One night, One meal.. Where to?
I'm going to Boston this weekend
and will have only Saturday night to have a proper meal..
I would love quality fresh seafood prepared in American/Local style..
And unfortunately, I will have to limit the area to central Boston..
if there is a truely remarkable place outside of the centre, please mention it too though!
Cost is not a factor,
although I don't want a rush of hyped upmarket restos..
as I know that these are not necessarily the best,
most authentic or most comfortable.
MANY MANY thanks in advance fellowfoodies!
For what it's worth... my brother and sister-in-law were in town for four days last spring. They live in the midwest, have traveled a lot - Europe, New Zealand and Central America - not unsophisticated people, but Wisconsin isn't the best place for great fresh shellfish, which they both love. My brother was here for business and we had two nights to eat out together - took them to Neptune Oyster the first night (midweek) and was planning on Helmand (Afganistan cuisine, so an adventure) for the second.
They loved Neptune so much we went back and stood in line for an hour on a Saturday night.
It's a tiny restaurant and cramped, you will be cheek by jowl with the other customers, but the food is superb, and I've thought the service was great every time I've been there.
I haven't been to B&G yet, but most Chow people seem to think it's the same calibre.
OK, so Neptune's and B&G are musts!
If I'm lost around Cambridge which I will be exploring,
I will stop in to West Side Lounge
Blue room is surely interesting but will likely have to save it for next time!! Thanks!
I will definately skip Legal,
but *Turner and especially *Atlantic look really nice from the website menus..
Any feedback on them~?
Im curious and it seems like this is a good place to discuss it whilst they're mentioned~
And maybe, I will have time (and hopefully the stomach room!) for two nice lunches along with the nice dinner!
MANY THANKS TO ALL!
There is nothing wrong with Turners or Atlantic. Turners is in the Westin Hotel, and is good. I think eating at the bar there is better than table service. Atlantic is also nice, just not that exciting. I don't hear anything bad about it, and the few times I've eaten there (with out-of-towners looking for seafood) it's been fine. I do think it kind of has a 'corporate' feel about it - it is owned by a restaurant group that owns a number of restaurants in and around Boston (Back Bay Restaurant Group). If you choose to go there you won't get a bad meal or have a bad experience. I agree though that for a "One night one meal" experience Neptunes and B&G will give you a more unique experience.
Oleana is the best restaurant we've been to in Cambridge and one of the best in Boston. All of the prêt à manger dishes are fantastic, with deviled eggs as my favorite of the bunch. The rest of the menu changes frequently so I can only recommend pretty much everything. The vegetarian tasting menu is great fun and we have split it and a second main course between two people with good results. It's really hard to go wrong here, and we never have.
BACK FROM BOSTON!
1st off, I want to say that it is one of the most amazing and beautiful cities I've ever seen~ and I've been around the world more times than I can count~ I know that you guys have suffered greatly due to the constant construction of the past decade, but I will say it is a whole lot different of a place than I last saw in 1995!~ I will be back soon! and often!! Great vibe!
with that said...
I want to thank everyone for their input, suggestions and recommendations~
I managed 3 meals in one night!
A picnic lunch and a sit down meal the next day!
B&G was AMAZING!
Hands down the best oysters I've had, anywhere, ever!!
One of the more expensive lunch-sized meals I've had in recent memory
but for the experience it was surely surely worth it~
(and will be ever time I visit boston from now on!haha)
And the oysters were truely priceless~
The wine list was wonderful and concise,
the atmosphere was perfectly cool,
the decor was witty and simple,
the layout and open kitchen is awesome
and the help, although the more serious, chef-in-training type,
is more than courteous and extremely helpful and sweet~
Lobster roll was remarkable, though I honestly would'nt put near the top of my list.. The lobster bisque though, I would!
The tuna sashimi was good, but not my style.. I'm a fish puritan and would've appreicated a 15$ piece of tuna stomach than 5$ pieces of jazzed up back~ but none-the-less, a creative and delicious spin on a typical cut of the fish-
All in all, an EXCELLENT place! I too am now in the B&G band wagon! hahah
Next was NEPTUNE!
What a place~
Hands down the *best clam chowder*, anywhere, ever!
and thanks to B&G, Neptune gave me the second best oysters I've had anywhere, ever. hahah
The place was packed, truely packed.. but I sat at the bar, close to the kitchen, so I was happy to be served with ease and personal care but more importantly, to have a seat at the kitchen door! haha
Everything I saw and smelt was great.. and I made a promise to come back and dig in to more.. albeit next time at a below prime time~
P.S. the halibut I had was creative and fresh as can be~ Great place!
Next was Ye Olde Oyster House..
I figured it was a cultural must and a institution in itself, nevermind the kitchen..
They even had a bottle of wine for me that really took me by suprise~
I drank and cheered and conversated~ it was great
I ordered clam chowder (as everywhere I went), steamers and grilled oysters..
The chowder was ok, traditional, yet unremarkable.. perhaps "average".
The grilled oysters were just that, grilled oysters.. not too remarkable after preceeding them with B&Gs and Neptunes..
but the steamers were the least remarkable of everything I ate..
As if they bought them in the supermarket and just had joe schmoe steam them up and push the plate out.. Disappointing, even with low expectations as I had.
It also doubled as a nightlife destination for me, as I came there primarily to watch the game, amongst bostonians, in a classic old world place, with fairly low decible music, a little sampling bite and accessibility for my stumble home.. I was in no way disappointed!
I would include this place as a destination.. but not for the food alone.
Another note on my night..
I bought some bottles at "Mangierelli's" (sp?) wine beer & spirt store round the corner from Neptunes..
This place is great! Great selection (though not huge), great prices and some really tough to find beers (though I was past the point of switching alcohol-types for the night)
Next days eating started with yogurt and odwalla juice from 7-eleven at 25% below NY retail prices.. and some fruit from a street merchant.
Decided to explore markets (super, specialty, green, anything I could find)..and did'nt find any... until I came across the charles bridge on Charles st. just off of Cambridge st.. I did'nt remember or I guess notice the name, but the place was nice~ Good cuts of meat, though I did'nt buy, and a nice selection of "gourmet" foods.. I bought decent bread and olives.. and a nice peice of Morbier cheese, again at 25% of the price that one would expect to pay at a similar store in NY~ Nice place.
My next and final meal was at the Barking Crab..
I can hear the snobs sucking their teeth already,
but it was really a great meal~ Take the place for what it is! Lower your expectations and drop your preconceptions and you can easily fall in love with the place!
I know, there were many things the chef, or perhaps "cook",
could have done a bit differently, and the bread was'nt made within in the past 18 hours, but it was a really great meal!
The lobster roll.. the lobster roll.. was excellent~ blew away B&Gs!
The crabs were great, though you can't really do them much wrong,
the chowder was average.. but hey,
The oyster po'boy was good~
The swordfish was a bit small but was really perfectly cooked and seasoned~
And the greens and accompaniments were fresh and delicious!
I dare say, that if you order correctly and take it for what it is, and throw in the view to boot.. this is surely a destination resto in Boston~
It is what it is!
I finished my trip with a bottle of Calvados on the bus leaving the city.. with a pleased palate and full stomach, great memories and many ideas of my return! :)
Well, thanks to all!!! You truly impacted someones experience! And assisted them with memories that will last a lifetime~
I have a long list of places that I know I've missed and will surely catch on my future visits~ and I appreciate that~
I hope this thread will continue as I think there's a lot more to it than one persons visit~
Kind of a "best of boston" or "boston's must eats!"
As now being someone who's eaten there recently,
consider this my input!
Thanks for the tips so far everybody!
I've looked in to them all, and I think I'll have to do a proper lunch or two as well with these nice places!!
B&G looks particularly good~
and despite the percieved reluctancy to mention Legal , Turner and Atlantic,
I've looked in to them and am quite interested..
Any new places as well as feed back on those mentioned is appreciated!
I think this topic has value and potential beyond my trip!
Agreed. Go to B&G or Neptune. You won't be disappointed. I'd probably pick Neptune if I had just one night and one meal. It's located in the heart of the North End and you can walk all around that neighborhood, grab an espresso and cannoli after dinner...or an after dinner drink at one of the many cafes. Good stuff.
Don't go to Legal! Way overpriced and the food is only mediocre. In case you haven't been to Boston before, know that it's tiny; I've never needed more than 25 minutes on my bicycle to get from one side of the city to the other--including Cambridge/Somerville. I would say it's definitely worth the trip to the Blue Room or the East Coast Grill for seafood in Cambridge.
Well, if we're going to push into Cambridge, I'll put in yet another plug for the West Side Lounge just outside of Harvard Square. About 20 minutes from Downtown by public transportation and they have great fish in a nice atmosphere.
That said, the OP is probably better off at B&G or Neptune. Please skip Legal Seafood. It's great for the airport on the way home, but you can do much much better in town.
West Side Lounge
1680 Mass Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
I hate going off the stated request - but you did mention "truly remarkable" and I think this idea qualifies. I have had the most delicious fish courses lately at The Blue Room in Kendall Square - just a hop over the Longfellow Bridge - two stops on the Red Line from Park Street Station. http://www.theblueroom.net/main.html
The whole branzino is to die for - presentation is spectacular and the flavor is so layered. The branzino is wood~grilled with green olives, grapefruit, parsley and watercress salad and pomegranate syrup - so fresh and delicious.
Last week I ordered the Skate Wing - but the chef had that day sourced some striped bass - so he subbed it instead - it was roasted with horseradish breadcrumbs,
braised fennel, arugula and pickled raisins - I cannot tell you how delicious it was.
A few weeks ago I had the scallops - which were on the summer menu and included a corn puree. The prep now is very similar - pan seared with giant lima beans, endive, and
chanterelles with a tarragon buerre. I have not had this prep yet - but I am sure it is as good as the summer menu offering.
Additionally, the coffee braised shortribs, the ricotta gnocchi, the one perfect cheese offering, the antipasto plate - these are all dishes you see on other menus, but somehow here they transcend.
I think the 10-15 minute walk to Kendall Square (or 5 minute cab ride) from downtown Boston is well worth the hassle and will delight your palate and meet your requirements. IMO! Enjoy!
1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA
re: Small Plates
Nice call on Blue Room. Of course, there is East Coast Grill further on in Inman Square and Neptune Oyster in North End and B&G Oyster in South End, all of which could arguably fall into "hyped upmarket restos." although I think firmly in "fresh seafood prepared in American/Local style."
This are many complaints about the lack of excellent, reasonable, local seafood places in central Boston. The ones that live there (Legal, Turner Fisheries, Atlantic Fish Co.) are ok but I could not tell you which is superior to the other.
re: Bob Dobalina
I was going to suggest Neptune or B&G and while they may be hyped, upmarket, in my opinion they deserve the hype. In a town where people assume we'd have good options for seafood restaurants, we have relatively few but B&G and Neptune for me are my go to places. I go more often to B&G since it's in my hood and I love their oysters and lobster BLT but I've recently become a Neptune fan after a fabulous mercy dinner!