Inside the Boathouse Bistro

A new Hingham eatery serves up Italian favorites in a family- friendly environment

By Maria Allen

It isn’t every day that a neighborhood pizza shop is turned into a family restaurant, but that’s exactly what Steve and Tinka McCauley did when they opened the Boathouse Bistro in Hingham. The Weymouth couple, who fell in love with Italian cuisine while working at various eateries in Boston’s North End, set out to create a restaurant of their own on the South Shore that would serve up delicious high-quality Italian dishes, without a hefty price tag.

The Boathouse Bistro opened in July of 2015, taking over a spot at the Hingham Shipyard previously occupied by Stone Hearth Pizza. Thanks to its seaside location, the new restaurant quickly became a destination for boaters coming from the nearby marina as well as commuters hopping off the ferry and looking for a convenient bite to eat.  The restaurant’s décor is casually elegant, with comfortable booth and table seating, bold blue walls and hanging light fixtures that look like bird’s nests. The look is nautical, but doesn’t go overboard.

The restaurant’s brick pizza ovens were one of the major selling points of the property and hand-tossed pizzas are appropriately one of the specialties of the house. The evening that I visited, I decided to start out by sampling a prosciutto and fig pizza. The crust was slightly crispy and instead of a red sauce the pizza came drizzled in olive oil. Typically this pizza is topped with fresh arugula, gorgonzola cheese, sliced figs and prosciutto, but we had the chef improvise just a bit by adding fresh chopped tomatoes and thick slices of mozzarella cheese. The result was a sweet-meets-salty flavor experience. Another popular pizza choice is a mushroom truffle pizza topped with mushrooms, goat cheese and shaved parmesan that is finished with truffle and arugula.

The Boathouse Bistro menu also features fresh seafood dishes, hearty beef and chicken entrées and flavorful renditions of Italian staples, such as eggplant rollatini and chicken parmigiana, which have already developed a local following. Never being one to shy away from spicy foods, I decided to sample the seafood pescatore, which arrived at the table beautifully plated, with a ring of mussels encircling a heaping pile of lobster, shrimp, and calamari atop pasta enveloped by a spicy pomadoro sauce.  Other popular menu items include a prosciutto-wrapped filet that comes with oven-roasted red bliss potatoes and fig demi-glaze, and braised short ribs over mashed potatoes and root vegetables.

Many of the items on the menu are directly inspired by dishes the McCauleys came to love while working in Boston’s North End, and some are creations of Executive Chef Dennis Grady, who previously worked at such South Shore establishments as Orta, Scarlet Oak Tavern and The Tinker’s Son. At the Boathouse Bistro, Grady has put a focus on quality and consistency, which pairs perfectly with the owners’ desire to make the restaurant an approachable destination for local families.  You’ll even find a special kids menu that features items like kiddie chicken parm and pasta with butter and cheese.

A convenient place to grab lunch while shopping at the Hingham Shipyard, or dinner before a show at the Patriot Cinemas, the Boathouse Bistro is sure to be an attractive dining destination all year long.

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