Stoddard's Pub, Boston: pros and cons
Fantastic charcuterie plate.
(Not a great shot; had to use the flash because the place is extra-dark.)
Delicately seasoned sausage studded with sliced, soft-boiled quail egg; thinly sliced fresh pastrami; an earthy rabbit liver pâté; a solid pâté de campagne; and various other terrines, rilletes, and cured meats.
Mabe I'm going out on a limb, but this was one of the best charcuterie plates I've had in a long while (aside from Eastern Standard's, whose selection, at least this week, included a rabbit liver pâté that looked like glossy chocolate mousse and was thick enough to stand a spoon in):
Wait — are there any other upsides to Stoddard's? They do have an extensive beer list that includes local brews (from Cape Ann Brewing, Pretty Things, Cisco) as well as a range of European pilsners, ales and stouts.
That it? Okay then:
Guess what this is:
Water? Nope. Sprite? No, but close; it's a French 75. Note the plastic straw.
(This was how it looked at the end our dinner, so most of the ice has melted.)
Now, I don't pretend to be a master mixologist, so I checked a few recipes on my bookshelf and online. And some do call for ice. But this was way too much, overwhelming the flavors of the ingredients; it tasted like chilled lemon water. (And none of the recipes suggested serving in a hurricane glass.)
I think I was most disappointed because the cocktail menu implied an awareness of the current revival (Moscow Mule, Jack Rose, Pegu Club). But our drinks — The Boy had some kind of Sour that was similarly dressed — suggested someone was cutting corners Archimedes-style to save a few bucks.
Interestingly, the Stoddard's list on MenuPages features dozens more cocktails than currently appear on the menu, so at some point they decided to scale back their more ambitious approach.
The rest of the food was good, not great. I had a spicy, juicy merguez in a toasted hot dog roll, served with dry, hardening fries; The Boy went for pork loin, which was tasty but overcooked, served with grilled asparagus and sad, gluey grits.
So what have we learned? Stoddard's is probably great if you just go to pair the charcuterie plate with some interesting beers. Also if you're with a crowd and you want to be able to get loud.
But otherwise? Many better places to choose from.