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B&G (Boring & Generic) Oyster

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JP Eater Jul 12, 2009 02:50 PM

I finally tried the lauded B&G Oyster today for lunch and found myself disgusted at the price for the quality. Mind you that we did not have the oysters, which perhaps could have swayed my point of view. Before I go further, I should also say that the sub-street level patio was wonderful for an early Sunday afternoon lunch. The disappointment started with a confused wait staff. We had two different waiters approach us at different times, neither seeming to know that the other had approached us and when we tried to explain that someone had already come over to us, we were met with confused expressions; same happened when the first waiter came back. Anyway, it seems that they finally figured it out and our waiter (who needed to trim his nose hairs...sorry to be crass, but if I'm paying top dollar, I expect my waiter to be well groomed) brought us our two glasses of wine. We started the meal with the Fried Point Judith Calamari. The calamari was fried lightly and the aioli was good; I like the lightness of the frying,but the calamari rings were so large that they were a little tough and chewy. Calamari being one of my favorite fried seafoods, I have it at every restaurant I go to; this one was not worth the price and was a far cry from the best I've had. For entrees, my partner had the Maine Lobster Roll and I had the Moules Fritte (Mussels and French Fries). Lobster rolls are to my partner what fried calamari is to me. Similar to my calmari experience, my partner was not happy; while the lobster roll had plenty of lobster for the size roll it was put in (a smallish roll), it was not a "Maine" lobster roll... a "South End" lobster roll perhaps... but not Maine. As for my mussels, Gaslight down the street has a MUCH better version. The mussels were fishy tasting at best and the vermouth reduction was watery at best. Overall, a very unfortunate experience for something I have long wanted to try. I would go to Jasper's Summer Shack for better food at a lower price.

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    Carty RE: JP Eater Jul 12, 2009 07:07 PM

    Wow - JP Eater, that's quite a first post.

    I'd suspect that if your waiter was close enough for you to examine his nose hair you'd have a 'personal space' issue long before you'd have a 'waiter grooming' issue.

    But let's stick with the chow. What, specifically, was it about the lobster roll that made it more 'South End' than 'Maine'?

    1. b
      Blumie RE: JP Eater Jul 12, 2009 07:21 PM

      Summer Shack? You've got to be kidding!!!

      1. Small Plates RE: JP Eater Jul 13, 2009 07:50 AM

        I had a similar experience with the service two weeks ago - and it was jarring. FWIW, I think you get some better offerings at Summer Shack as well - B$G ain't what it used to be. It will be a long time before I spend $200 for two people sharing oysters, one app and one entree and 2 of the least expensive bottles of wine on the menu. Go to Oceanaire - far better value.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Small Plates
          hotoynoodle RE: Small Plates Jul 13, 2009 08:02 AM

          from the get-go, i always felt ripped off there. my first lunch, right after it opened, i ordered an oyster po' boy. it was 4 fried oysters on a very small dinner roll. no accompaniment. it was $18. 2 glasses of wine and that tiny sandwich, plus a tip and it cost me $50. ridiculous.

          last summer, three of us ate outside. gorgeous night and that subterranean patio is delightful. our waiter was amatuerish to begin with, dubious and rude when i said the wine was corked ( i am a sommelier by profession), there wasn't another cold bottle of what we had ordered, so we had to choose something else. by that time, we were already finished with the oysters. he was adept at disappearing, and obviously forgot to order our apps, so we had to send back the mains when they arrived and then he was outright hostile when we didn't want dessert. he slammed the check presenter on the table without saying a word (ya know, like "thank you") and stormed off.

          dinner was over $300 and the kid was a complete jerk. all 3 of us swore off the place forever.

          1. re: hotoynoodle
            b
            Blumie RE: hotoynoodle Jul 13, 2009 08:10 AM

            I can understand being put off by the prices; the place intentionally portrays itself as a casual eatery, but charges high end restaurant prices. I've always found, however, that the quality of the food and service matches the high end pricing; it's always disappointing when I read that others have not had similar experiences.

            B&G remains one of my top choices in the South End. I promise I'll admit it if I ever experience the service reported in this thead, but it hasn't happened yet, despite many visits!

            (I take that back. There was one visit, about two years ago, where it took forever for our food to be served, and we couldn't find our waitress. But we were seated at the counter near the fry chef, and when we told him what was going on, he completely took care of us.)

            1. re: Blumie
              yumyum RE: Blumie Jul 13, 2009 08:38 AM

              I agree Blumie -- it's expensive but in my experience the oysters are pristine, the cooked dishes are great and the service has been very good. I'm sad to hear reports like the one the OP posted.

        2. Bob Dobalina RE: JP Eater Jul 13, 2009 08:07 AM

          Do they still have the $18 hot dog on the menu? I want to thank the chowhounds here and past from guiding me away from having to try this place.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            MC Slim JB RE: Bob Dobalina Jul 13, 2009 08:35 AM

            The hot dog is served by The Butcher Shop across the street.

            I like B&G, but most of Barbara Lynch's places are kind of notoriously overpriced, aren't they? I don't object to the tariff at Drink (though I tend to eat beforehand -- I don't care much for the current snacks menu), but pretty much every one of her other outlets seems gouge-y to me, and her egregious wine pricing has been delved into at length here.

            I still go on occasion: of the bunch, I tend to think B&G and Sportello are among the better values. I haven't had a really awful service experience like hotoynoodle's: I too would swear off a place if I got an ass of a server like that. But Lynch clearly isn't playing to value-conscious diners, and there still seem to be enough very well-heeled diners to keep her places humming.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: MC Slim JB
              Bob Dobalina RE: MC Slim JB Jul 13, 2009 08:45 AM

              Ha! Not sure what that says about my Swiss cheese brain or that I have a similar reaction to both places.

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                s
                suzysue2 RE: MC Slim JB Jul 13, 2009 08:52 PM

                I agree wholeheartedly with MC. I have never had a horrible experience at any of BL's restaurants, but it is always better when I am not paying. She has great concepts and aesthetic, and her food is always good, but far from original or creative. Go to her places for a good, expensive meal (just laugh and challenge all of your DCs to find the most egregiously overpriced item) in a visually pleasing setting, but I promise you she will never blow your mind.

                1. re: suzysue2
                  MC Slim JB RE: suzysue2 Jul 13, 2009 09:01 PM

                  I think it's worth saying that not only have I not had a spit-in-your-eye kind of service nightmare like hotoynoodle's, but in my experience, Lynch cultivates best-in-local-class service teams at her places: everybody in the front of the house is pretty phenomenal. No. 9 strikes me as the pinnacle, where the stars graduate to, but I see it in the AAA and AA establishments, too: it's a culture. It's the sometimes-overlooked half of the bartending equation at the bar at No. 9 and Drink: hospitality chops equal to the technical ones. Despite that, I still find myself wishing I could better justify the cost when it wasn't an expense-account dinner.

                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            2. StriperGuy RE: JP Eater Jul 13, 2009 09:21 AM

              I had a pretty rough meal there about 2 years ago myself complete with a lame server and a plumbing back up...

              1. Suze123 RE: JP Eater Jul 13, 2009 01:34 PM

                We ate there on Saturday with parents in town and everyone was very pleased. They loved the patio atmosphere, and the 1/2 lobster special was 'one of the best I've ever had' according to Dad. I had oysters (all from Mass, all wonderful and fresh), lobster bisque, and the scallop entree. I thought the flavors were excellent in everything.

                One note, our waiter took a fairly long time to return after our last plates were cleared. It didn't ruin the evening but was noticed.

                As for price, I guess I didn't feel it was outrageous for the quality. Total check with tax and tip, 2 apps, 4 entrees, 12 oysters, 4 glasses of wine and a bottle of wine was about $325.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Suze123
                  StriperGuy RE: Suze123 Jul 13, 2009 02:07 PM

                  For what they charge for a 1/2 lobster I know 3 places in Boston where you can get twin lobsters.

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