After enduring a bone-rattling and never-ending winter, Bostonians are eager to do just about anything al fresco. Relaxing with a cocktail, some apps, a great meal, with the ocean air wafting by, dappled by the sun or dining under the stars.
TAMO just opened its Seaport District patio, and also unveiled its new spring menu.
TAMO Bar + Bistro is a sweet spot for patio views of the harbor, but if you’d prefer the cozier indoors, Inside, TAMO offers equally gorgeous views from its floor-to-ceiling windows in the Living Room, with comfy couches and Asian-inspired relaxing décor. And the bar is the spot for after-work drinks, including their own Seaport Honey Ginger Beer made with honey from their own roof-top bees.
TAMO has some crafty cocktails to go with their new lunch and dinner menu, which now includes sushi, with the addition of their new sushi chef, Nobu.
Developed by Chef Robert Tobin, the new menu is an eclectic mix that tries to appeal to the tourist crowd, but also gives a nod to the local crowd. Chef Tobin, whose mom is from Dorchester, went to school in New Hampshire, is a CIA-trained chef who has previously worked as sous chef at David Burke Kitchen in SoHo, executive chef at Asia de Cuba in Midtown Manhattan, and New York State hotel. He was Head Chef at the Big Easy restaurant in London, and trained with Jean Baudry of Paris’ Terracotta, which is where he stole the idea to serve his dishes with plates of different colors and textures — green, yellow, black, and red. He helps to bring a multicultural sensibility that is reflected in the menu.
And it’s a nice menu. The Creamsicle cocktail is a worthy starter, in honor of ice-cream-truck season. It was a creamy blend of Amaretto, Cointreau, cream and OJ.
For apps, the Volcano Roll was fresh, made with baked scallop, real crabmeat, Tobiko, avocado, cucumber and toasted sesame, with a side of dynamite sauce. The Vegetable Rainbow Roll looks interesting, with mozzarella, balsamic, cucumber, avocado, tomato, zucchini, carrot, summer squash, as does the Korean barbecue braised in beer, with a side of pickled daikon, and the Mai Thai Shrimp Curry, with bird’s eye chilies, fresh coconut, big eye prawns, and pad Thai noodles.
A must-order nibble is the jar of Guinness pie, a savory and flaky portion-controlled beef pie with horseradish and carrots in a Guinness sauce. You just spoon it out of the jar. Also, the meatballs, made with prosciutto, veal, bacon, mozzarella, in marinara sauce, were luscious, a deeply flavored generous portion of meat that went better with a glass of Argentine pinot noir. The "Dirty Martini” Blue Cheese stuffed and fried green olives were great, but would have been better with a glass of the honey beer that they make from their rooftop hives; The Seaport partnered with Long Trail Brewing Company to make an IPA flavored with the Seaport’s honey, and added a bit of ginger for a little spice.
Another special includes the Spicy Crepes with lobster, cream, mushrooms, and pea shoots. From the Wok & Bowl section, the crispy salt ‘n’ pepper calamari, in a light buttery batter, was topped with hot peppers and served with a sweet chili dipping sauce made from their honey.
One section of the menu is a fun play on the Food Truck culture; while there’s no actual food truck at TAMO, Chef Tobin said he was inspired all the same. Truck or no, the swordfish, skewered and marinated in miso, with a side of black quinoa salad, was meaty and tasty, as were the tacos with al pastor pork, with an interesting blend of avocado, lime crema, pineapple, and red paste ancho, for a mouthful of flavor. It went well with a glass of Meritage.
The “Neighborhoods” menu section has North End-style pizza with a 4-cheese blend, on flatbread they make in a forced-air pizza oven. The Southie section features Irish stout-based beef stew, East Boston is churrasco steak with chimichurri and cucumbers, and Cambridge is represented by a 3-bean vegetarian chili, with red, garbanzo, and black beans flavored with ancho and New Mexico chiles.
There’s a round of New England classics, like Chowder and lobster rolls, and Pat Woodbury’s grilled and steamed clams with North Country smokehouse bacon, Eva’s pea greens, ginger, and fermented black beans.
For sandwiches, the Regular Joe is a comforting sandwich of ham, swiss cheese, coleslaw, thousand island dressing, on three thin slices of Jewish rye that Tobin hunted high and low for.
He is also offering as many locally sourced menu items as possible.
Farmer’s Market features Jansal Valley Farms Spring Salad of rainbow chard, watermelon radish, baby kale, topped with Seaport Honey Vinaigrette; Cowboy Steak: Provident Farm’s 20 oz. Bone-In grass-fed ribeye, with Maine Bintje potatoes, and fiddlehead ferns; and Panzanella, featuring Pete & Gerry’s Eggs, Ben’s Mushrooms, Great Hill Blue Cheese, Backyard Farms Tomatoes, Rocket and Iggy’s Bread. Grilled ‘n Steamed Clams are from Pat Woodbury’s Clams, and made with North Country Smokehouse Bacon, Eva’s Pea Greens, ginger, and fermented black beans.
“We wanted green certified grass-fed beef and local chickens, and then we build it from there,” said Tobin, who seemed genuinely excited about his menu. It’s an eclectic selection, one that means to offer something for everyone.
The hotel’s pastry staff also aimed to please, with S’mores in a crock: a sundae of graham crackers, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and ice cream. I’m not one for S’mores, but it was hard to stop my spoon from scooping this up. We also tasted the Peanut Butter Banana Trio — Peanut Butter Banana Spring Rolls, Chocolate Banana Pot du Crème, Peanut Butter Mousse Cake, which was very light, and the Classic Crème Brulee made with Vanilla Beans, under crackling sugar and a side of Chocolate Dipped Strawberry. All perfection, with a vintage port.
Frankly, the Seaport is pretty busy, but luckily TAMO often has shorter waits, and a handy garage just under its Seaport Hotel host. It’s like a secret spot.
TAMO is open from for lunch, dinner, cocktails and late night from 11:30 until 1 a.m. daily.
One Seaport Lane
- 2 oz Amaretto di Saronno
- 1 oz Cointreau
- 1 oz Cream
- 1 oz Orange Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
TAMO Fire Tini cocktail
- 2 oz. Fire Puncher Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Atsby Vermouth
- ¾ oz. Olive Brine
Shake over ice, strain
Serve in Martini glass with Olives
Chef Tobin's Springtime Panzanella
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 6 cups bread, crust removed, cubed
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons, crumbled blue cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons, fines herbs
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons honey vinaigrette dressing
- 2 large tomatoes, quartered
- 1 pound rocket (arugula)
- ½ cup bacon lardons, rendered
- 1 poached egg
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss bread with 1/4 cup oil, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread bread mixture onto a baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy, mixing a few times to toast evenly. Remove pan and reserve.
- Render bacon, drain, cool slightly. Combine rocket, bacon, blue cheese, shallots, herbs, dressing, and croutons in a bowl and season. Transfer to a plate then top with warm poached egg. Serve.