Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sibling Adventures in Beantown—Part Three: Neptune Oyster

Toro was one of two places on my must-do list in Boston. The other was Neptune Oyster, found via a random restaurant search and verified as worthy by my darling sister. We’d run out of nights for special dinners so made it a special lunch spot instead. Best call ever.

First, I’m a big fan of oysters. Raw ones. On the half shell. I usually eat them with some kind of mignonette but love when they’re good and fresh enough to hold their own with nothing but lemon and maybe a wee bit of horseradish. We got both, only the lemon and horseradish came by way of a surprisingly good cocktail sauce and paired perfectly with the three small local varieties we tried.

We ordered too much and decided it was OK because it was our last meal of the trip. I knew going in that aside from the oysters, I wanted to try Neptune’s yellowtail sashimi. It was served with a drizzle of good olive oil, Thai chile oil and sprinkled with cracked coriander and pepper. Spicy and delicious.

I decided I also had to have the clam chowder. I felt a tad guilty for ordering after a long weekend of indulgence, but then the bartender explained that they made each bowl fresh and that it wasn’t ladled in from a big, sitting pot. And for some reason that made me feel better about it. Like it was unique or something. And it was. Unexpectedly light (or as light as clam chowder can be), it was silky with texture from celery and even a bit from the clam. So, so good.

And then (since it was again our last meal in Boston) we had to get a lobster roll. My boyfriend ordered it, so I felt a little less guilt than I did with the chowder. Plus Neptune apparently has one of Boston’s best lobster rolls. How could be pass that up?

We couldn’t.

It was my first Lobster roll. My first bite of warm baguette with tender lobster meat and warm, melted butter. Oh. My. Word. It was rich and amazing, especially when chased with a cold glass of rose.

I was glad we split it three ways, because otherwise I wouldn’t have had room in my belly for the perfect little salad my sister ordered. After Boston I’ve decided simple salads are best. Simple as it should be, as my beloved Tristan Prettyman would put it. This one came with tuna ribbons (which was just really thin slices of sashimi) served over green beans, olives, capers and hardboiled egg with a potato aioli. I could only fit a couple of bites but that’s really all I needed to fall in love.

I fell in love with the whole place actually—the food, the wine, the girl shucking oysters in front of the window—all of it. It was a busy, loud Monday lunch crowd consisting of what seemed to be a mix of friends, families and solo diners. We sat at the bar, which I like to do in general but especially enjoyed in this case.

Everyone just seemed happy. Everyone was laughing. Everyone was smiling. Even the solo woman next to us who was dining solo over what I think was a working lunch. She was just sitting there making notes on a legal pad, nonchalantly smiling and glancing at her Blackberry every so often in between sips of a healthy-sized glass of red. I didn’t know this woman, but I loved her. And and she made me love everything going on around me.

She made me think I could sit there for hours. I would have had a few more oysters and a few more bites of the salad (which I’m going to attempt to recreate). I would have savored more of the conversation with my sister and happily listened to her elaborate on her and her husband’s hopes to spend time in New York after she graduates (from art school—she’s so hip it kills me), how they’d love to try London from there, spend time in Asia after that. I could have spent hours there sipping another glass of wine, talking about things that do or could make us happy. It was all so perfect—the perfect little place that served as the perfect backdrop for the perfect end to a perfect trip.

Thanks much, Boston. I’ll be back.


  1. Boston looks forward to your return...as do I.

    I really enjoy reading your posts, especially when they contain the fun events of your trip here. : )

    hurry back. I miss you.

  2. Found the breadcrumbs back to your blog my dear. There's no turning back now. I need to be careful when I read, it's making me hungry!

    - Violet