Food

Union Oyster House bar manager ‘takes great umbrage’ with Globe review

He calls the piece ‘an amateurish hatchet job.’

The Boston Globe

On February 29, The Boston Globe published a review of Union Oyster House, the historic, 190-year-old-restaurant near Faneuil Hall known for its chowder and photos of famous people eating there.

Nestor Ramos, the Globe reporter who wrote the review, wasn’t particularly kind in his assessment of the establishment. Parts of the review where Ramos asks rhetorical questions are reminiscent of The New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells’s scathing takedown of Guy Fieri’s Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, an article that went viral in 2012.

Ramos wrote, “At $16.50 for a half-dozen, they’re at the high end of the going rate for oysters in town, and a platter can be put together a la carte for considerably less at some pretty fancy joints. But would you get the Authentic New England Experience of six oysters crammed onto a warm plate so small that the back of each shell leaches gray New England mud onto the flesh of the oyster behind it?’’

Ramos was also not impressed by the restaurant’s gift shop, nor the decor: “Let’s pause between courses to admire the space, which resembles ye olde rabbit warren as decorated by a Colonial-era hoarder.’’

Jim Sullivan, the bar manager at the Union Oyster House, didn’t agree with Ramos’s opinions at all. In fact, he took such issue with the review that he wrote a letter to the Globe, published Monday, in which he took down Ramos in much the same way Ramos took down Union Oyster House.

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First, he had a problem with Ramos’s tone:

“Ramos, a two-year Globe employee with previous stints in gastronomical and historic meccas Rochester, N.Y., and Sioux Falls, S.D., decided a blind-side journalistic sucker punch with a side of snark might be his ticket to the full-time foodie gig at The Boston Globe.’’

Then he mocked the delivery issues that plagued the Globe over the holidays:

“Perhaps because Chipotle does not carry seafood and the Union does not offer ramen noodles and Red Bull, Ramos found himself out of his element. Or maybe Nestor was just having a bad day, as the recent double-duty mandate that requires Globe writers must also deliver the newspapers themselves may have left him feeling bitter and unfulfilled.’’

He called the review a “hatchet job’’:

“Unfamiliar with lobster scampi, perplexed by Indian pudding, and apoplectic that the Union Oyster House would dare have a gift shop inside the restaurant were all Ramos needed for his amateurish hatchet job.’’

And finally, he defended the Union Oyster House employees:

“As a proud Oyster House employee, I watch my fellow employees strive with all they have each night to do the very best they can for our beloved guests. Ramos flicks this concept aside like a half-smoked cigarette.’’

The gloves are off, folks. (By the way, we’ve reached out to Sullivan for further comment; he did not immediately respond to our request.)

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