I was going to do a round-up of the eats on my recent visit to Boston, but in the end I couldn't be arsed. It's not that the places where I ate were bad; in fact they were pretty decent. It's just that they weren't Neptune Oyster. This intimate seafood joint is a truly special place that really captures the essence of Boston.
We kicked off with the steamed Wellfleet littlenecks, an Iberian-inspired dish and one of the best things I have eaten in a long, long time. A perfect marriage between juicy littleneck clams, freshly caught off Cape Cod, and a sharp, tangy Albarino-based broth full of flavour from chorizo and roasted garlic finished off with parsley and lemon. A side order of bread is obligatory to mop up the broth. This dish was so good we ordered a second helping!
Our other appetizer was Neptunes on Piggyback - crispy fried oysters on top of pulled Berkshire pork with golden raisin confiture and pistachio aioli on toast. It sounds a bit ambitious but all the components worked well together. In addition to a second helping of littlenecks, we ordered Cioppino, an Italian-American fish stew served with saffron rice for our mains (or entrees as the Americans weirdly insist on calling main courses). This was good but it seemed a little monochrome when compared to the technicolor littlenecks.
As American portion sizes are that much bigger, we were full after sharing three starters and a main between two. In fact, I think the way to go at Neptune is to order a spread of starters and maybe something from the raw bar as opposed to the traditional starter-main combo. For those weirdos that dislike seafood, I spied burger and steak on the menu but if you're a veggie then you're pretty much screwed.
One last thing, Neptune Oyster is a tiny, no reservations joint. That said, you can put your name on a list at the door and they'll give you a time to return. There's a nearby pub called Goody Glovers where you can savour a couple of pints while waiting.
Neptune Oyster, 63 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113, USA
(Tel : +1 617-742-3474) Nearest station: Haymarket
PS: OK then, you've twisted my arm, here are a couple of other tips for Boston. For lobster, try Atlantic Fish and for steak, try Abe & Louie's. Neither is particularly cutting edge, but they're both comfortable and serve good quality food and wine. Sometimes that's all you need when you're far from home and knackered after a hard day at work.