The city of Quincy has an endless array of restaurants, including a number of Asian eateries in North Quincy and Wollaston, a diverse group of dining spots in and around downtown and at Marina Bay, and local pubs and dive bars throughout. The Wollaston Beach area of the city doesn't have too many options, but it is known in part for a couple of longtime seafood shacks--Tony's Clam Shop and The Clam Box--and it also used to have a famous music club (The Beachcomber) and a seasonal ice cream shop (The Ice Box). And while the former is gone for good and remains empty for now, the latter has become a taco shack called the Baja Box that also continues to serve ice cream, and it may be one of the only seaside spots in the Greater Boston area to offer these two items under the same roof.
The Baja Box sits in a small structure on Quincy Shore Drive next to The Clam Box, whose owner--Brian Schwanke--is actually one of the people behind the taco shack. On the other side of the dining spot is the former Beachcomber property, and across the street is the ocean, which makes this (and The Clam Box) a popular spot for beachgoers. Much like that of the former Ice Box, the space in which the Baja Box resides includes a counter/ordering area, a few seats along the window, and a small patio out front with picnic tables, views of the beach and the water across the way, and very nice views of the Boston skyline in the distance. The outdoor tables have umbrellas that give some shade, and for sun worshipers, some stools are set up along the rail that faces the sidewalk.
One might think that a taco shack at a popular Boston-area beach might be a place to get basic everyday fare that is more about price and quantity than quality. This doesn't seem to be the case with the Baja Box, especially considering that one of the individuals behind it (Tom Holloway) comes from Rustic Kitchen and Legal Sea Foods, while also having a degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence. A few of the highlights here include traditional grilled Mexican street corn with chipotle mayo, cotija cheese, cilantro, and chile powder; a rich-tasting tortilla soup with a hint of cilantro and a good amount of cotija cheese; crispy tortilla chips that can be ordered with freshly-made salsa or guacamole (or both); some wonderful fish tacos that come with battered whitefish, chipotle mayo, cotija cheese, avocado crema, and cilantro lime slaw; rich tasting pork carnitas tacos with salsa verde and pickled red onions included; beef barbacoa tacos with savory slow-cooked beef, cheddar and jack cheeses, pickled red onions, guacamole, and salsa roja; and shrimp tacos with cotija cheese, avocado crema, chipotle mayo, and cilantro lime slaw. (Some of the taco options come with a flour tortilla while others come with a corn tortilla.) Saving room for dessert is definitely a good idea at the Baja Box, as the place features the always-excellent Gifford's ice cream from Maine as well as Richie's Slush and soft serve ice cream.
Wollaston Beach is indeed a great place to go for fried seafood, but with the opening of the Baja Box, there is more to this seaside stretch of Quincy than just clams and scallops. It may not be a gourmet restaurant, but the food is better than you might expect from a cheap eats place, and it is definitely tough to beat the views. [ED NOTE: The Baja Box closed for the season on October 1.]
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