When David Robillard moved to Tulsa from upstate New York where he operated his own seafood market and restaurant, he had a desire to show Tulsans what New England food was like.
"I came here to be with my daughter and granddaughter," he said.
Once in Tulsa, Robillard's restaurant experience--and 18 years' experience as a USDA food inspector--meant continuing in that field would be a natural fit.
Boston's Seafood Restaurant opened mid-July, and Robillard knows what sets his food apart from many other seafood restaurants in town.
"What we do differently is that we do all of our own breading and batter," he said, deeming it basic "custom cooking" that is often hard to find these days of pre-measured and pre-mixed batters.
"It is not pre-made. We freshly cut our fries, make our own special Cole slaw, crab cakes, and our homemade chowder is wicked good."
"Captain Dave's New England Clam Chowdah" is how it is listed on the menu.
Boston's is located where a former Braum's was on 71st between Sheridan and Memorial. When my friend and I entered, the dining room has the Braum's configuration, but the décor has a Red Sox theme and Boston city feel about it. Orders are taken at the table, which is a nice touch from ordering at a counter. The menu is filled with a very good variety of seafood and non-seafood dishes.
Appetizers are plentiful--Cajun Crawfish Tails, Crab Cakes, Steamed Clams, Steamed Mussels, Shrimp Cocktail, Fried Calamari, Oysters in the shell, Popcorn Shrimp and Stuffed Crab in Shell. Prices are very reasonable, with the Mussels being the most expensive at $9.95. And that is one major aspect that Robillard wanted to provide his customers--fair and reasonable prices--despite that seafood is often expensive simply because it has to be flown into our land-locked state.
We were drawn to the Cajun Crawfish Tails ($7.95) as our appetizer. Their preparation included a light dusting in Boston's seasoned breading then deep fried in their zero trans fat oil to a golden brown. These were very tasty and crispy little gems! Freshness and flavorful were two keys to these tails.
For our dinners, my friend was eager to sample a good basic meal of Fish & Chips ($7.95), which can be a true test of a seafood restaurant. I was a little more extravagant, choosing a fish from the House Specials section of the menu, the Stuffed Flounder ($13.95) which was filled with crab stuffing and then baked until golden and perfectly flaky. This particular dish takes 15-20 minutes preparation time, which was fine because we were in no hurry.
Menu favorites according to Robillard are the Crab Cakes--described as Captain Dave's secret family recipe, Captain Dave's New England Clam Chowdah and Captain Dave's Seafood Platter. The latter dish, says Robillard, is a "good meal for two people to split." It includes one-half pound fish, one-third pound clam strips, one-third pound calamari, four grilled scallops, three jumbo shrimp, a stuffed crab and two sides all for $18.99.
Additional recommended selections "From the Grill" section of the menu include Alaskan Halibut, Atlantic Salmon and Ahi Tuna. "From the Grill" items are served blackened or with a butter-garlic, lemon-herb or cream dill sauce.
Our meals were ready, and my friend's fish and chips were quite good. The chips were crispy golden ribbon fries, which were thin curls of potato--different indeed from curly fries. The Atlantic Cod was white and flaky, and tasting very fresh. The fish was square-shaped, giving an indication that it might have been "pressed" together. Robillard says he gets his fish from Sysco.
My Stuffed Flounder was the better of the two, we thought, possibly because it was more complex. This large flounder, stuffed with a rich crab meat filling, was very good. The flatfish was very fresh and held a nice texture. Two sides came with this meal. I chose the onion rings and the Cole slaw. Both were homemade, and had a fresh taste reflecting the personal handmade touch.
House Specials include King Crab Legs, Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, Seafood Platter and Captain Dave's Seafood Platter. Chicken Tenders and Grilled Chicken Breast are available, are a fine selection of New England Rolls and Sandwiches.
Boston's Seafood Restaurant
6577 E. 71st St.
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