First impressions can really come into play when it comes to restaurants. Take Barefoot Bob's Beach Grill in Hull, for instance. If you give the place a cursory glance while driving past it, you may think it is a rowdy, sketchy beach bar that probably has subpar food. Now while this indoor/outdoor restaurant and watering hole can indeed be rather boisterous at times (especially around the outdoor tiki bar), it's not really a place where people might feel uncomfortable, as it actually attracts a diverse mix of beachgoers, retirees, suburban families, boaters, and bikers. And the food? Well, Barefoot Bob's may not be fine dining, but the traditional American dishes and seafood are quite a bit better than you might expect.
While it looks like a tiny place from the outside, Barefoot Bob's is actually a sprawling, spacious spot, with a good-sized outdoor dining area and bar on the side facing Nantasket Beach, and a similarly large dining area with another bar in the back (or front, depending on whether you are along Hull Shore Drive facing the beach or along Nantasket Avenue on the bay side). The aforementioned tiki bar in the outdoor area is a great spot for people-watching, and the entire outdoor section almost feels like a neighborhood block party on someone's driveway.
Barefoot Bob's actually has some pretty inventive dishes on its menu, such as (depending on the season and the specials) mushrooms that come with a sublime crabmeat stuffing and a sweet-tasting lobster cream sauce; Santa Fe egg rolls that are stuffed with deliciously spiced chicken, hearty black beans, spicy jack cheese, and veggies; a Napa salad that includes field greens, roasted turkey, pecans, sun-dried cranberries, and bleu cheese crumbles; and a Mediterranean chicken plate that comes with portabella mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese in a delicate garlic wine sauce. The menu also includes pub grub such as a rich and zesty chili, lean and tender steak tips with an outstanding homemade marinade, tender calamari served the traditional Southern New England way (with banana peppers), thin-crust pizza with quite an array of available toppings, a juicy burger with all the fixings, and a grilled turkey panini with applewood bacon and gooey cheddar cheese, and buffalo tenders marinated in a zingy sauce. And, of course, being a beachside restaurant in a town surrounded by the ocean, Barefoot Bob's has a number of seafood options, including broiled oysters topped with spinach, cheese, garlic, and bacon; grilled blackened mahi tacos that are rather salty, but packed with flavor; a shellfish alfredo that comes with lobster meat, scallops, and shrimp; a terrific baked stuffed shrimp in a wine and butter sauce; a mild-tasting broiled haddock enhanced by jack and cheddar cheeses and applewood bacon on top (and a basic but tasty baked haddock for those who don't like to mix cheese and fish); a lobster casserole with seafood stuffing; a heaping helping of fish and chips; a marvelous baked scallop plate with tender scallops covered in a batter that isn't overly greasy; and a clam roll with fried whole bellied clams. Drinks include the usual beer and wine options, along with some very strong drinks including rum punch and a goombay smash.
While Barefoot Bob's may not be for everyone, it is a great place to go if you like outdoor spots with a classic beach vibe in addition to above average food. And the people-watching is just the icing on the cake here, as any number of characters can often be found at this seaside restaurant and bar. So try to ignore first impressions when it comes to this place and check it out the next time you happen to be in the Nantasket Beach area of Hull.
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