Oyster Sliders @ Island Creek

500 Commonwealth Avenue,  Boston, MA

Two suggestions to enjoy Island Creek at its best:

1. Sit at the bar: you will be in the best position to explore the details of the interiors design.

2. Order the oyster sliders: you will have an ecstatic oyster experience.

The sliders are a simple concept: a lightly toasted bun, with a fried oyster, a couple of arugula leaves, lightly marinated onion and mayo-based sauce. What makes them great is the quality of the ingredients and the careful preparation.

The ingredients bring flavors that support the oyster, without taking the main spot on the stage. The sauce is light, the onions are smoothed by the marination process and the brioche bun is delicate. The crunchy breadcrumbs create an incredible contrast with the texture of the oyster. The arugula adds freshness without being overly bitter. All these components gravitate around the oyster: its bouquet of flavors elevates all the ingredients, making this dish an absolute delicacy.

The first bite is a memorable sequence: the fluffy and sweet bun, the fresh arugula, the sauce, the crunchy coating and, finally, the oyster.

The meal could finish here. However, if the doctor recommended avoiding fried dishes, you could go for a fine fluke carpaccio or  for a selection of the oysters of the day.

  

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Lobster Roll @ Top of the Hub

800 Boylston Street #52  Boston, MA

One of my personal rules for choosing a restaurant states that restaurants in panoramic locations are more likely to provide memorable views than memorable food. There are obviously some exceptions to this rule, and the Top of the Hub is one of these.

The lobster roll is served in warm and delicious bun loaded with lobster, mayo and celery. The lobster is available in quantity and quality; the mayo is light and not overwhelming. The celery should be in smaller amount, however it adds freshness and texture that counterbalance the lobster-mayo combination. The house-made chips are crunchy, flavorful and never enough.

Overall, an outstanding roll that is just a few notches below the lobster roll stardom

If you wonder how the view is, take a look at the picture below.

Thinking Cup

165 Tremont Street  Boston, MA
The Thinking Cup is located in front of Boston Commons, making it an ideal stop before adventuring in the park on a week-end day . The combination of modern interior design, layout and dim lights reminds me of a Starbucks. Luckily, the similarities end here. The espresso is served in two-color coffee cup that I found in other places offering Stumptown Coffee (I wonder if the coffee supply includes both beans and cups). The coffee is dense, not excessively strong in flavor and with low acidity.
Stumptown Coffee confirms its outstanding quality also here, in Boston.

Simon’s Coffee

1736 Massachusetts Avenue  Cambridge, MA
Massachusetts Avenue is like its name: long, varied and with a nice rhythm. As you walk on Mass Av, past the bridge on Charles River, the rigorous MIT’s buildings and Harvard’s red bricks show how physically close, culturally different and equally magnificent these academic institutions are.

More importantly, a few blocks from Harvard, there is Simon’s Coffee. Here you can choose different coffee beans for different types of coffee drinks. Three separate coffee grinders are available to the experienced barista and to the adventurous espressonist. The espresso comes as a double shot. In some places, “double shot” means a little bit more hot water than in single shot. Here at Simon’s it means twice the coffee in the same amount of water. The result is a pure blast of caffeine: the mild  acidity of the first sip is wiped out by the bouquet of flavors that come later. The almond cake with cinnamon pleasantly balanced the bitterness of the coffee.

  

Espresso Royale Caffé

286 Newbury St, Boston, MA
As you enter Espresso Royale Caffé you get the feeling of a coffee place in New York’s Greenwich village. The first steps take you through the barista’s kingdom, where the Marzocco machine is clear example that in some special cases aluminum can smell of coffee. A few more steps, and the natural light disappears, exactly like in coffee bars in the Greenwich Village. Even more New York style are the bagels, available in different preparations.We’ll leave the bagels for the next visit: it’s coffee time, now. The cup is hot from the top of the machine. The coffee hits your nostrils with a strong scent, and then lingers on your palate with a long lasting flavor.  I would suggest slightly reducing the amount of water, to get a right-sized espresso.