Boston, as you may know, is a town known for both its Irish and Italian heritage. Boston’s Little Italy is in the North End, which is a beautiful neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets, Italian restaurants, and many chic little shops, and it’s a tourist trap. Still, many gems are found in North End. Neptune Oysters is one, lobster tail is another.
Now in Boston, there are a couple of landmarks that are a must-see for all self-respecting foodies and Lobster Tail or sfogiatella is a Boston staple. It is literally a crispy lobster tail made with phyllo pastry that can be filled with either whipped ricotta cream or whipped cream. In Boston, there is quite a debate on which pastry shop makes the best lobster tail. There is Mike’s Pastry, which is a famous and very touristy shop. And there’s Modern Pastry, which is just as famous and even more delicious, but not as much of a tourist trap.
Here is my lobster tail experience: after putting my name down at Neptune Oysters and being told there is a half-hour wait, I ran over to Maria’s Pastry, another Italian pastry shop known for its lobster tails and cannolis, found that it was actually closed for the night, so I ran to Modern Pastry, two blocks away, and got my lobster tail. My original plan was that the lobster tail will make a great dessert after my dinner at Neptune’s. I thought the lobster tail was just going to be a tiny, crispy little thing, kinda like a sleek little cannoli. I could totally finish that in a couple of bites.
When I finished dinner and got back to my airbnb, intending on savoring my lobster tail, that was when I actually tried to lift the pastry out of the box. Holy. Shit. I swear, they piped about 2 pounds of ricotta cream in the lobster tail. The pastry was so heavy, I could barely lift the thing. I finally realized that the pastry is called a lobster tail, not just for its appearance, but because it also weigh about the same as a lobster tail.
At the end, I could only eat some of the crispy shell dipped in the ricotta cream. At Modern Pastry, the lobster tails are only filled with the ricotta cream after it has been ordered. So a couple of hours after I bought it, the shell was still quite crispy, not soggy and only a little soft and chewy inside, where it has been soaked in the cream. The ricotta cream was lightly sweet, but overall very rich and heavy.
Having learned my lesson, I still highly recommend people to try the lobster tail in Boston. Modern Pastry, Maria’s Pastry or Bova’s Bakery, which is deeper inside the North End neighborhood, are all good options. Lobster tail is a landmark that’s not to be missed. However, 1 lobster tail can easily feed 3 people for dessert, or 2 hungry people.
If you can finish a lobster tail by yourself after dinner, then from the bottom of my heart, I salute you.