B&G Oysters ~ Orderinny

Thursday, May 17, 2007

B&G Oysters

Being a solo traveller often means dining alone. And while I'm fine doing that at lunchtime, dinner is another matter. For one, its quite acceptable to be eating alone at noon. Afterall, no one makes plans for lunch. But dinner, well. To put it bluntly, unless you're eating at the hotel dining room, you'll probably stick out like a sore thumb, a single diner in the midst of canoodling couples in popular restaurants in every city. I get stressed out eating alone and given the choice, would rather stay at home for a homecooked meal.

Unfortunately, I was on my own at a conference this week in Boston, and was not going to settle for inedible room service. An inquiry with the concierge led to my walk across the Back Bay area on a deliciously warm evening to B&G oysters, a seafood restaurant/bar built for solo diners. The open kitchen and surrounding marble bar dominates the long and narrow room and the bar seats offer a good view of the happenings in the cooking area, the calculated shucking of the oysters, the opening of wine bottles, the feverish pace which the chef kept, prepping 5 dishes at once. My server was helpful and knowledgeable but never overbearing and steered me into a few oysters from about a dozen other choices to start. She picked her favorites from the local region (no west coast oysters that day) and the Island Creek oysters from Massachusetts did not disappoint, pristine and plump, sweet and slippery. The only one I didn't enjoy as much is the better known blue point oyster, which was a little chewy. I judiciously stopped at 3, but looked enviously on at another diner three seats away who ordered a dozen for himself, just for starters, before proceeding to order a "real" appetizer and a main course.
I selected the spicy clam stew from a dozen or so entrees as my main course and watched while the chef prepared my meal. In a few frenzied motions, no spare movements wasted, he sauteed the onions, tomato and garlic rapidly, fried the chorizo, added the clams, poured in the broth and served the stew in the instant the clams opened up. The littleneck clams were chewy and amazingly sweet, pairing up well with spicy chorizo, pungent scallions and crunchy crostini that I dunked repeatedly into the stew. As I ate I could just imagine how wonderful the clams would have tasted, raw and dressed with a spritz of lemon. Unfortunately, the clam dish is too popular and the restaurant seldom has extra that they can sell on the half-shell, but they would be happy to do so if available. An ice cold beer to wash everything down followed and I spent a few happy minutes chatting with my server, discussing her favorite dishes and observing the crowd in the room. While pairs and trios made up most of the clientele, there were others like me, eating contentedly, happy to be alone.

B&G Oysters
550 Tremont St, Boston MA 02118