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Pearls Before Wine

It would seem, from my recent experience, that the Legal Seafood restaurant at Cambridge Center near Central Square is perhaps the hardest restaurant to find in the Greater Boston area. Despite being armed with a full address, printed directions and a BlackBerry with both GPS and Google Maps our taxi driver was still entirely unable to find the restaurant until one of my enterprising companions spotted the six-foot high neon sign as we sped past for the third time. Then again, our driver could probably win an award for being the most stubborn and obtuse man in the country. Luckily, the rest of the evening passed much more successfully.

[If you were thinking about joining the Wine and Cuisine Society, but decided not to, or thinking of signing up for the oyster tasting and changed your mind, look away now, or spend the rest of the week kicking yourself.]

Six courses involving oysters may seem excessive to some, but the chef at Legal Seafoods came up with a menu varied enough in both form and flavour to showcase pretty much every aspect of this king of crustaceans. Raw, warm, fried, with soup and in a shot glass to start with, accompanied by creations as diverse as tomato and red pepper sorbet and wasabi coulis (at least I think that is what it was). The accompanying drinks were no less varied, although to be honest fitting in a shot of chilled Grey Goose between champagne and a fine sauternes offended the purist in me. However, the matching shot of oyster, creme fraiche and caviare that accompanied the vodka more than made up for it.

The company was similarly delightful and varied: I had the good fortune to be within tickling distance of the Organizer (many thanks and adulations), an Old Friend (and his charming ladyfriend) and a New Friend (and RC to boot – talk about diversity).

The table conversation continued the theme, being about many good things such as photography, world politics and gossip about mutual acquaintances, but minimal discussion of school restricted to my usual doling out of wise EC to RC advice. Most importantly, there was no mention of sport at my table, despite there being a Red Sox game going on and my Old Friend being a white, Midwestern American male. Proof that it is possible to find one that isn’t obsessed with people catching, throwing and hitting balls. Unfortunately he is obsessed with investment banking instead, but you can’t win them all, and at least he rarely tries to bring that up over dinner. The New Friend is not American and therefore has as yet avoided the national obsession, and the Organizer has the sense, as a European woman, to squash that sort of chat as soon as it rears its head.

Finally, the evening was rounded off by a delightful post-party at the home of some other friends involving extremely fine whisky, a playful kitten and the solving of all the world (well, the US)’s problems. Perfect evening.

Key takeaways: join the WCS, most thing in shot glasses are good, never ask me to write a restaurant review.

November 13, 2007
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