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Hemi semi demi mercy at Neptune

StriperGuy Sep 25, 2007 08:03 AM

Well 9 of us hit Neptune Oyster last night and hit it hard.

Theoretically we were not doing full blown mercy, but by the end I was ready to knuckle under and call it quits. Really remarkable meal with delightful company. And a big thanks to the organizer.

Les repas:

Dinner started with a huge double-tiered tray of fruits de mer: Oysters, clams, shrimp lobster chunks, crab salad all perfectly fresh.

Tuna tar tar with raw tuna roulade: both of these were really superb, though I think the hounds were split down the middle as to which folks liked best. There was some crunchy fried garlic and micro arugala in the roulade that helped make it the winner for me. The tar tar was on a delicate bed of avocado

Yellowfin crudo: this just lightly seared tuna was on small pieces of iceberg lettuce and little watermelon nibbles. Mild and delicate.

smoke mussel rissoto with some sharp italian cheese and wild mushrooms: one of the winner s of the night. All I can say is WOW. I'd eat this any time, any day.

Crab cake: This was perhaps the one weak note. 100% crab crab cake, and obviously house made. They were a tad dry. Consensus was a nice remoulade to moisten this dish up would have hit the spot.

Sturgeon with current caviar and pomegranite reduction. Nice treatment for this tasty fish. But not earthshattering. Though I am always a believer that it is hard to beat cold smoked sturgeon. Sturgeon just doesn't get any better then old fashioned cold smoked.

Lobster Spaghetini: double wow. dish of the night. So tasty. Another "I'd eat this every day" item. Plenty of lobster. Rich lobster broth reduction obviously part of the tomato accented sauce. Wow.

Les vins:

Brissol Prosecco: classic delicate prosecco, perfect with the shell fish.

Bisson Cinqueterre: I just darn forgot this one

Spineta Sauvignon blanc Piedmont: interesting Italian Sauvignon. Not what you would expect, with a touch of wood. A nice choice.

Savieneres Jolly: This was a mouthful with rich oily, buttery mouthfeel and delicious complex flavor. Would have gone great with the lobster but we drank it too fast ;-)

One Plus One Cabernet Rose: This was actually an excellent choice and we did drink it with the lobster. A gusty rose. Big enough to stand up to the lobster and the tomato-lobster sauce on the pasta.

All in all an excellent meal.

They were going to bring out a rib-eye but we had had enough. I personally did not need another morsel of this excellent meal.

Hope some other hounds chime in and help round this out.

  1. t
    Taralli Sep 25, 2007 08:23 AM

    Sounds fabulous. Cost pp?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Taralli
      heathermb Sep 25, 2007 08:40 AM

      The cost of Mercy depends on the day you do it (I *think* it may be more expensive on a weekend) and the budget you work out with the restaurant - they are very accommodating to menu requests/tastes/dislikes, etc...so it's not a set price.

      1. re: Taralli
        Rubee Sep 25, 2007 10:27 AM

        As mentioned in some previous threads, it's around $75 pp, but varies as HeatherMB says - more info below:

        Neptune Oyster: Inquire About Mercy!

      2. gini Sep 25, 2007 09:40 AM

        I can't believe I was actually able to get out of bed this morning. That was a doozy.

        Great run-down, StriperGuy. Heathermb, thanks for organizing - you really planned a meal for the storybooks. There may be pictures somewhere...not sure what's forthcoming.

        The first three dishes were home runs in my book - but then again, give this girl raw fish any day and she'll be a happy puppy. The cherrystones, littlenecks and oysters were all from Wellfleet, with the littlenecks being my favorites - little juicy, briny clams just popping with flavor. I was in the camp of the tuna roll (vs tartare), with its spicy crunch of fried garlic and peppery micro-rocket, but the tartare was wonderfully buttery yet firm. The rolls are not available on-menu. The yellowfin tuna crudo was just wonderful (and a special on that night). Excellent way to start the night - I keep coming back to Neptune for dishes just like those.

        At this point Vinny, our totally fabulous server, brought out a basket of bread and warned us not to tuck in - and the man was right - there was much more to come.

        The smoked mussel combined with the firm lobster mushrooms completely hit me by surprise - I thought the risotto was perfectly cooked, but that mussel took it over the top.

        Crabcake was weak, as SG said, but the cherry tomato-gorgonzola salad underneath was great!

        Sturgeon can be too oily in some cooked preparations for me, but regardless of the fish, the cassis-caviar-pomegranate sauce that came with this fish was unbelievable. I almost gave into the bread, but instead spooned it over the graham cracker, celery leaf, plum play on a classic panzanella.

        I was ready to call it quits at this time, so I didn't have a big enough taste of the lobster spaghettini to comment - can only say the platters were huge, but the intrepid 'hounds managed to polish them off.

        Other items the chef had been considering included ribeyes and scallops - wow - can't even imagine what would have happened.

        Wines were well-chosen and presented by Vinny, who did a wonderful job not only serving, but explaining the wines and herding our crowd. Big ups to the kitchen for turning out a fantastic meal.

        Mercy indeed!

        1. yumyum Sep 25, 2007 09:58 AM

          Mercy me. The meal was delightful and I can't believe they were prepared to send out more food .... I was begging for relief after the risotto.

          I was in the tuna tartare camp, although the roulade was lovely. The tartare was silky smooth although not too finely diced ... the avocado upped the ante on "mouthfeel" and the whole thing just held together really well.

          The yellowtail crudo was served on lightly grilled lettuce, which added a perfect smokey hint and went so well with the watermelon. I think raw bar and crudo is the way to go at Neptune ... it's just always outstanding.

          Hats off to Vinnie, who worked with us on wines and never seemed annoyed with our boisterous group. We had the foresight to grease the wheels a bit and offer him some wine and nibbles from the platters of food (god knows we had enough) and it felt like he was part of the party. He really couldn't have been nicer or more unflappable.

          My ONLY quibble was that it's hella loud in that back corner table ... I think it's the subway tiles that amplify every sound. At times it was really hard to hear the person next to you, and certainly the people at the other end of the table were beyond reach. Not a huge deal but I felt like my ears were ringing when we left. Four hours later. Ooof.

          Thanks heathermb for organizing this ... all your hard work paid off!

          11 Replies
          1. re: yumyum
            tulseluper Sep 25, 2007 10:15 AM

            This sounds amazing! So, what was the cost per person for this meal?

            1. re: tulseluper
              tulseluper Sep 25, 2007 10:18 AM

              to clarify... i read the bit about how the price changes, but i'm curious as what THIS particular one cost.

              1. re: tulseluper
                gini Sep 25, 2007 10:19 AM

                See hethermb's post right in this very thread:

                "The cost of Mercy depends on the day you do it (I *think* it may be more expensive on a weekend) and the budget you work out with the restaurant - they are very accommodating to menu requests/tastes/dislikes, etc...so it's not a set price."

                1. re: gini
                  Joanie Sep 25, 2007 01:08 PM

                  But they're asking how much THIS one was for you guys. It will give a general idea if someone wants to do it themselves in the future.

                  1. re: Joanie
                    gini Sep 25, 2007 01:16 PM

                    For a general idea, as has been stated in other threads and this one, price is up to negotiation. See BostonBarGuy's thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/388153 for other pricing hints.

                    We negotiated our own price based on the posted price of $75/person for those of you not catching on yet.

                    If someone really wants to do this in the future, they should "Inquire about Mercy" per instructions on the bottom of the menu.

                    1. re: gini
                      heathermb Sep 25, 2007 01:23 PM

                      And note that the restaurant needs about 2 weeks notice so definitely book ahead.

                      1. re: gini
                        StriperGuy Sep 25, 2007 01:45 PM

                        Hey Gini, and keep in mind the $75pp did not include the wine which was about another $75pp


                        1. re: StriperGuy
                          yumyum Sep 25, 2007 02:09 PM

                          If I recall correctly, the food cost was a little less, the wine a little more.

                          Not inexpensive, but a TON of great quality food and wine.

                        2. re: gini
                          Joanie Sep 26, 2007 04:14 AM

                          Yeah, stupid me caught on now. Sheesh, that's all they/we were asking, what you negotiated for this specific dinner.

                          1. re: Joanie
                            Infomaniac Sep 26, 2007 05:20 AM

                            I followed the discussion too and I understood everything except what they negotiated for that specific dinner.
                            I guess if the base price for food is $75.00 p/head, and you paid $75.00 p/head, your only negotiating what will be served? I'm guessing though.
                            The only thing I'm left wondering with is how the chef would have prepared the rib-eye.

                            1. re: Infomaniac
                              heathermb Sep 26, 2007 05:42 AM

                              $75 is certainly not the limit - I'm sure if a group wanted to pay $150pp the restaurant/chef would accommodate that with an appropriate menu!

                2. Rubee Sep 25, 2007 12:54 PM

                  Finally got the pictures uploaded!

                  Nice run-down already guys, so not much to add. What a great start with the seafood tower - Wellfleet oysters, littlenecks, cherry stones, mussels, shrimp, lobster salad and a delicious crab salad. The second course with the tuna tartare on top of avocado, and roulade was a winner. Loved both. The roulade isn't on the menu but I thought it was wonderful - loved the combination of tuna wrapped around micro-arugula, and the crunch of fried sliced garlic, along with a bit of heat. I'm not sure if the tuna tartare is on the menu as such, but it is part of the vitello tonnato sandwich (tuna tartare, roasted veal, cucumber salad). The crudo was excellent - yellowfin on top of wedges of charred lettuce, with cubes of watermelon and a pomegranate glaze. Other highlights were the fantastic risotto with smoked mussels and lobster mushrooms, and I loved the sturgeon with the caviar-cassis sauce and graham cracker/plum/celery leaf/cucumber panzanella.

                  Service was absolutely perfect with Vinnie's patience, humor, and helpful information (and great wine choices!). What a fun night and what a feast - thanks Heather for organizing. It was loud and tough to hear everyone at the table, but I pity more those people who were sitting around us!

                  Seafood tower, tuna tartare and tuna roulade:

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Rubee
                    Rubee Sep 25, 2007 12:56 PM

                    Yellowfin crudo, grilled bread, and risotto with mussels and lobster mushrooms:

                    Neptune Oyster
                    63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                    1. re: Rubee
                      gini Sep 25, 2007 12:58 PM

                      Ok, I'm hungry again!

                    2. re: Rubee
                      Rubee Sep 25, 2007 12:59 PM

                      Last of the pics ( though somehow I missed the delicious lobster spaghettini platters).

                      1. re: Rubee
                        yumyum Sep 25, 2007 01:25 PM

                        This last one is the rockstar Vinnie.

                        Great pictures ... thanks for posting.

                    3. steinpilz Sep 25, 2007 02:26 PM

                      Great group write up and pics of this chow-safari, great effort by Neptune too.

                      1. tatamagouche Sep 25, 2007 03:15 PM

                        How I wish I could have been there...risotto sounds yum. *sniff*

                        1. lissy Sep 25, 2007 05:15 PM

                          9 hounds+7 courses+4 hours=MERCY!
                          Boy was it a fantastically fun evening! I too loved the raw stuff best and that tuna tartare was heavenly and now I'll certainly go back for that vitello tonnato. The yellowfin on the grilled iceberg was quite delicous and a preparation that I haven't seen before so kudos to Neptune for their creativity. My least favorite was the crabcake. I too thought it was dry and compared to everthing else we had, I ate only a few bites of that to save room for everything else. The lobster spag is certainly worth a Monday visit and I'll definitely be back for that though my one teeny tiny gripe about that is that I prefer my pasta just a wee bit more al dente. Vinny was an awesome server and he really joined in in our fun! Great work Striperguy for not only remembering all that we ate but the wines too (which felt like they were endless glasses and didn't help my early morning flight to Philly this morning). Thanks to Heather for organizing and as always, to such a fun group to spend an evening with!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lissy
                            StriperGuy Sep 25, 2007 05:24 PM

                            lissy, you win the prize for getting on a "way too early" in the morning flight this a.m. after quite an eve...

                            Fun definitely had by all.

                            1. re: StriperGuy
                              lissy Sep 25, 2007 05:35 PM

                              That seems to be my trend, I had an early flight after Best Little Restaurant too though at least that was for pleasure and not for work!

                              1. re: lissy
                                chowfamily Sep 27, 2007 12:11 PM

                                I was also back at "Best Little' after ages this week.

                                DC had his old favorite Singapore style noodles. As good as before, although next time he will request them toasted, as in the past.

                                I had a medly of seafood on toasted noodles. I don't recall the name but it was much better than decent, and I will return.

                                I think local restaurants face a challenge, those of us who seek edge (here for the most part) and others who seek comfort zone.

                          2. c
                            chowfamily Sep 25, 2007 06:23 PM

                            What a great thread!

                            Great pictures and input on individual dishes. Who would have anticipated less than excellent crab cakes. I am already anticipating the lobster pasta with glasses of the recommended wines.

                            I look forward to blowing the budget on the raw shellfish. I have always been a Welfleet oyster lover, and am encouraged to give the littlenecks their due.

                            Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: chowfamily
                              StriperGuy Sep 25, 2007 06:28 PM

                              Even better to buy the Wellfleets (and littlenecks) straight off the flats at low-tide on Indian neck in Wellfleet, but that's really another thread...

                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                bear Sep 25, 2007 06:37 PM

                                mmm...what could be better...

                                1. re: bear
                                  chowfamily Sep 27, 2007 11:57 AM

                                  Excellent suggestion. I haven't had them that way in years...

                              2. re: chowfamily
                                heathermb Sep 25, 2007 07:10 PM

                                I'm going to be the voice of dissent on the crabcakes - I really liked them. They were nearly 100% crab - I couldn't see or taste any filler. Well-seasoned, cooked nicely with a nice outer crust. Really delicious. Sure, a little remoulade would have been nice, but not necessary in my book.

                                The winner of the night for me was far and away the risotto - those smoked oysters were, as I said last night, "off the hook!"

                                Lobster spag was a very close second.

                              3. 9
                                9lives Sep 26, 2007 04:44 AM

                                This sounds awesome. Glad you all enjoyed it. Great pics too.

                                1. beetlebug Sep 27, 2007 01:22 PM

                                  Excellent write up SG. I loved the tower of oysters, mussels, clams and lobster. I thought the two types of raw clams were outstanding - briny, juicy and cold. The Wellfleet mussels were also very good, however, they weren't as juicy as I would have liked. I think some of the juice must have spilled out of the shells.

                                  As for the tuna, sigh. I just can't pick a favorite between the two. It's like being asked, which child you love better. you love them both equally, just in different ways. The freshness and exploding flavors of both dishes were truly outstanding.

                                  The smoked mussel risotto was also unbelievably good. It's probably one of the best risottos I've ever eaten. The rice grains were all perfectly cooked and the mushroom and cheese gave the rice a lovely flavor. What sent this dish over the edge were the smoked mussels.

                                  The crudo was also delicious. My piece was more cooked than I would have liked, but the flavor was still lovely. I didn't partake in the crabcake but I was amazed at the sweet sharp flavors of the grape tomatoes with blue cheese. These tasted like freshly picked tomatoes and it was a true last burst of summer. I also loved the spaghettini but I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted. I was full and happy by that point and was only eating because the food was right in front of me.

                                  Between the food, service and company, it was a great evening.

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