Thursday, July 7, 2011

A trip to Neptune Oyster - not the tourist trap I thought it was...

On Saturday of the long 4th of July weekend, Nick and I headed over to the North End to browse the shops and grab lunch.  Once we were over there it dawned on us that we could finally try the famous lobster roll at Neptune Oyster!  While I believed the food would be good (it is, after all, on every "best of" list for their seafood) I thought the ambiance would leave something to be desired.  However, rather than a Disney-fied fish restaurant, we were welcomed by a small restaurant that just a had quaint old world feel, with punched tin ceilings, dark wood, white subway tiles and long marble surfaces - the perfect New England feel.  Since it is such a small space, we put our name on the list and continued to run the errands (I had a Rue La La coupon for In-jean-ius!).  As luck would have it, just as we were finishing up, we got a call that they were ready for us. 

Grabbing seats at the bar and wanting to make sure we enjoyed the afternoon to the fullest we ordered some drinks.  I went with a Geary's Summer Ale, which was fantastic and delicious to the point where later that weekend we special ordered it from our local liquor store. 

Yummy Beer
When you walk into the restaurant you are immediately drawn to the rather impressive raw bar, so of course we had to indulge.

Raw Bar
We got a few oysters ranging in saltiness and finishes - really it is like selecting wines!  One of them had a finish that tasted like peas!  The cocktail sauce and the mignonette were perfect accompaniments.

There were other great raw bar items, like some massive shrimp we saw go by that we will definitely be trying on our next visit.  When it came to ordering main meals, Nick knew he was getting the lobster roll before we walked through the door.  Neptune Oyster serves their lobster rolls two ways, and the cold roll is what you would traditionally think of (though I'm sure extremely delicious) - more like a lobster salad with mayo.  The bartender suggested the hot - fresh lobster meat with warmed butter - so that is what Nick went with.

Hot Lobster Roll
Wow, this was delicious - there was a massive amount warm lobster on a grilled and buttered split top roll.  The lobster was so tender and flavorful that it was hard for me to have just one taste of his dish!  It really was like they marinated the lobster meat in warm butter.  I generally am so let down by lobster rolls because either they don't have much lobster or they have no taste, so I usually don't order them.  This one was enough to fix that!  Of note though: the lobster roll is $25, which is definitely expensive for a lunch meal, but the amount of meat is a least the equivalent of a 2-pound lobster. 

Since Nick was going with a lobster roll I decided to go for a burger - shocking, I know.  This burger was different, though, as it was a Cheddar burger with fired oysters, relish, and a garlic mayo.  Not being a mayo or relish person I will admit I was nervous, but I thought, I will just go for it.

Thank goodness I did!  The burger came bun-on and stacked to the nines with all sort of greatness.  The burger was cooked a perfect medium rare and was nice and juicy. 

Burger close up
What set this burger apart were the toppings, which added a great salty element to each bite.  It really was how a fish restaurant should do a burger.  It made me feel like I was sitting beachside enjoying some sunshine.  So much so, I did not even notice the suspect relish and mayo topping.  I was too busy enjoying the oysters, cheese and burger!  The bun was nicely grilled so that it had a bit of a crunch and was able to hold up to the juices from the meat.

Burger Plate
Both plates came with fries and were the type I more than enjoy - the almost well-done fries that have a great crisp and crunch.  I was full but could not help the munching! 

I am not sure if it was because I was so suspect of Neptune Oyster or what, but really I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed our meal.  The staff was really nice and helpful, and really knowledgeable about the menu.  They were more than willing to make suggestions on what to get.  With a raw bar, I think this is really important.  I walked out fully satisfied thinking it is a good thing I don't live too close to Neptune Oyster because I would be there way too much - my wallet would not be happy, but my belly would!

Neptune Oyster on Urbanspoon


  1. I would eat that lobster roll everyday if it wasn't $25!! I think it's funny that you thought this place would be a tourist trap. So glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Their hot lobster roll is basically heaven. I am SO glad you guys had such a great experience- I am seriously craving that place now!

  3. Getting a lobster roll at Neptune Oyster is on my list. It is so difficult to find hot, buttery lobster rolls around here. I grew up in CT, and that's just the way they make them there... none of that mayo nonsense. The lobster roll looks incredible!!!

  4. Someone asked me the other day what restaurant I would take an out of towner to that represented Boston and I said Neptune Oyster- Hot lobster roll. I'm glad you experienced it!!! Daisy and I went together last year and it was worth every bite and dollar!

  5. Now this is the kind of lobster roll I want to eat this weekend. Looks delicious - and the burger too!


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