Mare Oyster Bar is an Italian seafood restaurant in the North End, with an extensive menu including a raw bar, caviar service, and a mix of classic New England fare like fried clams and gourmet dishes with ingredients like truffles. The original Mare recently closed and reopened as Mare Oyster Bar, but most of the menu remained the same (a fact for which I am extremely grateful).
I tried the original Mare for the first time during restaurant week a few years ago. A friend and I shared the truffle pasta and chicken under a brick, and loved them so much we went back a couple of days later for the exact same thing! The truffle pasta in particular was my favorite, and I returned to Mare several times without ever trying another entrée. When Mare Oyster Bar opened, I went in planning to order the pasta as usual and sample some oysters and new apps. However, the hot buttered lobster roll on the menu quickly changed my mind!
According to plan, I started with a selection of oysters. I decided to go with a sampling of east coast, from Canada to Virginia. My favorites were the first light from Mashpee, MA, which had a great salty flavor.
Next I tried a special soft shell crab appetizer. It was deep fried, served with grilled bok choy, and an orange soy sauce. It was fresh, delicious and I was glad I chose Mare for my first soft shell crab of the season!
When the entree arrived, I knew the hot buttered lobster roll was the right decision. It was described on the menu as the meat from a 2 ½ lb. lobster, and when it came out the meat was completely overflowing from the buttery roll. It wasn't the whole 2 ½ lb. lobster, but each roll came with one claw and could easily have been half! It was warm, fresh, and buttery, and tied the truffle pasta for the top two dishes at Mare.
I truly enjoyed my experience at Mare Oyster Bar, and was glad that all of the changes seemed to be positive. It reaffirmed the restaurant as one of my top picks for Boston, and I will definitely be back soon!