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Memorial Day Weekend (Kingston Station, Moat Mountain Brewery, Warren's Lobster House Reviews)


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Where the heck have we been? Work and wedding planning and once again sure laziness has made us neglect our blog. There's a lot we need to catchup on. Reviews of Poppa B and Pita South End are on their way. But I'll start by recapping our weekend.

Kingston Station

Abby recently joined something called Groupon, which basically gives her random coupons from week to week. We jumped at a $35 worth of food for $15 coupon for Kingston Station. Basically a $20 off coupon. I've never heard of Kingston Station. I have no idea if it's a new restaurant or not. Normally when I'm in the Chinatown/South Station/Leather District area, I'll just eat in Chinatown.

We walk into a large opening with a few tables near the window and a large bar facing us. We walk through the bar and are brought into another large dining area. The first thing I noticed was that the tiled floor and bar reminded me of Gaslight in the South End. The tables are situated very close to each other. If the restaurant gets crowded (which it wasn't this Friday night) then you could easily hear and join in your neighbor's conversation.

The menu is very bistro-esque. Steak Frites, hamburgers, fried calamari, etc. We start with the fried calamari and both order the Station Burger.

The calamari was a fairly large portion. I like fried calamari that come with fried peppers (which Abby calls Rhode Island style). The marinara dipping sauce was ok, not great, but the calamari was nicely fried and very good. Abby complained that the pieces she ate were extremely salty, so I tried a few without the marinara and sure enough a couple of the bites were overly salty. Not enough to ruin the appetizer, but enough to make us remember the saltiness.

Did we really both need to order the burger that comes with a sunny side up egg and bacon on it? No, but we did anyways. This was a very, very good burger. Nice and juicy (though a little greasy) with the egg adding just the perfect flavor. I would have changed the cheese (gruyere) to cheddar or American, but other than that a very good burger.

I really don't know what Kingston Station is trying to be. I read something online that said it was suppose to be a train. I didn't really get that vibe. The food was better than average and the prices were high, but not overly so. Because of our coupon, this turned out to be a great dinner. However, if we didn't have our little discount, I'd just say "meh". I'd give Kingston Station a 3 1/2 out of 5.

Kingston Station on Urbanspoon

Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery

We went up to New Hampshire to go hiking on Saturday and after our hike we met up with one of my co-workers that has a house up there. Mike is a local at the Moat and always brags about how great the beers are there. From his descriptions, I always got the impression that the Moat was this dive bar with a mastermind brewer making wild concoctions. When we arrived to the brewery, I was a bit surprised by the very clean restaurant. There were quite a lot of tourists and locales eating in the dining area, but Mike took us into the bar area and we sat down immediately. Our server was a young guy that Mike knew (he's a regular, so he knew everyone in the bar) and he treated us very well. Abby got the sampler and I wanted to order the stout, but sadly was denied. I went with the weiss instead. Mike got the aptly named "Iron Mike Pale Ale" that arrived in his own special mug. I love bars that allows regulars to have their own mugs and glasses. We ordered the boneless chicken tenders and the pepperoni pizza and enjoyed our beers.

Both the pizza and the chicken tenders were well above average for a bar. The pizza was very large and had a nice thin crust. The tenders were cooked perfectly and the chicken was very tender and juicy. The buffalo sauce was nothing special, not bad at all, just didn't really stand out on it's own, but it didn't have to. Abby made her way through her sampler and I ordered another beer, the Mai Bock. The Moat's brewmaster definitely knows what he's doing. Every beer I tasted was delicious and had great flavor. Sadly, I judge all micro-breweries by their stout, so I'll have to come back and give the Moat another try one day. If you are in the North Conway, NH area, you should definitely drop by the Moat. I give the Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery a 4 out of 5.

Moat Mountain Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

This is Mike and yes, ladies, he's single!

Warren's Lobster House

After we left the Moat, Abby and I took a drive to Portsmouth, NH to check out the city and grab dinner before we headed back to Boston. We knew about the Friendly Toast and also of Jumping Jay's Fish House from various TV shows (most recently Samantha Brown) but we chose not to go to either of them. Friendly Toast seems like a place to hit up for breakfast or for late night eats when wasted. Jumping Jay's menu didn't jump out at us. While walking through some shops we asked locals where they would dine for moderately priced seafood. Without hesitation we were told by numerous people to go to Warren's across the bridge in Kittery. So we got back into the car (too tired to drive) I drove us over the bridge and entered Maine for the first time in my life.

Upon arrival I could sense that Warren's Lobster House is an institution. And, if you didn't know about the salad bar, well after seeing this sign, you do now.

We walked past all the people waiting to be seated (and there were a lot of people waiting to be seated) and went to the hostess stand and told them we would like to dine at their fine establishment. Basically I just said "Two." We were given a pager and told it would be about 35 minutes. Fine, we weren't starving at the moment and it would give us time to contemplate our salad bar strategy.

It took us about 45 or so minutes before our pager magically went off. We were seated in a nice booth and were only separated by a group of tables holding two large parties (12-15 people in each party). I knew if we were going to survive the salad bar, we'd have to beat both large parties to the punch. Luckily we knew what we were going to order by the time we sat down. Abby went with the lobster and crab stuffed scallops and I went with the twin pound lobster. Both came with the salad bar and another side, which we both chose the baked potato. The second our waitress finished writing down
our order, we jumped out of our booth and attacked the salad bar.

I gotta say, the salad bar was nice, and I'm really glad there are places still holding onto the salad bar tradition, but I wouldn't rate Warren's Salad Bar above Ruby Tuesday's salad bar. This is by no means heavy criticism. Ruby Tuesday's salad bar is probably only second to Fogo de Chao's salad bar. Warren's was good, but not great. There was decent selection of iceberg, romaine, green leaf and spinach and decent toppings. I didn't understand the neon red spiced apple at all. The pasta salads were ok, like one would expect. No wild flavors hidden in the potato salad either. It tastes just like how it looks. Which isn't a bad thing.

After our salads I studied the place mat so I would know exactly how I would eat the lobster. Abby then let the place mat know what we would do to the two poor creatures we were about to devour.

Our plates came out and they looked fantastic.

It took me some time to get my bib on, but once it was on, I went to work. Thanks to the place mat's instructions, I was able to take apart the lobster like a pro. The meat in the claws were incredible. Dipped in the butter, it was like heaven in my mouth. So succulent, so buttery, so unbelievably tasty. The tail was just a tad bit chewy, but still delicious. I broke off some of the body and enjoyed some of the tomally as well. Good eats right there. Abby had nothing but good things to say about her scallops and I tried a couple of bites and thought it was fantastic, but was no where near as good as the lobster.

It was messy, and not that cheap, but well worth it. I'm sure there might be better, less touristy places than Warren. However, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you chose not to go here because of how cheesy the place looks. Like most things food related, if the parking lot is so full that people are circling the surrounding neighborhood looking for parking, then you know there has to be something good inside. I give Warren's Lobster House a 4 out of 5.

Warren's Lobster House on Urbanspoon


Most Excellent Entry, Sir!

Glad you had a good time at Kingston Station!! I'm the Community Manager at Groupon; thanks for writing about us :) Let us know if there are any places in Boston you want to see Groupons for... We'd love to hear!