Oct 2010

Neptune Oyster – Boston

Neptune Oyster - Boston

A warm bowl of chunky chowder has its charms, but the number one item on my Boston to-eat list was a luscious lobster roll. While I would have loved to stuff my face with a sandwich from each of the city’s best vendors, time constraints only allowed for one stop. After a good bit of research, including personal interviews with past and current Bostonians, I decided that Neptune Oyster would be the lucky destination.

Neptune Oyster - Boston

Located on the edge of Little Italy in Boston’s North End, Neptune Oyster is a charming seafood shack with an Old World feel. Jeff Nace opened the place six years ago, along with his wife Keli, after serving as beverage manager of Todd English’s Olives in Charlestown for twelve years.

The Astronomer and I lunched here with Rosalind and were seated straightaway. Since the restaurant only has twenty-six banquette seats and sixteen bar stools, a wait is usually inevitable during peak dining hours.

Neptune Oyster - Boston

Before the star of the Neptune Oyster show graced our table, we shared three light bites. I was also hoping for a basket of fried Ipswich clams (market price), but unfortunately the vendor had failed to deliver them this morning. The first appetizer to arrive was the buttermilk Johnnycake smothered with honey butter and topped with a smoked trout tartar and Little Pearl caviar ($16).

With the exception of the strange presentation, I liked everything about this dish. Who knew that a sweet and buttery cornmeal flat bread would pair so tastily with salty fish and caviar? Certainly not me.

Neptune Oyster - Boston

The next plate to arrive was the “Crudo of the Day,” smoked salmon on rye with duck confit, apple salad, and mustard creme fraiche ($14). Whereas the Johnnycake’s distinct components melded harmoniously when eaten together, this dish wasn’t as successful. Each element was good on its own, but taken simultaneously it was a jumble of flavors that didn’t seem to enhance one another at all.

Neptune Oyster - Boston

The final small plate was a seashell filled with a Dayboat scallops garnished with orange sections, mint, Pineland Farm feta, and tandoori spices ($13). The tartar was incredibly light, fresh, and supple—just the way I like my seafood.

Neptune Oyster - Boston

And finally, the most beautiful Maine lobster roll ($25) came onto the scene. Neptune Oyster constructs both traditional lobster rolls tossed in mayonnaise, as well as “Connecticut-style” specimens that are drizzled with hot clarified butter. We ordered ours Connecticut-style and it was incredible.

All three of us couldn’t get over how much lobster meat was piled into the grilled brioche bun. Every bite was a glorious mouthful of  tail, knuckle, and claw meat. The entire sandwich was amazingly decadent. And the side of fries was perfect too.

Now, where to go for a lobster roll fix in Los Angeles? I will have to consult this handy dandy guide.

Neptune Oyster
63 Salem Street #1
Boston, MA 02113
Phone: 617-742-3474

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11 thoughts on “Neptune Oyster – Boston

  1. Whoa, I’ve never heard of “Connecticut-style” rolls before. Is this a real thing, or did Neptune just make it up? It looks really good, but I don’t know if I can ever pass up the traditional prep.

  2. Great, man. Now you got me wanting a lobster roll. Where’s the Raleigh-Durham guide to lobster rolls??
    …and after a bit of google searching found a place that serves them for lunch. If I go, I’ll let you know how it was. =)

  3. Delicious post! I just devoured a whole stir-fried lobster at Hop Woo in Chinatown – their $9.99 special. A nice medium sized lobster that’s full of flavor. I can’t handle paying over $20 for a lobster roll, esp. the substandard ones out here in LA. Still, craving some major seafood now! Thanks!

  4. My mouth feels lonely without that lobster roll in it.

    I’ve heard Hatfield’s lobster sandwich (served at lunch) is delightful. We should go some time! Ladies lunch on lobster… sounds like a Food Buzz 24 24 24 waiting to happen!

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