Food & dining

quick bite

At Fenmore out with karaoke, in with comfort food

Spicy grilled mojito shrimp skewers are served at Fenmore American Bistro.
Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe
Spicy grilled mojito shrimp skewers are served at Fenmore American Bistro.

Where to Fenmore American Bistro, the latest arrival on the Fenway/Kenmore Square restaurant scene. It replaces Maluken, known more for karaoke and sake bombs than its Japanese fare.

What for Comfort food in a historic setting near the ballpark. Fenmore is located inside the Buckminster hotel, reportedly where the Black Sox Scandal was conceived, the first network radio broadcast went out, and jazz club Storyville (now a Pizzeria Uno, hepcats) once hosted the likes of Holiday and Mingus.

The scene Relaxed on a night when the Sox are away. The Yankees game plays on televisions visible from
every angle. Co-workers share a communal table. The men all have dark hair and beards and speak softly; the women eat Buffalo wings and laugh often. At the bar, two men drink Budweiser and converse in a language I can’t quite place. A possible hotel resident orders food to go. Fenmore is loud even without many guests. The decor is a mix of Boston-themed nostalgia (sepia-toned images of baseball, the marathon, streetcars) and clubby modern accents. Butterscotch leather armchairs beckon beside a large mantelpiece. Everything is brand new and clean. Staffers school one another on the POS system.

Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe
Melissa Bass (right) spoke with customers Janice and Terry Brook at Fenmore.


What you’re eating Spicy grilled mojito shrimp skewers, served over farro salad, are neither spicy nor skewered. But Fenmore also offers truffle Parmesan fries, lobster sliders, a pastrami Reuben, and other upscale pub fare.

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Care for a drink? Behind the bar, a Cruvinet system keeps wine fresh for weeks after the bottles are opened. You’ll find the likes of Beringer white zinfandel and Columbia Crest merlot; a less ho-hum selection might move product faster. Perhaps best to opt for the day’s special — $3 Coors on tap.

Overheard The sweetheart bartenders explaining the Cruvinet system to inquiring guests. A mellow soundtrack: the Beatles, Bob Marley, Rufus Wainwright, the Marshall Tucker Band. Plenty of co-worker talk, much of it about office computing: “I just make it a share file. This girl, I’m so glad she’s gone, she didn’t know how to use Excel.”

Tipsy hyperbole: “Oh my god, they love me!” “They made me go and it was the worst experience of my life!” People talking about Vegas and the Boston Calling music festival.

A guy who sounds unintentionally like a movie voice-over: “Picture a world . . .,” he intones.

645 Beacon St., Boston.617-391-1800.

Devra First can be reached at devra.first@
. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.