I’ve always been a Barbara Lynch fan, and have tried all of her restaurants (some several times). After recently trying B&G Oyster in the South End for the second time, I decided my favorite might be a tossup between the two in the South End (Butcher Shop and B&G Oyster). They fall in the middle of the spectrum her restaurants, not quite as high end as Menton or Number 9 Park, but not as casual as Sportello. They are located on the same block on Tremont Street; both are small and have an atmosphere more like a wine bar, although they offer full menus.
B&G has a handful of high top tables inside and out, and a bar surrounding the kitchen. During my most recent visit, I sat at the bar and watched the food being prepared. I’ve only ordered oysters and appetizers, but when I saw the entrees being prepared I made a mental note to try them again for dinner. All of the meals looked delicious and cooked perfectly.
I started with a selection of oysters based on the bartender’s recommendation asking only for a mix of east and west coast. He explained that the selection changes twice a day with a different menu for lunch and dinner, and brought out a sample of the following along with a printed list of what was included:
- Malagash, Malagash Basin, Nova Scotia
- Umami, Narragansett Bay, RI
- Gigamoto, Deep Bay, British Columbia
- Deer creek, Puget Sound, WA
My knowledge of oysters is limited; I like them but have a hard time distinguishing between the different types and knowing what to order. I have learned that west coast oysters are typically smaller and have a smoother taste, so I expected to like those the best. I was surprised to find that my favorite ended up being the east coast, although they were all very good.
I also tried the lobster beignets, which were served with a truffled celery root puree and topped with pickled fennel. These looked like little balls of fried dough, the outside tasted like almost like a doughnut and the inside reminded me of something similar to a crab cake. It was an unusual twist on the doughnut trend, but it worked. The components all came together really well, and the dish tasted great.
Although I didn't get the full B&G experience, I left feeling extremely satisfied with my pre-dinner drinks and apps, and wondering why I don't venture into the south end more often!