Boston Restaurant Blog -- October, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The Boston-area restaurant scene is lacking in a few areas, including traditional English pubs. Sure, the British Beer Company is slowly expanding in Eastern Massachusetts, but there still aren't any inside of Route 128, and reviews of the food at BBC seem to be mixed. That is why a place in Salem called The Old Spot has intrigued me for quite some time now, and after finally getting there over the past weekend, I can say that it does seem to be a decent place for a bite to eat and a beer, though perhaps not quite a destination spot.
Located around the corner from Salem Common on the eastern edge of the downtown section of the city, The Old Spot is within walking distance of most of the more popular attractions in Salem. The exterior of the place is attractive in an old-world kind of way, with the words "Sustenance" and "Libations" prominently displayed on the bar side of the storefront. The interior is charming, warm, and cozy, with the aforementioned bar on the right and a separate dining room to the left. The dining area includes a slightly raised area that is somewhat partitioned off from the rest of the room, though it is basically one space, and not a very big one at that. Wooden floors, dim hanging lights, and attractive wall sconces add a lot of atmosphere to the restaurant.
We went to The Old Spot toward the middle of the afternoon, and it was still quite crowded with people having late lunches. We were able to be seated right away, however, and started with a Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale (not my favorite pumpkin beer, but still very nice) and a pint of Tetley's English Ale (almost like a pale ale version of Guinness Stout, with a creamy head and little carbonation). We decided to order an appetizer and a couple of sandwiches, and the appetizer--deep-fried green beans--was perhaps the highlight of the meal. The green beans were heavily battered, almost like onion rings, giving the beans a satisfying crunch, and the creamy horseradish sauce that came on the side was a perfect complement to the dish. Our sandwiches were decent enough, though the toasted reuben was a bit too greasy and the thick slabs of corned beef, while tasty, had some substantial pieces of fat that probably could have been trimmed. The char-grilled burger was thick, juicy and delicious, but the fries that came with it (as well as with the reuben) were limp and greasy. Desserts (including a brownie sundae) and after-dinner drinks (Frangelico, port wine, Irish Mist) all sounded good, but we were pretty full, so we called it a day after our meals. Service was very efficient, with our server juggling many tables at once without much of a problem, and prices were just a bit on the high side for a pub, but still pretty reasonable.
While The Old Spot in Salem won't make me forget about some of my favorite pubs in the Boston area, it is a nice place to go to on a chilly day to warm up with a bite to eat and a drink or two. I get the feeling that I may end up back here this winter with a good book (or perhaps a chess set!), enjoying the cozy atmosphere as well as a pint or two of a decent porter or stout.
If you would like the address for The Old Spot in Salem, here it is: The Old Spot, 121 Essex Street, Salem, MA, 01970. Phone: (978) 745-5656
Related Blog Entries: Salem restaurants
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