In Praise of Eventide Fenway’s Brown Butter Triple-Threat
Accompany that famous lobster roll with brown butter soft serve and a brown butter Old Fashioned for an especially delicious treat.
Perhaps you already know and love Eventide’s fan-favorite brown butter lobster roll. Food writers and dining-out enthusiasts have waxed poetic about it for years, both at Eventide’s original location in Portland, Maine, and at the six-year-old Fenway offshoot. Here at Boston, we gave the latter a 2022 Best of Boston award as the best lobster roll in town. (Our own former restaurant critic Jolyon Helterman is a rare dissenter on this topic, and we’ll respectively disagree. Where he finds “the double-squish texture” of the fluffy bao-style bun and buttery lobster filling “less than ideal,” we find an irresistible transition from the rich meat into the cloud-like roll.)
A lobster roll’s great, sure; it’s arguably one of the tastiest ways to experience New England seafood. But might we also suggest adding brown butter soft serve to your order—and perhaps a brown butter Old Fashioned, too?
Brown butter is a magical ingredient: It’s just butter that gets carefully heated up until the milk solids begin to brown—so simple, but this transformation adds layers of complexity to a dish. Done right, it imparts a toasty nuttiness wherever you use it—drizzled over pasta, baked into pastries, made into a seafood sauce.
At Eventide, it gives a little special something to the lobster roll—which, by the way, is a petite size that’s priced at $19, letting you try more on the menu (and not drop $40+ on a sandwich). The meat is topped with warm brown butter, nestled in the soft bun, and dressed lightly with salt and chives. The rich, nutty flavor continues with the brown butter soft serve, topped with the perfect complements: maple candied pecans and bourbon caramel. And if you’re a lover of brown liquors, Eventide’s rum-and-brown-butter spin on an Old Fashioned is the right way to accompany this brown-buttered-brown-butter meal. The drink features local rum from Ipswich-based Privateer, Laird’s Applejack (essentially an apple whiskey), demerara, bitters, and—yes—brown butter. (Eventide Fenway—which debuted in 2017 with a beer and wine license and a sort of mix between fast-casual and full-service—reopened earlier this year with a full liquor license, a cozy bar, and full sit-down service.)
In Helterman’s 2018 review, he made a fair point: If you go for the famous lobster roll, will you have enough appetite to venture onto the other lovely parts of the menu? Eventide does so many things well, it’s almost a shame to go all in on the lobster roll if it means you won’t get to try anything else. The daily specials, in particular, tend to be creative must-tries. Recent options include fried skate ribs with nori remoulade and a smoked bluefish melt with pickled mustard seed and everything spice. The regular menu, too, is full of stunners, from group-friendly New England clambakes to chili crisp wings to a fried chicken katsu sandwich with maple Chinese mustard.
With that in mind, here’s your plan for the weekend: Gather a group of friends who like to share, order brown butter everything at Eventide Fenway, and, while you’re at it, order a little bit of everything else.
1321 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-545-1060, eventideoysterco.com.