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jan 27 2015
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We opened the Island Creek Oyster Bar to bring the restaurant to the farmer. It's a collaboration joining farmer, chef, and diner in one space. We welcome guests to get to know their oyster grower, harvester, winemaker, distiller, brewer, and fisherman. One meal at a time.
ICOB's versatile space hosts small social gatherings and large corporate dinners in our main dining room and lounge.
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We opened the Island Creek Oyster Bar to bring the restaurant to the farmer. It’s a collaboration joining farmer, chef, and diner in one space. We welcome guests to get to know their oyster grower, harvester, winemaker, distiller, brewer, and fisherman. One meal at a time.

A hybrid of New England shore food and creative, seasonally influenced seafood, our menu reflects our sensibility, printed just before service to ensure that we’re presenting the freshest ingredients possible. Our fish selections and oyster list change daily depending on what’s coming off the water while our New England classics, like steamed lobster caught by chef’s cousin Mark in Maine, and Mrs. Bennett’s seafood casserole, can be found here regularly. For a sampling of plates to share, look to the left or, settle in with a couple of substantial entree selections from the right.

Because owners Jeremy Sewall and Skip Bennett maintain close, personal relationships with many of our purveyors, you’ll find their names sprinkled throughout the menu along with the names of those who have inspired us (we’re looking at you, Ethel and Nancy). We hope you enjoy getting to know these personalities and their contributions as much as we have.


Bentel & Bentel: creating ICOB and evoking ICO Farm in Duxbury Bay.

JAN 26 2015
The architectural elements of Island Creek Oyster Bar may appear simple, streamlined, and aesthetically pristine, but each individual piece designed and implemented by Bentel & Bentel has purpose and meaning that embodies the ICO farm in Duxbury. Muted greys and rustic wood paneling, caged oyster shells and the inverted mural of Duxbury Bay envelope our guests as they enter 500 Commonwealth, immediately...

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Grower Champagne & Sparkling Wine: What we popped to celebrate 2015.

We believe in supporting the farmer at ICOB. The ethos of growing and taking pride in what is produced is what most of our menu is all about. Not only is this true for the local vegetable farmer or oyster farmer, but this also represents winemakers and grower-producers of wine. Farmer fizz, as our beloved Terry Theise calls the grower Champagne revolution, includes sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France where the winemaker owns, grows, and makes their own wine within their winery.  There are sparkling wines from regions within Spain, Austria, and a few other countries grown in the same manner, but are not directly classified as grower Champagne simply because they are not grown in that specific wine region of France. Grower-producers can be substituted for sparkling wines from countries other than France.

Opposite of the larger houses, like Veuve and Moet, grower Champagnes and sparkling wines are small families or producers who own their own vineyards. They focus on terroir with each vintage, harvesting all their own grapes, rather than purchasing grapes from other winemakers or vineyards and creating one specific brand of sparkling wine that consistently spans years and years in style and taste. Often smaller in size and production, grower Champagnes and sparkling wine producers may have fewer bottles imported and their availability can be scare.

The distinctive taste and unique quality of grower Champagne and sparkling wine producers can change from vintage to vintage. Sipping on bubbles is what we do best in the ICOB family, and we provide a continually changing list of our favorite winemakers and the Genuine Luster offerings. Here are a few current farmers and cuvees that we love: 

NV Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs Vertus

This is a husband and wife team, Pierre and Sophie Larmandier.  Both families come from a long lineage of wine making.  In 1992, they were one of the first in Champagne to farm organically, leading them to biodynamic practices.   Previously, the Latitude cuvee was called Tradition, a name that was chosen in the 1970's by Pierre's parents.  The new name, Latitude, was selected since the wine is composed exclusively of Chardonnay vines originating from the same latitude: the south of Vertus, where Pinot noir was historically planted. Pierre believes this wine has Pinot noir-like qualities and feels it encompasses some red fruit and broader texture.  Creamy on the palate with lively citrus, pear and white peach flavors, some herbal notes and a vibrant mineral driven finish.  Excellent complexity and pairs with virtually anything!

NV Pehu-Simonet Brut Grand Cru Verzenay

David Pehu is the fourth generation wine grower from this estate, holding 7.5 hectares with six of these as Grand Cru level vineyards. In the 70's, his parents started the estate with the addition of his mother's estate wines, which created Pehu-Simonet. It is a classic refined style, golden apple, brioche, hazelnuts on the nose, with a vibrant, stony, lemon peel, creamy texture.  A very clean, crisp everlasting finish. Elegant and slightly richer in style than the Larmandier-Bernier. 

2010 Pavese Ermes Valle d'Aosta Spumante

About 1,200 meters above sea level in the Italian Alps, Ermes Pavese is a young, true grower-producer that focuses solely on the indigenous varietal, Prie Blanc. This rare Italian sparkling wine comes from a small 2-hectare parcel that is pre-phylloxera and made in the traditional Champagne method. Terraced vines, very steep slopes, and use of the pergola basso method require all grapes to be carefully hand-harvested. Bright minerality and racy acidity, this spumante is full of grapefruit, pear, white flowers, and unique savory qualities, like tomato leaf and rosemary.

Visit the ICOB menu page to view our wine list. Information and tasting notes courtesy of our wine steward, Noell, and our GM, TSG.

-Jillian Bernardini

JAN 7 2015

Chef Jeremy Sewall, Know Your Fish 101

From interviews to seminars, cooking classes and published articles, Chef Jeremy Sewall is a go-to source on conscientious whole fish sourcing, purchasing, and preparing.  Living by the water for most of his life, whether it was the east or west coast, his plentiful knowledge of seafood is a genuine resource to seek out and bring into one's own kitchen. After two Know Your Fish tutorials for the staff at ICOB and Row 34 along with The New England Kitchen cookbook release, here are Chef Jeremy's guidelines and tips on procuring fish responsibly.

We write the menu backwards, sourcing product by availability, then craft the menu around those fish that are in season.

In particular to New England, there is a seasonality to seafood and the fishing industry. Early spring isn't the time to find local swordfish, but there are beautiful mackerel and haddock available. Building a relationship with a local fish market or fish purveyor allows you to directly ask all the right questions.

Most of the fish ICOB buys are caught in the most responsible, ideal way. We try to avoid sourcing from fishing methods that are harmful to the environment, and are always excitedly featuring that fish and naming it accurately.

Chef Jeremy's requirements when sourcing and buying seafood are knowing the name of the fishing vessel that it was caught on, where and how it was caught, who caught it, and finally what particular methods were involved. He believes this information is essential to understanding the true quality of what you're consuming. He prefers to go local whenever possible, but responsibly sourcing seasonal favorites like softshell crabs or wild salmon to provide a wide selection at the restaurants is also important. Local day boats that implement hook and lining, or pole catching, is the most ideal catching method, while other forms include gillnetting, buoys, long lines, and some dragging can also be ecological.

Purchasing whole fish guarantees the quality and accuracy of that fish species, and if you're paying a certain price for that fish, you don't ever want to hide it.

A few tips from Chef Jeremy on critiquing the quality of a whole fish are that the gills should be a bright, healthy red, the skin is shiny and firm, and the eyes will be clear and brilliant without any trace of cloudiness. Fresh fish does not smell, it will have a pure ocean aroma, and you can ask your fishmonger to see the whole fish before they fillet it for you.

There are many types of round fish, and many have different bone structures and need to be filleted differently. Salmon, bluefish, and striped bass are examples of round fish. Flatfish, which swim flat and the eyes slowly migrate to one side of their head, are delicate and easy to fillet, such as halibut, flounder, and fluke.

Whether it's a flatfish or a round fish, Chef Jeremy believes that any flavors and ingredients on the plate should complement the fish. You want people to taste the true flavor of the fish, so the type, texture, and size of the fish can dictate what cooking method and flavor profile is applied. Firm fish, like swordfish and salmon, take to the grill very well. Grilling a delicate fish will only taste of the grill and fall apart. Pan searing a fish and getting a hard sear on the skin develops layers of flavor, makes the skin crispy, and keeps the fish moist. Tilefish [pictured above], coming into popularity in the past decade, is a medium-bodied fish that cooks beautifully pan seared. Scallops and cod are lovely when baked, and a delicate dusting of seasoned flour can complement saute0064 skate wing.

For more information on The New England Kitchen cookbook, which also includes whole fish filleting tutorials, or Chef Jeremy, please visit his website here.

-Jill Bernardini

DEC 18 2014

A Tour of Sky8 Shrimp Farm, LLC: Engineering sustainable shrimp farming in Stoughton, MA.

Even someone with a Ph.D., no one knows everything, says James Tran in a hopeful, light-hearted tone during the beginning of our Culinary Guild tour Friday morning. Tran, a 39-year-old native of Vietnam, has spent the last two years in endless trial and error scenarios attempting the first shrimp farm in Massachusetts. Mainly a three-person team, along with frequent consultants and some investors, Tran combined his engineering background, his upbringing in the family shrimp business, and his entrepreneurial spirit to develop a method of shrimp farming that is sustainable, natural and chemical-free for the shrimp, and aims to have no environmental impact or disruption to Stoughton, the hatcheries, and New England's coastal areas. We are happy to report that thus far, his goals and passion are slowly coming to fruition.

In a bare bones industrial park, lined with modestly staggered rows of brick buildings, Tran has nearly exhausted the space of his intimate shrimp farming facility from five tanks to eight tanks, and counting. Growing four different sizes of shrimp, he hopes to further expand his warehouse to answer the local restaurant demand for his gourmet Pacific White shrimp. Utilizing a zero water exchange facility, Tran takes fresh Atlantic Ocean water, trucked in from the coast of New Hampshire at high tide, and recycles this salt water after each consecutive shrimp crop. With high technology advanced recirculation, filtration, and temperature control systems, Tran can oversee every step of shrimp growth and has the ability to send messages to his phone if there is a problem with the tanks.

Sourcing their shrimp larvae from an FDA certified hatchery in Florida, Tran knows that he is purchasing from a very controlled environment. From larvae size, which is smaller than a mosquito, it takes about 12 days for the shrimp to grow to about one inch in size. Throughout the tour as we listened to Tran and his team speak about the shrimp, their vision and desire to respect the shrimp and bring a new perspective overall to the shrimp farming industry is inspiring. Multiple times, Tran expressed that when they are harvesting the shrimp from the tanks, he never wants to stress them out. They are never frozen and are only delivered directly to restaurants on ice without the use of any preservatives or chemicals. 

His optimum goals are to develop more circular tanks for easier net harvesting, providing more room in the tanks for the shrimp, and one day to build his own hatchery and feed the shrimp with a 100% vegetarian feed. The 8 in Sky8 may mean that James Tran started the eighth shrimp farm in the U.S., but it is also the luckiest number in Chinese culture. From witnessing disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill that have nearly destroyed shrimp ecosystems, James Tran is ready to take on the challenge and provide the shrimp industry with an ecologically responsible, local source for freshly grown seafood.

Sky8 Gourmet White Shrimp Farm

Stoughton, MA

Jillian Bernardini

NOV 20 2014

The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes, Chef Jeremy Sewall and Erin Byers Murray.

Hosting the cookbook release party a few weeks ago for The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes, ICOB happily raised a glass to our Chef Jeremy Sewall! With Erin Byers Murray, Chef Jeremy's inspiration for his first cookbook stemmed from growing up in one of the most seasonal regions in the country: New England.

The roots of my love for simple, fresh food. Those fundamentals will stay with me forever.

With memories of nostalgic picnics by the waters of southern Maine and his family's roots as lobstermen, Chef Jeremy's cookbook blends some dishes that he grew up eating as a child, like the steamers on the cover, and recipes that span his entire culinary career. Similar to the menus at his restaurants, Chef Jeremy's recipes are seasonal, simple approaches to highlighting local, fresh ingredients.

Profiles of Chef Jeremy's friends are also in the cookbook, along with tutorials featuring fresh lobsters, oysters, and even curing bacon. The New England Kitchen is a cookbook that revives a timeless regional cuisine with a contemporary twist. We are eager to share our Chef's story with you, and look forward to seeing his dishes created and shared in your own homes. We will have copies of The New England Kitchen available for purchase in ICOB, or you can find the cookbook on Amazon for $28.48.

-Jillian Bernardini

OCT 25 2014

Extended Dining Hours at ICOB!

Baseball season in Kenmore Square always brings a heightened sense of excitement.  With the changing of seasons, budding trees, and bustling crowd of neighbors and tourists alike, there's no neighborhood we would rather be sharing our local fare than Fenway. Fall conveys a similar enthusiasm, as the Red Sox earn a well-deserved break and fine dining season comes into full effect, we are looking forward to sharing some new changes with you!

Starting this week, we are updating our hours to provide guests more opportunities to dine with us.  For our full dinner menu, our weekend dining hours, Friday and Saturday, will extend to 11:30pm.  Sunday-Thursday will remain the same with the full dinner menu available till 11:00pm.  There will be no more late night dining available throughout the week and weekend.  Also, Sunday brunch will shift slightly, ending at 2:30, with a mid-day menu available until our full dinner menu starts at 5pm.

As ICOB celebrates its fourth anniversary mid-October, we are incredibly grateful to be one of Boston's favorite seafood restaurants, and look forward to providing more memorable experiences for both neighbors and visitors alike.  

 -Jillian Bernardini

OCT 25 2014

ICOB & Coravin: Sip a Reserve, Aged White Wine by the Glass

Over a decade of testing 23 different prototypes in his Boston basement, Greg Lambrecht developed a method of enjoying a glass of wine without ever pulling the cork. Coravin, meaning the heart of wine, is a device comprised of a thin, hollow medical grade needle, inert argon gas capsules, a trigger for easy pouring, and a clamp to safely secure itself around most standard wine bottles.

"My dream was to magically pour wine from bottles without ever pulling the cork. The remaining wine could then go back in my cellar, so that I could enjoy it again, whenever I desired,%u201D says Lambrecht, who likes to think of the Coravin as a means of wine accessibility more than preservation. Having the ability to taste three or four different bottles from his wine cellar and sharing that experience with his friends, is the type of freedom that Lambrecht loves about the Coravin. However, the sole success of the Coravin system is that it does maintain the wine's original integrity: it preserves an accessed bottle of wine for years without any potential for oxidation.

How does it work? A thin, hollow needle is inserted through the cork to access the wine. The bottle is then pressurized with argon, an inert gas, which allows the wine to flow through the needle and pour into the glass. The argon replaces the wine removed from the bottle, preventing oxidation. The needle is removed from the cork, and the cork reseals itself, protecting the wine from oxidation and allows full enjoyment of the wine months or years later.

We look forward to a frequent rotation of Coravin selections that maintain the ICOB wine ethos, and want to share with our guests the amazing potential and complexity that white wines develop overtime with age.

Current Selections: {click the links below to read about the wines and their producers!}

1995 Kirchmayr 'Solist' Grn0065007200200056eltliner Wachau

1998 Nikolaihof 'Steinriesler' Riesling Wachau

2003 Au Bon Climat 'Hildegard' Santa Maria Valley CA

2003 Kruger-Rumpf 'Mn0073007400650072er Dautenpln007aer' Riesling Spt006cese Nahe

1998 Hugel Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles Alsace

-Jillian Bernardini

SEP 18 2014
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