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Aug 29, 2011 07:26 AM

Emperor has clothes (they’re just a little snotty)

Went to Neptune Oyster in the late afternoon on Friday and sat at the bar.

I had 12 oysters (4 different types) that were very fresh. The cocktail sauce was runny as it usually is at Neptune.

While I was eating I couldn’t help, but notice how poorly the young man behind the bar was treating people as they came in the door. He was a mix of slightly snotty with a medium dose of condescension that was consistent throughout my meal.

Next I had the fried clams that were really good. Perfectly fried fresh clams are pretty hard to beat.

Finally I had the warm lobster roll. The lobster meat was just like it was on my visit in January, ok, but not particularly tasty with a tendency to being a little mushy.

After this last visit I think I’m done with Neptune. It get expensive fast regardless of what one has and the people that work there are not very friendly either.

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

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  1. That unpleasant young man is unfortunately the owner.

    10 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      That's funny, because I asked him the name of the owner to see if that might settle him down a bit and he rattled off two peoples names that I couldn't hear/understand. He did this without identifying himself as one of the names he gave me. Must prefer the third person!

      1. re: Food4tht

        Classic that he does not even man-up and admit he owns the joint.

        1. re: StriperGuy

          there are actually a few other guys who work behind the bar there. might not have been jeff, who is not exactly a "young man"

          1. re: Wannabfoode

            I agree. Jeff is no spring chicken, and the fact that the bartender guy talked about other owners makes me think that it wasn't the dbag owner this time.

      2. re: StriperGuy

        I've seen other posts of yours where you've expressed reservations about the service there. Were you once a fan of their food (I seem to recall you praising them at one time, but can't dig up the posts, so perhaps I misremember), and are you now a disappointed man, or were you never an admirer?

        1. re: FoodDabbler

          Early on I thought the food was very good, but good food only goes so far when the vibe of the joint, as promulgated by the actual owner, is just plain nasty.

          1. re: StriperGuy

            I agree with the sentiment. My experience with the place is limited. I never found it an extraordinarily friendly place, but haven't experienced either the snottiness of which you and others speak. Perhaps it's a new attitude, born out of their success.

            1. re: FoodDabbler

              I'm afraid these criticisms, though hardly unanimous, date to its early days.


              1. re: MC Slim JB

                I've gotten the cold shoulder there on several occasions. If you go, grab a table - it's at the bar where the coldest winds blow.

                Better yet, go to Island Creek Oyster Bar instead. Comparable food, and the staff couldn't be friendlier, more helpful, or more knowledgeable. Send a good word back to the kitchen if you think it's merited... you just might get a few free dishes sent your way.

                Island Creek Oyster Bar
                500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                  I'm a fan of ICOB, too, have made it my semi-regular pre-Sox stop. It has the decided advantage over Neptune of a Jackson Cannon led bar program, too. But I still like Neptune Oyster, though mainly for weekday lunch; the evening crowds have gotten to be too painful in the last few years.


      3. in general, i think that lobster is better in the winter though that is not an absolute. I am told by the people at New Deal that it depends more on what the critters are eating.

        1. Young? I don't think owner Jeff Nace is exactly a spring chicken: probably pushing 50. Was it this guy?

          Nace is notorious on this board for that kind of, ahem, imperfect hospitality. Sorry to say I have witnessed him treating other customers with similar hauteur, though I've had better luck with the service there myself.

          8 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Please. Pushing 50 *is* young. Especially when pushing from the other side.

            1. re: FoodDabbler

              I always say it's not the years, but the miles. And I said, "no spring chicken", not "old". But in a post describing a restaurant employee as a young man, I tend to think of someone in their early 20s (what I would call spring chickenhood), not their late 40s.


            2. re: MC Slim JB

              Imperfect hospitality! Heh. Ill have an ice cold welcome with my euphemism.

              1. re: yumyum

                I think I got the lifetime pass on his being a dick to me by going a few times in the early days with a neighbor who is a regular.


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  You're lucky. I had outrageous behavior twice. Doesn't stop me from stopping in. I just choose to limit my dealings with him. Whatevs.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I went one time and had fantastic service :)

                    1. re: Trumpetguy

                      The world has two types of people: those who've been treated badly at NO (or, in my case, coolly) and keep going back for more, and those who've had fantastic service and have never gone back. Is it any wonder then that they treat customers poorly? The returns are better.

              2. rather than go back to neptune i just paid a guy 50 bucks to punch me in the head. it was over quicker and cost me half of what my bill would have been there.

                2 Replies
                1. re: hyde

                  Heck I'll slug ya for a sawbuck and throw in two oysters on the halfshell for free.

                  Hmmm maybe we have a new resto concept:

                  Fisherman Fight Club

                  1. re: hyde

                    Freaking love it! But the crudo is great! Don't hate the player hate the game.

                  2. I only know Neptune Oyster through what I read about it here on the boards, but it strikes me as the most Bostonian of restaurants. Gruff, rude, unfriendly and full of attitude, but if you put up with the knockabout vibe, you're rewarded with the opportunity to pay lots of money for delicious treats. Then go home, complain, stew about it a bit, and when you can't resist, you return.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                      I can't think of any Boston restaurant that actually fits this description. It doesn't even fit Neptune Oyster: aside from the owner, I don't believe the front-of-house staff is thought of as rude.

                      But it raises an interesting question: what Boston restaurants have a service shtick, a house style they cultivate as part of the atmosphere? I started another thread on this here:


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