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Island Creek or B&G?

Which do you prefer? Thinking about them for our anniversary at the end of May...thx!

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  1. Hands down Island Creek IMHO. Much better space and a more varied menu. ICOB also has a much better vibe thank B&G and I think they have a much better bar with well made cocktails.

    1. Yikes, just looked at making a res and it's either 430 or 10! Think we will have luck as walk-ins? Love fun cocktails so we would be totally fine hanging out at the bar for a while..

      5 Replies
      1. re: shmickdogs

        Depends on the day of the week (or if it's a graduation day/weekend0, but the bar is usually pretty crowded too...

        1. re: LeoLioness

          Hmm, good to know. It's the Friday of Memorial Day weekend which is probably why good times aren't available...

        2. re: shmickdogs

          Did you call or just check open table? They block prime-time reservations on open table, so it's always worth a call.

          1. re: Klunco

            Did both--checked open table first and those were the times and then the hostess gave us the same times. We are only mid-30's but man, after 2 kids dinner at 10 seems so late! Ha.

          2. re: shmickdogs

            I know if you are standing at the bar in Eastern Standard, the sister restaurant next door to ICOB, the bartender will put a place holder on the next available seats at the bar for you so you can get seated and order relatively easily for the price of a drink in the hand.

          3. There is no comparison.

            Island Creek by far.

            1. Neptune is ICOB's only competition.

              It's been so long that I can't even remember when B&G was actually considered good. I know I've regretted my last two visits over the past 4-5 years.

              Still, even at ICOB it's all about what you order. Despite appealing to me GREATLY on paper, I don't like the famous short ribs and lobster roe noodles. And I love short ribs, lobster roe, and noodles.

              I generally prefer one of the daily specials to any of the longtime house specials, as those tend to be very fresh, very seasonable. When ramps are in season - are we there yet - those tend to show up on the specials plates, too. Likewise softshell crab, etc.

              The raw bar is - of course - highly recommended. Except for the lobster. Don't bother.

              And the honeyed biscuit is an absolute favorite of mine, often a dessert.

              1. b&g is not even in the same league as icob. not for service, food or cocktails. gave up on it long ago after several of my worst-ever boston dining experiences there. i felt hosed every time i went besides.

                sox are home that friday too. i'd give a shot walking in and see what happens. it's a very big space!

                6 Replies
                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Thx! Erg, I know, saw that about the Sox...already staying in town at the Liberty, otherwise we might have changed plans...

                  1. re: shmickdogs

                    is it just 2 of you? you're easy walking distance to neptune oyster. go, put in your name, and walk around the north end. they'll call you when your table comes up.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      def good idea re: neptune. go as early as possible so your wait is shorter. (and take a cab-short ride; save your feet for the likely necessary No.End jaunt.)

                      (some real service horror stories recently about b&g, fwiw.)

                      hope you have a lovely anniversary.

                    2. re: shmickdogs

                      I like ICOB, but generally avoid it before and after Red Sox games. I find that the service, food and atmosphere suffer due to them catering to a quick turn game day crowd. They can make their money those 81 days, and I enjoy it at other times.

                      1. re: Gabatta

                        Worth noting that if you go an hour after the Sox game starts, it's just fine.


                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          Even then I find that the restaurant can be (understandably) unkempt. It's just not the same atmosphere or level of service in my experience.

                          For the OP, I would recommend Neptune given the hotel location.

                  2. I personally prefer ICOB, even though B&G is very convenient to me. First off, it's a much better value; I always feel swindled when I get the check at B&G (poster child for this problem: that tiny $29 lobster roll). Both have an excellent raw bar, very good service and a fine, seafood-friendly wine list.

                    B&G has a nicer patio. Island Creek offers a slightly broader menu, has room to spread out including lots of comfortable bar seating (B&G is very cramped-feeling), can practically seat larger parties indoors, and has a first-rate craft cocktail program (B&G is beer/wine only).

                    Kind of excited to see what ICOB's new Seaport place will be like.


                    1. I have a short-notice ICOB strategy that I am reluctant to share, but share I will as I think both B&G and Neptune are throwbacks to the "you are lucky to be eating an oyster" dark age of Boston oyster history.

                      Arrive at 4:00. The *adorable* hostess will explain that the kitchen is not open until 5:00, you may sit at one of the high-tops in the bar area and have drinks and the raw bar. She may even say, politely, "you'll need to vacate the table by 6:00, 6:30", whatever.

                      Eat and drink stuff.

                      Strategy one: wolf down dinner at the hightop before the specified time.

                      Strategy two: after you have eaten and drank stuff and been friendly to your waitstaff, go back and ask the *adorable* hostess if you may stay a little longer.

                      Beats being treated like chattel at Neptune + better selection and food in general.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Carty

                        The "going early" strategy has merit, but what you propose put the *adorable* hostess in the position of having to wonder if you will be unreasonable about leaving, or whether to inconvenience the party who made the 6pm reservation.

                        1. re: LeoLioness

                          It's a big place, I suspect the traffic even with reservations is pretty dynamic, *adorableness* aside I'm sure she'd have booted us if she had to. Point being you are in much better shape if you are sitting at a table than if you walk in later.