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Apr 4, 2009 06:33 AM

2 Nights in Boston

Never been to Boston. Staying at the TAJ in May for a weekend. Looking for 2 GREAT restaurants. $$ not an issue. looking for Seafood (of course) and a great Steakhouse but not a chain. I've been reading other threads and it sounds like Neptune Oyster is a must.

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  1. Neptune Oyster is indeed a favorite seafood place. You could go at lunch, sit at the counter and order the lobster roll which I prefer in the warm version. Wonderful.

    If you insist on steak, Grill 23 is the local champion and is near your hotel. Not a chain but similar in many respects. Reservations needed.

    There are other places in Boston that are really unique but don't quite fit your requests. If $$$ are no object, I would suggest Locke-Ober, an amazing historic place where the food is very good, not great. Try the JFK lobster stew for an apetizer. Lots of seafood on the menu. Make sure you sit in the main room on the first floor.

    BTW, the food at your hotel isn't shabby.

    3 Replies
    1. re: BBHound

      Also close to the Taj, just the other side of the common, are both KO Prime and Moo, non-traditional steakhouses. The first is a Ken Orringer restaurant that I believe still has Jamie Bissonnette at the helm, and Moo has Jamie Mammano (Teatro, Mistral, Sorellina) via David Hutton. Both easy to find online and check out.

      1. re: justbeingpolite

        Jamie is at Toro now, and KO Prime feels more like an afterthought.

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          Incidentally, I hit Mooo for the $35 3-course dinner a couple of Sunday's ago - really great deal. I ended up going off the main menu, but my DC went w/ the prix fixe - salad to start, full-sized steak for the main, full-sized side and dessert. As far as we could tell, it was a choice of items straight off the main menu. If you're a Sunday/Monday night diner, it's worth a look. Free valet too, if you're driving.

      2. Davio's, down the street from you hotel is an Italian restaurant noted for it's steaks. It's a haunt for sports figures and other high profile celebrities. Aside from that and the fact that there are several locations, it' not a chain in the true sense of the word, and is worth a trip to. Neptune is really great for very fresh sea food and it's lobster roll. It's small and usually crowded, but worth the effort. Oceanaire is more elegant and offers a more formal approach to fresh fish. Grill 23 and Locke Ober's are both very solid recommendations and both places will give you a better impression of Boston dining.

        1. Neptune is excellent but you might want to try Legal Sea Foods or its newest concept, Legal Test Kitchen in the Seaport. For steaks, Grill 23., Davio's, Moo or KO Prime.

          3 Replies
          1. re: fsesusan

            Legal Sea Foods gets varying love on this board, but I've yet to see any thoughts around here that it's better than Neptune Oyster. I prefer the latter, and recommend it most highly.

            Have yet to see any positive feedback on Legal Test Kitchen here. Haven't been, myself.

            1. re: bachslunch

              having given up on anything edible at legal's besides oysters and bluefish pate, i've still had some of very worst service nightmares at various locations. the service at ltk was horrible. last time at park square the oysters were thoroughly waterlogged and shucked into shreds and now the pate is no longer on all their menus.

              absolutely no point in ever going. never.

              if i could, i'd eat at neptune once a week.

            2. re: fsesusan

              Ugh to both Legal and Test Kitchen - bland food other than the chowder. I just don't get the popularity.

              Best for seafood - B&G Oyster. It has a wide range of seafood and is very small/intimate with the kitchen taking up the center of the room. It's also located in the South End, walking distance from your hotel and the area is a fun place to spend and evening.

            3. you MUST go to Finale for desserts. If we lived in Boston, we'd be fat and broke thanks to them. Delicious, beautiful works of art when we were there a few years ago. We went to the one in Back Bay.

              5 Replies
              1. re: mcf

                My experience with the desserts at Finale is that they look notably better than they taste. Finale gets little love on this board, from what I've seen.

                1. re: bachslunch

                  Agreed. I think Finale is all style and no substance.

                  1. re: pollystyrene

                    I third that. I went last night and was very disappointed in their chocolate malt cake. They have great cookies though... anything more elaborate is usually meh.

                    1. re: Snoop37

                      Wow, I was there a couple of years ago on successive nights and everything we had was amazing. We're pretty discriminating and don't even usually eat desserts, but we made an exception for them. Can't comment about more recently, though.

                  2. re: bachslunch

                    Wow, I disagree, they are very beautiful, and the flavors are very well thought out. Manjari mousse, with cabernet sorbet and apricot puree, for instance. Incredible.

                2. I think Abe and Louie's should also be in the running for a steakhouse. I haven't had a bad meal there yet.

                  Kristina Y.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kristinayee

                    I also agree with this statement. I think Abe and Louie's might be the best steakhouse in town right now. Grill 23 has definitely slipped in my book. I went here a couple weeks ago and ordered the NY strip... wasn't anything to write home about. I hate when my steak is even slightly burned so I order medium/rare... it was still kind of burnt and chewy.

                    The seafood entrees are noticeably better seeing that the scallops were pretty good. For appetizers, Steak Tartar was solid, not extraordinary and the sides were okay... we ordered the potato puffs (tater tots).

                    Go for Abe and Louis's for sure.

                    1. re: Snoop37

                      Just curious, have you been to either Mooo or Oak Room recently? I haven't been to either and am curious how they might compare to Abe and Louie's.

                      1. re: bakerboyz

                        Never been to Mooo... but that place gets a lot of mixed reviews overall on this board and others. As for Oak Room, I had a pretty good lobster roll there once, but again I think it's a case where I enjoyed that more than the actual steak. I got a NY Strip here as well and it started off being moist and tender, but it grew chewy very fast. It was a race with time and I generally don't like scarfing down food in the space of 5 minutes. The room is just so beautiful I get distracted.