I went to B&G last week, my third or fourth time since they opened, and I have decided that it now is one of my favorite places in Boston.
Let's start with my meal. I ordered two specials: lobster bisque, and fish and chips. The lobster bisque was easily the best I've ever had. It was rich in the way lobster bisque should be, but not overpoweringly rich; more rich in flavor than rich in the way one normally thinks of it. And it was full of very small chunks of sweet, tender lobster. I watched the fish and chips made right before me. They make it with sole, which is far too delicate for the heavy batter that many places use. B&G's batter was extremely light, and while some might have preferred a crispier batter, I suspect that they use a light, less crisp batter so as not to overwhelm the delicate fish. In any event, it was wonderful.
My wife and I were sitting at the counter right in front of the oyster shuckers, so we got a great view of the chefs who work that side of the kitchen (principally salads and the frialator), as well as the station at which the waitstaff picks up food from the kitchen. We were able to see first hand how much care goes into the preparation and service of each dish.
Ok, now let me address the prices. This place is not cheap. Many have complained about the $2 oysters. (By the way, I was at Skipjack's in Newton this weekend -- which was bad even by Skipjack's standards -- and they charge $2 an oyster, too.) The fish and chips was, I think, $17, whereas many of us can find a perfectly decent fish and chips in this city for $7.95. But B&G offers a different product: both in terms of the quality of the food and the quality of the dining experience. I think many of us are fooled by how casual the restaurant appears to be; there is nothing casual about how serious they take everything from the quality of the ingredients, to the preparation, to the service. (You could tell that even the dollop of coleslaw served with my fish was hand made, as opposed to being served from a big tub purchased from an institutional food service vendor, as is the case at most places.) The prices means that B&G cannot be an everyday place, but I do think they provide value for their prices.
The bottom line is that I B&G is now at the top of my list.
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