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“Not fancy but sure was fresh”

James Hook & Company
Ranked #11 of 3,293 Restaurants in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $15
Cuisines: Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Delivery, Takeout
Neighborhood: Downtown
Description: Located on the waterfront in downtown Boston, James Hook & Co is the go-to place for delicious, high-quality lobster and seafood. We are a third generation family business, and have been selling lobster since 1925. James Hook & Co has earned a reputation for the finest lobster in town, even earning the Best Lobster award from Boston Magazine.
Reviewed February 8, 2013

They probably do more business selling fresh fish than the lunches but that's what we loved about the spot. There are only 4 small tables so don't expect a lot of room or fancy. We had a lobster roll, bisque, and chowder. All were great! We enjoyed sitting and watching as the fresh lobsters came in fresh from the boats and customers came in to take fresh lobsters home with them. Great little find.

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1  Thank Bob_Haight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,094 - 1,098 of 1,374 reviews

Reviewed January 4, 2013

If you think that the only 5-star rating should be for places with museum-quality interiors and ambience, then please mentally downgrade this rating to 4-stars . . . I happen to factor "value" and "taste" very highly in rating a restaurant. I don't care how elegant the decor is, if the food isn't outstanding, what's the point? Conversely, as long as I know I'm not going to a place conducive to marriage proposals, I don't want to sacrifice the quality and taste of the food for atmosphere. Folks who rate James Hook as though it should be compared to a fancy-schmancy restaurant that would serve AT BEST equally outstanding food at 3-4 times the price are missing the point . . .

With that rant behind me, here's what you get at James Hook: the best possible lobster (I like the lobster roll but truly love the boiled lobster) you could possibly eat at a really reasonable price. What you don't get is fancy decor and mood lighting. It is literally, biologically impossible for any restaurant, no matter how much they are willing to pay (and thus charge to their customers). James Hook transfers the lobster directly from the fishing boat into their live-tanks. This provides the maximum possible freshness, and therefore taste. Many restaurants purchase their seafood from James Hook. At best, a restaurant might be able to equal (but not surpass) JH by sending someone to the docks who has not just a cooler, but an oxygenated live-well in his/her vehicle for transporting the lobster back to his restaurant.

You might think this is a nuance not worth considering, but anyone who has eaten corn harvested just before cooking vs. a few hours before cooking vs. a day or two before cooking knows what I'm talking about. Unlike beef or pork, which actually inmproves with aging, lobster rapidly loses its freshness, and lack of oxygen is a prime culprit.

So . . . if you want a romantic night out with fantastic seafood and are willing to pay a pretty penny for it, there are several great places in Boston. But if you want the best lobster you've ever had for about 1/3 the price and don't mind a steveadore atmosphere, then JH is the place to go!

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5  Thank JJC888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

This was an interesting stop, it is basically a great seafood market that also happens to sell a meal or two. Had a lobster roll, clam chowder and a scallop cake, all of which were fantastic. For a place operating out of what appears to be an ATCO trailer this was a fantastic meal.

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1  Thank albedell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2012

Had the best lobster roll ever at James Hook & Co. in Boston, a small seafood wholesaler in a small trailer down the block from the Amtrak station; the lobster roll was overflowing with fresh lobster on a lightly toasted roll. There is no ambiance here and only a few tables and chairs, so If you want a fancy-pants seafood restaurant, don’t go here. But if you want the best lobster roll in Boston, James Hook is the place to get it.

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Thank Donna P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2012

LOVE....this was seriously a dive, but the lobster roll...AHHH...
My sister and I stopped in for a quick bite on the way to Cape Cod and I'm glad we did. We elected to get the regular sized lobster roll and share it....I could have eated the whole thing, so it's good we split it up prior to starting to eat it as one of us may have lost fingers....
I enjoyed the lobster roll so much that we returned the next day, on my way to the airport, to get another one. I just had to have another taste (this time a full lobster roll) before I left Boston.
The spot is bustling with people not only grabbing lunch, but buying fresh lobsters, crabs, soups, etc. The tuna looked amazing (and sushi grade) as did everything else. Knuckle meat...yum...I wish it would have saved nicely in my luggage.
This is a must visit in Boston...I have been on a quest for the 'best' lobster roll in Boston and I may have found it!

Thank ChicagoK2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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