Wednesday night, D had gotten us tickets to see the Celtics play which I was entirely excited for. Since the addition of KG tickets are nearly impossible to get a hold of. Gone are the days that I could get a company discount and $30 would get me 10th row seats...now $100 will barely get you into the Garden. But I digress. I was very excited for the game, as well as for dinner before hand. We had decided to go to one of the great food bars as I like to call them on Canal Street- we had decided on Boston Beerworks which my best friend and I gush over at all times (sweet potato fries- FANTASTIC) with a back up of The Fours which Ive only been to once, but I enjoyed. So down Canal we went and found that Beerworks had an hour wait...it being 6:15 already and the game starting at 7:30- we vetoed our decision. Down the street we went to go to The Fours and found the same issue. So on the spur, D suggested that we head to the North End and eat at Neptune Oyster bar. It turned out to be a fantastic suggestion for several reasons.
D had been there before, but I had not which left me to peruse the menu for some time. He quickly settled on a hot lobster sandwich with a glass of Riesling to compliment it. I finally decided on their Cioppino with a glass of Pinot Noir (a wine that I am quickly enjoying more and more). One of the best things about seafood restaurants is that they are never shy about mixing their foods together. Its rare at a restaurant to find chicken and beef and pork all together, but creations like Cioppino are common fair. This version consisted of shrimp, scollops, mussels, clams and grilled fish all over rice with a tomato saffron broth. A few things to note, the broth was actually very brothy. Other Cioppinos Ive had have had a thicker, chunkier soup to it- actually that is why I chose to pair a red wine with it-thinking it would stand up to the soup. A white would have been a better pairing. Second, the clams were served in shell as they were supposed to be, but were far saltier than other clams Ive had and tended to be over powering. Overall however, I enjoyed the flavors of the broth, and the grilled fish was delightful. All of the seafood was perfectly cooked and the dish was delightful.
The ever generous D ensured that I tried his lobster roll. It was, in a word, outstanding. They offer the roll either hot, drizzled with butter, or cold which is more of a lobster salad with mayonaise. D had chosed the hot sandwich. It came piled high with big chunks of lobster, and the hot dog roll that it was served in was saturated, but not to the point of being wet, with butter. It was perfect- as though it was summer and you were cracking open a whole lobster and dipping the pieces in butter. The most simple of flavors that together are out of this world. It was served with french fries, which were also tasty- but to be honest- completely overshadowed by the lobster.
Now, I would be remiss as a Boston sports fan to not mention the third highlight to my dinner, next to, of course the company and the food. When we arrived we were asked to sit at a table at the end of the room. Neptune Oyster is a small place, perhaps 10 tables total, on this particular night there were people sitting right next to the door and then at another table at the end of the room. The middle section was apparently reserved for a group of 10. So after we had taken our seats, and had decided on our dinners, the party of 10 started to filter in. Several ladies took over the table, and a few men arrived. The first who walked in bore a striking resemblence to Tedy Bruschi, one of my favorite Patriots. I stated this to D who turned and said that it couldnt be him and so on with dinner we went. However, as the evening progressed and the table for 10 filled up, and ordered several bottles of champagne we noticed that it was, in fact, the one and only Mr. Bruschi, and with him were Mr. Welker and Hochstein. Now, just to be clear this dinner was exactly three nights after their heart breaking loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl. But yet-there they sat, mere inches from me (thank god for intimate restaurants) celebrating the beginning of their off season I suppose. It was a momentous occasion for me that I absolutely had to share.
With that- I leave you with my impressions of Neptune Oyster, one of the best lobster rolls Ive ever tasted, a delightful Cioppino that does require a white wine, and a place, however infrequently, to see local Boston celebrities. Neptune Oyster