports hall of fame.

First food to arrive was the cup of clam chowder ($4.50), served in a small bowl set inside a large bowl. Was that a hint that I should have ordered the large size for $2.00 more? I should have gotten the pint, because the chowder was very good. Thick, creamy, and full of clams, it’s the kind of chowder you could make a meal out of. It was served with a package of oyster crackers. You can also get it served over a buttermilk biscuit for 50 cents more. Now that's right.

My guest and I both ordered the cod dinner served with two sides ($16). Since we were here to sample the fish and chips, we both went with fried fish with French fries and fried onion nuggets for our sides. Looking around at other diners, it seemed most had gone with fried dishes with only a few broiled dishes here and there.

In my experience, older diners tend to flock to restaurants that offer less spicy, blander dishes. No wonder the old timers feel so at home at Boston’s; the breading was as bland as could be. Inside, however, the fish was bright white, flaky and fresh. And there was a lot of it - the fried morsels of cod fish were spilling over the plate as the dish was served. And when I say morsels, I mean morsels. Not a single piece of fish was longer than an inch. For $16 couldn’t I please get a filet? That's just not right.

The French fries (chips) were crisp and fried perfectly. The onion nuggets were a little soggy and undercooked, coated in the same bland breading as the fish. The first couple of bites of the fish, fries, and nuggets were fine, but after those first few bites, everything started to taste the same. Toward the end, I couldn’t tell one item from the next. No, that's not right.

I wanted to try dessert, but since I had to place my order before I knew whether or not I would have room for it, the Boston Cream Pie ($3.85) will go unreviewed. I wonder how many dessert orders Boston’s has lost because of their ordering system? I bet the owner thinks that's just not right.

Sorry to disagree with readers, but Boston’s Fish House isn’t the best place in Orlando for fish and chips. How could you readers? How could you name Boston's fish and chips the best in Orlando? That's just not right.

Note: Boston’s is closed on Mondays and everyday from 3:25 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for the changing of the oil.

2 ½ Social Security Checks out of 5

Boston’s Fish House
6860 Aloma Aveue
Winter Park

Boston's Website

Boston's Fish House on Urbanspoon

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Anonymous said...

The real star of Boston's Menu: The fried clams!

Anonymous said...

To the Critic:
perhaps when you get a little "older" you will be able to expand your imagination a bit. Yes the ordering system is unique, but it works. I don't recall you having to wait for anything? You were serviced by three different individuals...seems to me you were well looked after. Maybe you could have asked someone for a piece of pie? The food here is consistently good and the votes and reviews and daily lines are the proof. You seem to have missed the boat. And by the way writing a review with this much negative and leaving out your name...that's just not right!!!

Anonymous said...

You can order more from the table from any servers. I suggest asking for cajun fried for more flavor on anything fried. Haddock fillet is available everytime I've been there. Cod is lower grade fish so it cost less but i bet if you put all the little fish morsels together it would make a fillet. Also the breading is light with maximum fish, shrimp etc. Unlike a lot of other over breaded seafood.