Seafood - East Coast Grill or Neptune?
I'm staying in Cambridge this weekend. Would like to have a great Boston seafood dinner Sunday evening. Which is better? If you have other suggestions, please let me know. Nice atmosphere is also very important.
Well, If you're considering the North End for Neptune Oyster, I'd actually recommend Mare instead.
But if you have your heart set on either Neptune or East Coast Grill, it sort of depends on how you like your seafood prepared. Grilled is the specialty at East Coast Grill, while Neptune features more of a raw bar/Italian seafood scene.
I've never been to Neptune, but I lived down the street from East Coast Grill and never understood the appeal. Tried to like it five or six times and just never was wowed by the experience (except for the pumpkin soup in the winter).
I do realize I'm in the minority on this but if it were me, I'd choose Neptune just out of my experience at ECG.
I have to second this opinion. I also live down the street from ECG and have been there three times. The food is fine, I can't complain about it, it just hasn't impressed me, and given the price I would expect it to impress. I'm not afraid to slap down a large sum of money for a good meal (much more than one would spend at ECG), but I think the food is completely overpriced for the quality. There's just nothing particularly exciting about it. If the cost were 30 or 40% less I'd like it. In fact in my mind, the only thing memorable about ECG is the bill.
I don't know about Neptune but would also rather explore a new restaurant than (ever) go back to ECG.
The atmosphere at ECG is a bit hectic, or lively, depending on your attitude. I had a good meal there, but also our party was squashed into a booth with six persons, which is fine with good friends but probably not the place if you're meeting the girlfriend's parents.
IMHO, you'll enjoy either, but I'm not sure if they'd be considered a "great boston seafood dinner"... don't get me wrong they're great in their own right, but both are a bit quirky and not really traditional seafood eateries. depending on what kind of experience you're looking for, the folks on this board might be able to direct to other (more traditional) options as well.
nb: depending on the weather and your desired dinner time on Sunday, you might run into quite a wait at both of the restaurants you mentioned.
Can't speak to Neptune, but this is very true about ECG. But it can be a real asset, just maybe get a handle on whether you feel like exclusively eating seafood.
Personal favorites from the menu: the oysters (both fried and raw and the half shell), the French Connection (half dozen shucked oysters and a mildly spicy, deelish sausage), the #1 Tuna appetizer (kind of a cross between a tartar and a poke, nicely spiced), the fried plantains.
To drink, try the specialty martini made with habanero infused vodka (or ask for half spiced vodka / half plain if you want more of a medium heat quotient).