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Nov 4, 2006 11:55 PM

Disappointing....B & G Oysters

Since B & G seemed to get such great reviews on this board, we ate there on one of our 2 nights in Boston, visiting from NY. The fried oyster app was ok, a bit on the salty side. But the lobster roll was ice cold as if it was just taken from the fridge, and as a result lacked the expected sweet lobster flavor - and the fries were soggy. It was especially disappointing being in New England and expecting a great seafood dinner. Someone on the board said it was similar to NYC's Pearl, but I have to say it's no contest - Pearl's lobster roll is a couple of bucks cheaper and in a different league - sweet tasty lobster, perfect dressing and the fries rule.

We were also blown away by the incredible high cost of your good restaurants.

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  1. Sorry to say that B&G is really not that special. I have never figured out why it gets so much hype on this board. Sorry you didn't have a great time!!!

    1. I did Pearl's and B&G's on back-to-back nights to compare the lobster rolls, and there was no comparison: B&G won hands down. There's a thread somewhere on this board about the comparison.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Blumie

        I wasn't impressed with either. Was so looking forward to Pearls as I have often visited Kennebunkport and received their cookbook as a present....

        Pearls - simply unimpressed

        I work in Boston and tried B&G a few times...overpriced and a short pour on expensive wine by the glass.

        And then I arrived at Neptune in the NorthEnd. This was exactly what I had hoped from the other two. Excellent Lobster rolls and perfect fried clams and crisp tasty fries.......

        1. re: Blumie

          So I went to Neptune tonight for the first time ever, so I could include it in my lobster roll comparison. We arrived between 8:30 and 9, and gave our name and cell number to one of the waitresses. When I asked how long the wait was, she shrugged and said, "I don't know. Maybe an hour and forty-five minutes." So we left unsure we would return, and within 10 minutes (certainly no more) they called us with a table. Unfortunately they had sold out of the lobster roll much earlier in the day, so although we had a lovely meal, the lobster roll review will have to wait.

          1. re: Blumie

            Sorry to hear about that. I love Neptune, but them running out of lobster rolls is absolutely ridiculous. It is one of their staples and I'd argue their main draw.

            1. re: Gabatta

              Our waitress told us that it's not unusual for them to run out on weekend nights. (I also think they were unusually busy yeterday due to the unseasonably warm weather.)

              1. re: Blumie

                Sounds like a good reason to avoid Neptune on weekend nights going forward.

                1. re: Gabatta

                  Well that plus the out-of-control crowds. Anyone know what it's like during the week?

                  1. re: Blumie

                    During the week it is not bad at all. You can usually get a seat in 30 min or less. We have been there about a dozen times (all during the week), and they have never run out of lobster.

                    During the summer, 30 min is fine to stroll around a bit. In the winter, you can go to Bacco a few doors down for a drink if you have to wait.

                    1. re: Gabatta

                      What's more, it's open all day, every day. My sweetie and I often linger from the late afternoon until well into the evening over oysters, then kitchen dishes, then more oysters, etc...

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        And in fact I went for lunch today. My report, which I am sure will generate much further discussion, can be found here:

            2. re: Blumie

              Man, the restaurants in the North End need to get their acts together. Not all of them, of course, but at a lot of them, all too often it's amateur hour in the front of the house. There's no excuse for a host/ess telling someone that there's a 105-minute wait when it is really 10 minutes. Of course, what often happens is the opposite. What happened to professionalism in the dining room?

              1. re: seefood

                When we first got there, the two waitresses -- who, together with two bartenders comprise the entire front of house -- seemed competely overwhelmed. When we were called back and seated 10 minutes later, the place was no less crowded, but I noted how good and how cheery the waitresses appeared to be (I even commented to our waitress how good of a mood she seemed to be in for someone who had been in the weeds from the moment she arrived at 4:00 that afternoon).

                Sure it would be great if they could have been even a little more accurate, but being told 105 minutes and being seated in 10 is infinitely more preferable than the reverse. And once seated, the service was top notch.

          2. Next time you're here check out the real deal at Neptune, B&G is good and popular for many reasons but I prefer Neptune - it actually reminds me of Pearl, a better Pearl. ;)

            1 Reply
            1. re: steinpilz

              I'm with you. B&G is good, but the menu is pricier than Neptune's without half its inventiveness, and it's neither as comfy or neighborly as Neptune (to be fair, the latter's in my actual neighborhood, the former's not, so I may be defining "neighborly" a bit too literally).

            2. I had a lovely meal at B&G Oysters the other night: shared a couple dozen oysters from Martha's Vineyard, New Brunswick, Long Island Sound, and somewhere on the Pacific Coast. Sorry not to be a local booster, but the West Coast ones were my favorites, tasting the briniest. Good mignonette alongside; I was pleased that the red glop and horseradish weren't automatically offered. We then proceeded to a spicy seafood stew with cod cheeks, shrimp, and squid.

              An interesting Muscadet to start (the middle of three levels of dryness from the same vintner), then an unusual red from Leon in northwestern Spain, made entirely from the Mencia grape, a new one to me, and a very nice complement to the stew. Terrific service, allowing us leisurely pacing, helpful and knowledgeable on the food and wine. Not cheap (oysters $2.50 a pop), but a very pleasant evening. I like Neptune a lot, too, though the two feel like night and day, atmosphere-wise, and Neptune is a lot more interesting if you're looking beyond seafood.

              Compared to Manhattan, Boston dining is pricey, of course, especially in our middle tier, and we have nothing to compare to the New York's top tier. The scale economics are an obvious reason: 8 million people vs. 600,000. There's no way we can duplicate that level of demand and competition. New Yorkers are the luckiest diners in North America. That comes with its own price, of course (sorry about that World Series drought), but we're happy to jump on the Acela and visit regularly. Try not to rub in your good fortune too hard with us provincials, okay?

              1. To Brooklyn Linda: I can understand your comments about price. I would guess that there is a tremendous amount of great food in Brooklyn, at much lower cost in comparison to Manhattan.

                B&G Oysters is part of the overly-hyped Barbara Lynch empire in Boston. The Butcher Shop is another Lynch spot that is way overpriced (search the board for rants about the $17 hot dog).

                That said, next time you come up to Boston, try checking out the chow-ish places in the surroundings towns/cities, particularly in Cambridge and Somerville. I think you'll find food to be excellent, and more reasonably priced.