The Astronomer and I traveled to Boston this past Memorial Day weekend for a family wedding. While most of our time was spent with relatives, we managed to carve out a few hours to meet up with one of my best friends from college, Adrienne, and her wife Irene. B&G Oysters was the site of our joyous and delectable dinner.
Chef Barbara Lynch‘s neighborhood oyster bar serves both New England classics and Mediterranean-inspired dishes in Boston’s South End. Each day this subterranean temple to oysters features 12 varieties of bivalves (six from each coast), all delivered fresh that morning.
We snagged a reservation a few days before at the highly desirable hour of 4:30. Unsurprisingly, we were lead to our table as soon as we arrived.
After we placed our order for the first wave of dishes, our waitress brought over a tin pail of bread with a grassy olive oil on the side.
Since Adrienne, Irene, and The Astronomer weren’t gaga about oysters, I decided to forgo the restaurant’s namesake specialty on this visit. There was plenty of other goodness to be had.
The warm asparagus salad ($15), which was served with pickled ramps, a fried egg, and croutons, looked deceptively plain, but all of the elements taken together brought on some mega fireworks. While I love to hate on foodies’ obsession with ramps, I had to admit that they really made this dish pop.
The deviled eggs ($16) were also solid. The creamy yolks came topped with sweet shards of Jonah crab and a dusting of espelette pepper. The filling was so good that we made sure to scrape up every last bit of it beneath each egg.
Round two brought a tremendous dish of steamed mussels ($16) bathing in a spicy tomato sauce with garlic bruschetta. While the mussels weren’t the plumpest ever (that honor would go to the monstrosities at Steelhead Diner in Seattle) they had a lovely flavor and delicate texture. The broth was tangy and moreish. Just ask Irene—she sopped up every last drop with bread.
We also shared a perfectly prepared pan-roasted halibut ($30) served with florescent pink beet spaetzle, yellow beets, frisee, and an herb pesto. The dazzlingly hued spaetzle could not be beat.
Our final savory dish of the night was B&G’s much-loved Maine lobster roll ($28). The lightly toasted bun was generously jammed with hunks of claw and tail meat lightly coated in mayonnaise. A smattering of chives and celery added the finishing touches. The roll was accompanied by hand-cut fries, house-made bread and butter pickles, and coleslaw.
While the roll was delicious on all fronts, the Connecticut-style roll at Neptune Oyster remains my favorite in the city. Hot butter-drenched lobster will always trump cold mayo-dressed lobster in my book.
With three dessert-loving women at the table, we had to order all three of the desserts on the menu this evening. The chocolate torte ($9) was accented with crunchy bits of peanut praline and a quenelle of vanilla mascarpone.
I knew The Astronomer would love the cinnamon pavlova ($9) with red wine poached pears and an oat crumble the moment I spotted it on the menu. The ever-so-light spiced meringue wowed him as well as the entire table. I must recreate this dessert once pear season rolls around again.
And finally, a seasonal rhubarb tartlet ($9) with pastry cream and thyme. Fruits and savory herbs are forever a winning combination.
Good food and good friends—I had a ball at B&G.
550 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
There’s more to eat in Boston on Gastronomy: