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thoughts on B&G OYSTERS?

  • m

my spouse and i went to B&G OYSTERS the other night ( note it was a very pleasant long walk from the beacon hill hotel). we sat up at the bar in the front corner.

we had reisling to drink and started with a dozen oysters. wow, fresh and delicious. $2-3 dollar range for each.

next we shared the Sugar Snap Pea Salad - ricotta, mint, marcona almond vinaigrette ($12). this is one of the more fantastic salads i have ever had, and i am a salad lover. if you are too, this alone is worth going out of your way for.

lastly, we shared a lobster roll plate ($29). the plate comes with terrific fries, bread&butter style pickle slices and just an excellent slaw. we thought our order was plenty for two people. i have lobster rolls on occasion, but i am no expert on them. however, i cannot imagine many or even any better than this. pricey for sure, too pricey perhaps given the well-heeled yet casual, noisy restaurant environment, but so, so delicious.

the total bill was around $125 w/tip. note the server guy was a real pro.

so what are your experiences with B&G? sure its expensive, casual, tight and noisy, but darn good.

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  1. half a dozen oysters, a salad and a half a lobster roll each and you were out of the place for around 100 usd with drinks and tip!
    I believed you were Lynched.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hyde

      except you forgot the drinks!

      but yeah i noted it was expensive. from everything i read that is well known about B&G. its pricey. oh and no worries about us getting ripped off, this was on the company dime lol!

      i was more interested in what anyone who has eaten there thought of the food.

      1. re: mrnyc

        6 oysters, 1/2 a salad and 1/2 a lobster roll for dinner? had you already eaten? ;)

        my first meal at b&g was a lunch shortly after they opened. i ordered an oyster po' boy. it was 2 oysters on the equivalent of a dinner roll with no side. just tartar sauce. my eyes fell out of my head when it was served. i had 2 glasses of wine and that and it was close to $60 before tip. felt utterly hosed.

        tried a few more times and had the same feeling after, always.

        last stab was a summer dinner on their lovely pocket patio, with 3 friends. it was one of the worst service experiences any of us have ever had in boston and NONE of us will go back.

        especially now with icob, there are too many places with much better dollar:perceived value ratios.

    2. "expensive, casual, tight and noisy, but darn good" nails it pretty well

      1 Reply
      1. re: Carty

        Yes,this. I've always enjoyed my food here, but I can't help but taste the regret with every bite. And I generally don't have a large appetite and rarely grumble about "portions".....but the portions here are really small. You need to order a decent amount of food to sate the average appetite.

      2. Really overpriced.

        Underwhelming food

        Pretentious and slow service.

        That sums up every visit that I've made to B&G.

        Won't step into the place ever again.

        And I like/love some of her other restaurants.

        1. hmm -- wait a sec, strictly regarding price, breaking it down maybe tells a different story.

          the oysters were between $2-3, so say $2.50/each or $30 for the dozen. no, its not a $1 oyster happy hour deal, but not horrible considering the freshness and variety. for comparison, these are GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR prices, where i go fairly often, although i like my oysters and i go to $1 happy hours much more often for sure! ;)

          the salad was $12. as i said i love salads, meaning i consider myself kind of an expert on them, and it was one of the best i ever had, if not thee best. for comparison, salads at diners near me are $9-16 (the most expensive being if, you know, you get the shrimps and salmon, etc. on it).

          the wine we had was $11 per glass. i saw the most expensive offered was $15. this seems about typical for a nice place these days. for comparison i had a $9 glass of wine at the TIP TAP the next night, one of my favorites, block 9 pinot noir, but lets face it under $10 per glass is fast fading away at nicer restaurants.

          the lobster roll plate was $29. i dont really know what you pay for a good one typically, but that did seem expensive. i poked around online a bit and saw they were $20-something at other nicer places.

          alright then -- given at least the salad was ok priced, lets say we overpaid $5 on the lobster roll, a couple bucks on the wine and a couple more on the oysters.

          so in sum total thats like just under $10 altogether of what we all probably agree is overpaying. not so horrible. if you like, go ahead and expect/add $5 to that if you have a bigger appetite than we do and you order another main course. that is, for two glasses of wine, a dozen oysters, an appetizer and two main courses you can expect to overpay or feel you overpayed around $15 total. is it worth it here? opinions seem to be mixed, but they are not holding you upside down by your ankles and totally emptying your wallet either. i have unfortunately most certainly overpayed more for less memorable before and i bet many of you have as well.

          12 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              interesting to compare the menus. oysters $2.50-3.50/each. lobster roll $25. expensive mains. overall, pretty much the same prices. is ICOB generally preferred over B&G?

            2. re: mrnyc

              I'm with you - I can't stand ICOB for a bunch of reasons, most of which I spare this board - a) because it is beloved here, and I don't want to mount the offense; and b) my reasons are not food related - mostly about comfort, noise, being jostled about, long waits, and a husband who detests the room and the experience. These complaints do not really hold up against the raves for the food. (And, I guess compared to B&G, which I love, Neptune, which I really like, and Mare, the new object of my affection, I don't love the food either.) THAT said, I have been to B&G dozens of times, and I am happy each time I leave. I have always had the most meticulous and special service, excellent (if pricey and small-portioned) food, and excellent wine. I haven't ever really minded the big price tag - I know going in what it will be. I usually stick to oysters, the lob roll, whatever soup is on the menu, and whatever salad is on the menu - so I basically order the same meal you did each time. I just love it. It may not be for some. Just like ICOB is not for me. If you go in with proper expectations on price, it is a super meal.

              1. re: Small Plates

                Personally, I don't get the love for ICOB. Went last year and was so pissed off that I penned a long post on here, which then disappeared in some iPad-related malfunction. Can't remember all of the details but I do remember the bouillabaisse, which was over-reduced, with a dried-out piece of lobster on top. Showed it to the server, and she knocked it off the bill - so I guess they get brownie points for that. But the DC had the Ragu thing, and that, too, wasn't all that. I'll cede that the atmosphere was quite stunning - but very loud - and the sommelier was spot-on with his recommendation. Bottom line: just wasn't that impressed with the food.

                1. re: pamlet

                  I tend to stick to a few things at ICOB, but I've never had anything less than stellar raw oysters, steamers, fried oyster sliders, clam chowder, fried clams, fluke crudo, shelled mussels, the occasional lobster roll and lobster-roe noodle dish. And I'd go sit at their bar just for the cocktails. Quite like the wine program, too.


                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    The only thing I disagree with is the lobster roll. And I've never had the noodles. The service is top-notch, too.

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Have they improved the lobster roll? My two experiences with the ICOB roll were pretty disappointing, but I haven't tried it personally or seen a DC order it in over a year. I didn't care for the small somewhat shredded pieces of meat or the all the bits of filler whose flavors overwhelmed the lobster. I'm also less of a fan of the brioche with lobster rolls.

                  2. re: Small Plates

                    I am curious about this because we go to ICOB _precisely_ because we are seated promptly (always have a reservation) and can actually HEAR. My son is hard-of-hearing and I suspect I am a bit, too, and so we really care about that. I'd be interested to hear where you have sat so I can avoid those areas. We've also never been jostled but we have had tables along the far and far/side wall.

                    I have felt disappointed and ripped off at B&G every time except for the one time that all we got is a bottle of muscadet and a ginormous platter of oysters and sat outside. THAT was a wonderful experience, but it's not like they had to actually do anything but get tired hands.

                    1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                      We have sat along the left wall on the banquettes, the big round table in the back, at the bar a few times, and we have stood at the little lean to right by the portal. Each time has been either a Saturday night (with reservations and still had to wait 20 minutes) or Sox pre-game. I would venture to say those are probably the times it would be loudest at ICOB. And we've hit them all! ;)

                      1. re: Small Plates

                        That's too bad. I will keep those tables in mind to try to avoid. I think I have never been there on a Saturday night so perhaps that is the difference.

                        1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                          And I have to say, the service has been really great (esp. when we dined with friends of TS-G, who personally waited on us) and occasionally not-so-good - but this was during the first week after opening, so I tend to dismiss those early glitches as uncharacteristic. Bottom line for me (and probably a good thing for ICOB) is it is always just too crowded.

                2. We went to Neptune when we were in town and I felt the dollar value and service was outstanding. Everyone I ask says that we should go to ICOB instead of B and G even though BG was noted in National Geographic Traveller as one of the top 10 oyster bars in the world. Who has oyster happy hour late or early?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: itryalot

                    OMG, if Nat Geo Traveller picked B&G I need to get back there ASAP. They are 'the' top 10 list of top 10 lists!

                    1. re: itryalot

                      National Geographic was on drugs, paid or their research is extremely outdated.

                      I would venture that very few people here in Boston would recommend B&G over other similar alternatives.

                      Which surprises me, since BL is a smart cookie

                      There are tons of $1 oyster happy hours. What/ where are you looking for?

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Which surprises me, since BL is a smart cookie


                        she has her devotees and both b&g and butcher shop are tiny, in a very walkable, densely populated neighborhood housing her prime demographic.

                        clearly, not me, lol, since i am remain uncharmed by linty kitchen towels as a napkin.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          That's what I've been hearing about B and G. I am looking for anywhere, even late night (reverse) HH. Really oysters and another option, good drinks.

                      2. I'm glad you had a good meal there. Yes lots of people think it's overpriced but geez, let the guy enjoy the time he spent there without having to justify every bite.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: total13

                          the op asks this:

                          "so what are your experiences with B&G?"

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            After being served a thimble sized glass of overpriced wine, in which you had to monitor your sips lest it be gone in 3 before your were served your meal...... we have never gone back. This was withing the first 6 months when they should have been building a clientele. But it was also when the bartender from XO hotel blew thru a patrons investment on designer crap before a single dish hit the kitchen and was moonlighting for BL

                            The pour by an established restauranteur was an insult to her patrons.

                            1. re: Bellachefa

                              oh lord -- i really hate that stupid trend. however, i am happy to report it has been fixed. we had regular sized wine glasses and a big pour.

                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                oooh, i haven't thought of that "bartender who shall remain nameless" in quite some time. after several implosions both here and in nyc the trail seems to have run cold.

                          2. After all this discussion, I am wondering if we too should abort any romantic notion of oysters, lob rolls at either B and G or ICOB and head back to Neptune.

                            19 Replies
                            1. re: itryalot

                              Why would you abort the perfect oysters at ICOB?

                              IMOHO the lobster roll there is meh... But the oysters are terrific!!

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                DH can't eat oysters, clams or mussels. I need something else for him to eat that is just as spectacular, unfortunately.

                                1. re: itryalot

                                  Have him order the lobster roe noodle dish at ICOB.

                                  1. re: Gordough

                                    The trout at ICOB is one of my favorite fish preps in town.

                              2. re: itryalot

                                I have never regretted a trip to Neptune or the waiting required - once I have those perfect oysters and delicious food - oysters are the best thing about ICOB by far, but Neptune matches them, at least.

                                1. re: rlh

                                  So, what would make me want to go to ICOB over Neptune if the oysters are similar...is it ambiance and larger setting?

                                  1. re: itryalot

                                    Full bar. Parking and general access. More extensive menu. Service.

                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                      over and above full bar with an outstanding cocktail program.

                                    2. re: itryalot

                                      Neptune has a serious attitude problem. Many chowhounders have described their service as disinterested, dismissive and rude.

                                      To quote one CH'r: "The staff acts like you're trying to get into Buckingham Palace to have tea with the queen. "

                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                        The owner was just plain nasty to me and has a rep for being that way much of the time.

                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                          yes, i have known jeff many years, but even when he isn't there, i haven't been on the receiving of snarl.

                                          my last visit i didn't know anybody working and everybody was friendly and efficient. jeff didn't turn up til we were nearly finished, so nobody knew i knew him from adam.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            I'm not just a sole data point here. MANY folks have chimed in about the nasty attitude at Neptune. Really don't think you are unbiased as a friend of the house.

                                            Heck you caught them being nice once, that means they are always nice?

                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                              i know the general opinion here is that the servers are surly. not just once, i have never been on the receiving end. mostly i stay out of neptune threads. sorry.

                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                  lol, nope. that's why i am generally hands-off on these things!

                                          2. re: StriperGuy

                                            I usually don't post on such topics but I have been to neptune a few times mostly because visitors have insisted and each and every time the service has been surly. I won't go into details unless someone is interested but I can't imagine that they were ALL flukes.

                                            I can't think of a single place in Boston where the service is so reliably hostile and generally poor particularly for a place at this price point.

                                            1. re: tribalfusion

                                              I'm with tribalfusion.

                                              They've always treated me and my DCs shabbily at Neptune.

                                              The food is delicious but I won't go there anymore if its up to me to decide

                                        2. re: itryalot

                                          ICOB is much larger in scale, both the room and the menu, it is generally high energy (which can also be really loud, but I don't mind that), they have a great cocktail menu (bartender Vik is awesome - and if you are really into crafted drinks, don't miss The Hawthorne next door before, while waiting, or after dining - top room, top talent for drinks!), the service is much more polished and accomodating, even when they are swamped, and you can make a reservation. I think either is a great pick.

                                          1. re: rlh

                                            Okay, okay...ICOB is worth the try. I guess we were lucky we weren't on the receiving end of the nasty at Neptune! I will definitely report back.

                                    3. B&G is always a pleasure. Never on the wallet - but I never have a bad time there.

                                      mrnyc - next time around - you should do Surf & Turf - start at B&G and then hop across to the Butcher Shop. It makes for a wonderful afternoon lunch.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: meeps2002

                                        Ha - we did something very similar recently. Started at Bin 26 Enoteca mid afternoon for an off-the-charts cheese course. THEN to B&G for oysters, shrimp, and yummy flash fried shishito peppers, and THEN to Butcher Shop for foie gras terrine and steak tartare. Indulgent, yes. And delicious. It was a fun crawl. It was a special occasion and a wonderful afternoon. Food memories really are the best! :)