More than just a sports bar
Open seven days. Lunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner, 3 p.m. to midnight.
Accessible to the handicapped
I admit it. I was skeptical about the possibility of getting a good meal at Norwell’s new The Fours Restaurant & Sports Bar. Yet, its frequently full parking lot and pretty patio beckoned every time I passed the place. So when a friend reported that the food was good, I was in.
Knowing that Sports Illustrated named the original Fours in Boston the best sports bar in America, we did it up right by having dinner at the Norwell location before heading off to a Revolution soccer match. A week later, I went back for a solo lunch.
The restaurant, with its big bar, designed by Hingham architect Al Kearney, is a true shrine to Boston’s long sports history. It is done up with heavy wood paneling and a large brick wall bathed in colored light. The 48 televisions that adorn the space are hung in various configurations among a plethora of genuine sports memorabilia including poster-sized photos, paintings, and the framed jerseys of Boston sports greats.
Softening the masculine ambience are dozens of hanging star lamps - 3-D sculpted glass stars with lights inside. In the fairly dark space, the airy field of stars is pretty.
The place was crowded on both visits. In fact, there was a waiting list by 6:15 p.m. our first time there - and the 285-seat restaurant was half-full during my midweek lunch.
According to the manager, there has been a line every night since The Fours opened in early June. And now we know why.
Like the guests, the menu and the experience are varied. This outpost of The Fours - there’s a third in Quincy - doesn’t attract just sports enthusiasts, and the food isn’t confined to typical bar food. On both my visits, the crowd was mixed: young couples, families from grandparents to babies, guys of all ages talking about sports, girlfriends, people in suits. It’s as much a sports bar as a family restaurant.
And while much of the food is typical bar fare, there are also some good, lightweight, and healthy options. Which means there’s something for everyone.
At dinner we started with Nachos El Grande ($9 lunch, $11 dinner). The chili and guacamole that came with the mountain of cheesy red and yellow chips were good, and there was enough for a bunch of us.
The rest of the meal was a mixed bag. The Bambino ($7 lunch, $8 dinner), a hot dog, was fine, and the french fries were outstanding. The Boston baked beans in the little brown ceramic bean pot that accompanied the dog were good, but curiously only a quarter full. I suspect that was an oversight by the kitchen, repeated in the Larry Bird ($9 lunch, $11 dinner) grilled chicken sandwich, which was OK, but completely dry with no mayonnaise or sauce of any sort. (Maybe that’s how Bird likes his bird?)
The margarita pizza ($11 lunch and dinner) was good, with slices of fresh tomatoes along with traditional marinara sauce. The chicken parmigiana ($12 lunch, $16 dinner) comprised two breaded fried cutlets covered with slices of mozzarella over linguini with marinara.
The salmon fillet ($13 lunch, $17 dinner) was delicious and could be ordered broiled, baked, Cajun, pan-seared, or grilled, the way I had it. It came with some great fresh asparagus and good mascarpone mashed potatoes.
The house salad ($6 dinner, $5 lunch) was great. It was a large mesclun mix, with diced cucumbers, carrots, rings of red onion, and croutons served with real olive oil (thank you!) and vinegar.
At lunch, I had broiled scallops ($13 lunch, $19 dinner), which were sweet and cooked just right. At their side was a medley of bright fresh sautéed vegetables - peas, summer squash, zucchini, and carrots. And the baked potato was very nicely done; even its skin was tasty.
The menu is the same at the three Fours locations. Norwell’s executive chef, Olivier Rigaud (formerly the chef at Top of the Hub), has made his mark, however, by adding a few dishes - steak frites, rigatoni Bolognese, and a Frenchie burger (with Brie) - to the lineup.
The Fours is open every day from 11 a.m. until midnight - amazingly late (and great) for the South Shore. The menu remains the same throughout the day, although the prices increase at 3 p.m. Most of the time, the televisions are silent and music plays, but for big games, management turns on the sound.
Check the sports pages and choose your time to have the experience you want: sports bar or family restaurant.