Abe & Louie’s ‘Steaks’ Claim to Great Boston Seafood

It’s Friday night on Boston’s busy Boylston Street, lined with restaurants, boutique shops and people spilling out of bars.

The after-work crowd is pushing happy hour into overtime when we arrive at Abe & Louie’s, a steak and seafood restaurant with no shortage of alpha males in the house. You’d be mad to come here without a reservation, even the bar is packed; the Sox holding their own at Fenway fueling extra drink orders. The wine list is long, and varied, but this is the sort of place that demands Mad Men-style drinks. This is a place for martinis and 30-year old whiskey.

I can’t see a single empty table, and just as I’m starting to wonder how long the wait will be, we’re were whisked away to a comfortable booth just across from us a table full of friendly carnivores. They’re the experts for the steak review; we’re here for the fresh New England seafood.

Meanwhile, we pour over the menu amidst low lighting, dark wood panelling and bankers lamps. It’s buzzy and busy, but not so much it’s distracting. It’s also the kind of place men in suits, or even blue button-downs and chinos flock to, and yet it’s not intimidating for two chicks ordering the healthiest stuff on the menu.

We start with a serious protein hit of lump crab meat cocktail, which is actually Maryland blue crab. Despite a bit of extra mileage, it’s delicious and well, very meaty. The chopped salad draws a decidedly authentic remark, “This is my kinda’ salad.” It’s got the right amount of feta and onion without being overpowering, and nuts and seeds complement it well.

When in New England, a must-eat is Maine lobster. A two-pounder is delivered to the table with the classic drawn butter on the side, grilled asparagus and spinach with mushrooms and garlic. The lobster is good, but the swordfish steak is the sleeper dish.

The wood-fired grill has left it crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The roasted taste cuts through the cold of winter and winds whipping off the Charles to bring back the taste of countless summer barbecues.

Over at the other table, four grown men are getting giddy over classic steakhouse salads of iceberg wedges, beefsteak tomatoes and blue cheese before the “come to Mama” part of their meal arrives. It’s steaks all around, and they’re too busy inhaling iron to give more than a quick thumbs-up and wide, satisfied smiles.

The dessert menu is full of tradition, with apple pie a la mode, New York cheesecake, and ice cream. But we weren’t expecting a plate of fresh baked, warm cookies and house-made chocolate sauce (none of that thin Hershey’s syrup), lemon sorbet, and my favorite, a mound of dark, fresh berries.

Abe & Louie’s will remind you of the sort of place your father may have come to close a business deal, but on a Friday night, with a few gin and tonics, and a peek through the bar to catch the Sox at the bottom of the ninth, it feels like the perfect place to kick off the weekend, which is every night, if you’re a tourist.