We've been walking by the windows of Select Oyster Bar all winter watching and waiting for signs of the opening of this restaurant from chef Michael Serpa who had served us so many spectacular meals during his years at Neptune Oyster.
Yesterday, we went in for lunch, to taste, to try it, and to enjoy a couple of hours off during a very busy week. Fortunately, we snapped a few photos with our phones to record our first meal in a place we hope will become a neighborhood hang out for us.
Penny decided to splurge on the pan-roasted Maine lobster with Vidalia spring onion, brown butter, and lemon. With her first bite, it was clear that we were going to write about it. After a couple more bites she proclaimed, "Move over Jasper White, there's a new pan-roasted lobster champ in town and his name is Michael Serpa!"
Penny's Take on Her Lunch
I know that I will always remember my first bite of food at Select. Just as years after Jasper's closed, in my mind, I could still taste that wonderful pan-roasted lobster that Jasper White made famous.
Michael Serpa has put his special spin on this classic preparation with just a few ingredients and a great deal of skill with the pan. Smoky, sweet, slightly grilled onion flavor, balanced with nutty brown butter and lemon, bathed every cranny of a beautiful hard-shelled lobster.
The lobster meat was so tender that I was not afraid to offer Ed a piece of the tail meat early on my way to devouring everything but the shells. (Ed is very fussy about how his lobster tails are cooked.)
I did share a bit of claw and a piece of onion, but for this lunch, he was on his own. He would not be eating part of my meal. I told him I would be awhile and that he should order more food if he was still hungry. So, he did.
Ed's Lunch Notes
First of all, the lobster – the tiny bit that I managed to salvage from Penny’s grip – was, as she said, so tender (including the tail) that it reached applause-worthy perfection!
The mignonette sauce for my oysters (with the onion element chopped so fine it remained in suspension) was served in a easy-to-squirt bottle and added a nice accent to my Island Creeks.
The Icelandic Arctic Char, cooked just enough and combined with crispy skin, was a perfect intro dish.
While Penny was still busy with her lobster, I tried the Blackboard Crudo of the Day: Tender chunks of Yellowfin Tuna with bright accents.
Wines Were a Hit, Too
Penny was looking for something a bit lighter for an afternoon wine and picked Jean-Francois Merieau "Bulles" Touraine Sparkler. She borrowed the bottle to add a photograph of the label to our wine app. It is now on our wishlist next time we go wine shopping.
Ed enjoyed the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc which paired well with his oysters and char. Txakoli (Arregi), aerated with a pour from on-high, was a fitting match for the tuna and allowed us to linger at the end of the meal.
Service Charge Memo
We do want to put readers on notice that there is a service charge of 20% added to the pre-tax portion of the bill at Select. We don't mind, since we normally tip that or more. We took advantage of the extra tip line on our first bill to round up a bit, the way we would have if we were filling in the tip.
There are a number of conversations going on in the Boston food world about this decision to make certain the wait staff is properly rewarded for their efforts. We see a number of positive aspects and will write about that later.
All we'll say for now is that we know where we'll suggest going with anyone who quibbles about tips or embarrasses us by leaving too little. At Select, we won't have to sneak back to the table to slip a bit extra to the staff or make it up to them the next time we dine.
And that's a good thing, because we'll be looking for any excuse to go back to Select Oyster Bar, soon and often.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2015 Penny & Ed Cherubino