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Restaurant Review: The Barking Crab & a new menu featuring gluten free options

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Boston’s Iconic Waterfront Seafood Shack Introduces New Chef and New Menu to Kick Off its 20th Anniversary Year

The Barking Crab restaurant, Boston’s beloved seafood shack, went back to basics this past year, paring down its menu and reemphasizing its commitment to serving fresh, local seafood prepared with a “hook-to-table” sensibility. Now, the Barking Crab has completed ‘phase 2’ of its reinvention with a new executive chef, Joshua Brown, along with a new menu—just in time to celebrate its 20th anniversary year!


Opened in Boston in 1994 as an outdoor summer seafood shack, an adjunct to Neptune Seafood & Lobster Fish Market, the Barking Crab now stands in the gateway to The Seaport District of Boston, a much loved stop on The Boston Harborwalk. Offering a unique on-the-water dining experience—outside on the back deck under the tent in warm weather and indoors in the cozy Lobster Room with its wood burning stove during the winter. Celebrating its 20th anniversary year, The Barking Crab remains endearingly popular with locals and tourists alike, who return regularly for its fab food, festive atmosphere, and year ‘round vacation vibe.

Photo courtesy of Barking Crab
Photo courtesy of Barking Crab


A Natick, Massachusetts native and graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Executive Chef Joshua Brown comes to Barking Crab after seven years at Tomasso Trattoria & Enoteca in Southborough, where he rose through the ranks, going from line cook to pastry chef to a.m. sous chef to executive chef.  Prior to that, as banquet chef at French multinational food services giant Sodexo, Josh oversaw catering for large crowds at the JFK School of Government, Harvard Law School, and Highwood Manor House at Tanglewood.  He also spent a year as line cook at Michael Schlow’s Alta Strada in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Proficient in charcuterie, whole animal and fish butchery, bread baking and desserts, Josh’s culinary experience, palate and love of good food promise great tasting rewards for Barking Crab patrons—locals and visitors, regulars and newcomers alike. Chef Brown has a gluten intolerance, hence a new gluten free friendly menu.


The Barking Crab’s new seasonal menu offers some of the most creative seafood dishes in the city: from Nantucket Bay scallop ceviche and grilled yellow-fin tuna with gingery vegetables to grilled swordfish with eggplant caponata and a New England take on Southern shrimp and grits.

Gluten free appetizers include: black bean soup, mussels, Nantucket Bay scallop ceviche, tequila drunken shrimp, steamers, and the raw bar.

We tried the ceviche. The Nantucket Bay scallops are known for their delectable, sweet flavor, making this dish very different from traditional citrus filled ceviche dishes I am used to eating. The scallops were large and plentiful, paired with fresh cilantro and onion; this dish had a nice balance of flavor. The ceviche is served with gluten free chips.IMG_7156

The oil in the fryer is changed every single day. The gluten free chips are the first thing made in the morning and set aside for gluten free patrons.


For our entrees we ordered the shrimp and scallop kebabs and grilled swordfish.


The shrimp and scallop kebabs are served with Spanish rice and rosemary chimichurri.


The grilled swordfish is served with eggplant caponata and black beluga lentils.


We were so impressed with the distinct flavors of every component of each dish. The fish was fresh and cooked to perfection. I rarely order swordfish because it more often than not is overcooked and dry. But this swordfish was the complete opposite.  The quality of the food was also impressive; we were not expecting such creative and refined dishes.

Dessert is made in house. Every morning Chef Brown makes one to two desserts, and sometimes they are gluten free, sometimes they are not. Chef Brown made us a dessert of prosecco, macerated strawberries and pomegranate molasses.


Executive Chef Joshua Brown wants to make sure that guests’ first impression is a great and lasting one.   We certainly had a great first impression— if you can believe it this was my first time at Barking Crab— and we will be back again. It’s nice to have gluten free options at a place you would never think it was possible, and even better that the chef completely understands gluten allergies.


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Disclaimer: I received this meal free of charge, with the exception of gratuity, which we happily paid for the great service. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.


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I've been on a gluten free diet since January 2009. It's been an adventure, and a challenge at times. I love to go to new restaurants and try new foods, and being gluten free can make eating out difficult at times. But I will not let my dietary restrictions get in my way of finding new restaurants and products. These are my stories of being a young women in a big city, eating out and trying new foods, all while NOT eating gluten. Like I said, it's an adventure and you are welcome to come along... Please note that as I try to eat gluten free 100% of the time, my intolerance is not as severe as others so please use caution when dining at restaurants that are not certified gluten free.

3 thoughts on “Restaurant Review: The Barking Crab & a new menu featuring gluten free options

  1. I’ve been wanting to try out The Barking Crab for so long…the one time I finally made it over there the wait was over an hour! I’ll definitely be heading over there sometime soon. Thanks for sharing, everything looks delicious!

  2. Crab dip appetizer is also gluten free and delicious! Just ask for the corn chips instead of bread :)

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