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Aug 17, 2006 06:53 PM

Pearl Oyster Bar replacement in Boston? Is it possible?

To date, the lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar in Manhattan might be the single most satisfying thing I've ever eaten. I've taken many people here to experience the Rebecca Charles touch (, including my Mom. Knowing that Mom was due for a visit I told her that we'd definitely be going back to POB. BUT as it turns out Mom has chosen to visit Boston (my sister's town) instead; forcing me not only to trek up to your city but also to find a decent replacement for the Pearl experience. Can it be done? I've heard whispers of places like B&G and Neptune but know nothing about where to replicate or unlikely trump the POB lobster roll and charm. Any help?

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  1. I haven't been to Pearl (though I've always wanted to go) but I think the lobster roll at B & G is certainly the best I've ever eaten. I think the atmosphere and menu at B & G will probably be closest to Pearl Oyster Bar, moreso than Neptune. But as you'll see from the replies to your post, both spots have their admirers and detractors....

    1. I love the Pearl, but I think B&G is better. Not just the lobster roll, but everything. I think of B&G as the Pearl taken to the next level.

      2 Replies
      1. Chef Charles has said that the POB is a recreation of places she used to go to in Maine.

        That famous lobster roll, for instance, is served in a Pepperidge farms hot dog bun.

        In other words, nothing fancy, just well-done, traditional Maine clam shack favs.

        So I wonder if recommending "more upscale" places like B&G or Neptune is the approriate response. There ain't no Pepperidge farms rolls in those places, that's for sure.:)

        8 Replies
        1. re: Bostonbob3

          But Pearl is hardly downscale. It's not as upscale as B&G, but it's not a shack, either. I think Pearl and B&G are more similar than dissimilar.

          1. re: Blumie

            Oh, POB is VERY far from a shack. I was just refering to the relative simplicity of the food preparation. It's actually one of the things that make it great; the best ingredients, simply (and perfectly) prepared. I was just wondering out loud whether the whole "lobster on brioche" mode of B&G follows that ethic.

            1. re: Bostonbob3

              I think it does. B&G's lobster roll is a class lobster roll, and most of their fish preparations are pretty straightforward, just like Pearl.

              There's no question that B&G is more upscale, but as I said I find that the similarities outweigh the dissimilarities.

          2. re: Bostonbob3

            the B&G Lobster Roll is on that very same Pepperidge farm hot dog roll that they use at Pearl!

            1. re: jpeso

              That's what I've learned since my original post.:)

              It's not so much the exact roll used, it's the culinary aesthetic of B&G versus that of POB that I'm talking about. Evidentally, a lot of people seem to think they're quite similar in their theories.

              I'm willing to be convinced. Someone treat me to consecutive nights at POB and B&G.

              1. re: Bostonbob3

                I split my weeks between Boston and NYC. I'm not sure I'll have a chance to do consecutive nights before Labor Day, but I will as soon as I can and report back.

                1. re: Blumie

                  Excellent. BTW, have you eaten at Neptune? If so, perhaps a three-way (no dirty thoughts, people) comparison is in order.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    I have not eaten at Neptune, but a three way sounds good to me! I also have never eaten at Mary's Fish Camp (once I got addicted to Pearl, I saw no reason). Maybe I need to throw that in too!

            2. Yeah, and as I recall, B & G may not have served its lobster roll in a real "pepperidge farm roll" but it was certainly a traditional hot dog bun -- if not a pepperidge farm something very similar.

              B & G is the closest thing we've got to a Maine lobster roll seaside shack. (try sayin that 10x fast!)

              1. I'd thought that the point of POB was that it was authentic "Maine clam shack/downeast" seafood (something that we have a lot of around here) for people in NYC. The place in Boston that reminds me most of POB is Neptune, haven't had their lobster roll(s) though.