Feast: Neptune Oyster
Neptune Oyster looks like (I imagine) a tiny piece of Paris dropped into the North End. The long bar is mirrored by a small strip of tables, with marble accents and wine bottles as decor. In the bathroom, a quote from Hemingway: “As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.” This is far more poetic than my standard oyster exclamation: “Mmm, it tastes like the beach!”
Neptune provides you with a small card of their offerings, and a brief description. You order from this card and they bring it back to you, so you can remember what you’re eating – for someone whose oyster knowledge is still nascent, this is very helpful. Many of the names were familiar- Wellfleet, Island Creek, Wianno, I even knew Kumamoto, but the rest were new discoveries. The Katama Bay with the “buttered popcorn” finish? Delicious and true to description.
After learning more about oysters over the past year, I’ve developed my own technique – I always have at least one of each type completely plain. No mignonette, cocktail sauce, lemon. This way you can really taste the actual oyster, and learn to distinguish between mineraly, nutty, briny, medium salt, high salt, etc. Sort of like wine tasting, but more slippery.
Also of note at Neptune: a surprisingly perfect Caesar salad (lightly dressed, doused with cheese, tender lettuce) and a lobster roll worth the hefty price of admission ($25). The meat was tender and ample, the split bun was one you’d actually want to eat. (But who actually eats the roll?)
Neptune is the perfect spot for two people to dream of Paris over oysters, or in our case, hash out details of our upcoming trip. Just one week until we leave!