Often praised and spoken about, the burger at Neptune Oyster in the North End was my next destination is search of the best burger in Boston. To no surprise, the menu is dominated by fresh seafood, leave it to this nitwit to order one of two dishes on the menu that featured beef, it felt like I was ordering off the kids’ menu. It’s my fault for thinking this burger would be excellent, how could a burger be any good at a seafood restaurant? It’s different, I’ll give you that, maybe that’s why it’s so beloved, when do you ever see a burger with fried oysters? I feel that too often people like or dislike their meals before they even eat. Brioche, ground beef, garlic mayo, oysters and relish may sound appealing, but does it actually work well together? In my opinion, it does not, too much burger and way too much bun overwhelm everything else in this burger, despite being pretty well seasoned.
Let’s start with the beef, as any good burger blogger should do. It’s above average in quality, probably nothing more than Chuck but I could be mistaken, and seasoned nicely. But it’s over-cooked most of the way, medium about 75% of the burger, then oddly a perfect medium-rare for my last few bites. Either way it’s more or less dry and not juicy like a burger should be. I was excited for fried oysters, but whatever attempt that was made at breading these guys was a failure, with only a couple of scattered bread crumbs managing to cling to the oysters, not like a fully breaded offering I was expecting. And there were only three sad little oysters, really not serving much of a purpose other than the addition of the fresh smell of the ocean, which I don’t think I need with my burger, but that’s just me. The relish offers a nice tang, but it can’t stand up to the size of this burger, which is much too big both in the meat category and in the bread category. My old nemesis brioche comes up again, and fails again, and we’ve seen this too many times before; it’s too much bread and it almost never works on a burger, no matter how pretty it looks.
The French Fries are perfect, however, arriving crispy, fried to perfection, and salty in that glorious way that only a French Fry can be. I do believe that the burger could be improved upon by being a bit smaller, I’m not saying every burger has to be thin and griddled just to feed my preference, there’s a place in my burger heart for a thick and juicy burger unequivocally, but too often larger burgers initiate more problems. It’s not always easy to cook the proper temperature throughout, ingredients get lost along the way (garlic mayo was supposed to be on the burger, could have fooled me) and it can never be harmonious because you end up alternating between a bite of bread, a bite of meat, and the occasional taste of a condiment, but rarely do the ingredients come together at the same time.
Overall Score: 75