Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stoddard's Pub, Boston: pros and cons

Let's start with the good stuff.

Pros
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):



Cons
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:

Cons
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.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Eric Schuller said...

Another con: Despite the solid beer list, the staff knows very little about the beer offerings. Also, they charge $10 for a glass of cask beer (not a proper pint), which is ridiculously overpriced. I paid that much once in Manhattan, but for a full pint. In manhattan. Not Boston.

Pro: The Sunday brunch is kinda cool (and much more laid back than the evening crowd). Live music and a special menu that includes discounted cask ales.

My overall take is that it's a decent option if you're in Downtown Crossing and not expecting much in the way of knowledgeable service (or reasonable prices), but it's not worth making a special trip.

10:04 AM  
Blogger LimeyG said...

I've decided that if you're in Downtown Crossing, Marliave is a much better option.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are lame and don't know your ass from your elbow. The smoked ham grits are SUPERB

1:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Eric IT IS A 16oz "proper" pt ass clown.I dare you to go in and challenge that.

& Limey you should change your name to wankaG. What possible food back ground do you have? You have been to Stoddard's what? Once? You clearly didn't like the cocktail why didn't you send it back. STUPID. Why so you could play it off that you are some type of foodie critic? Please another wannabe, who couldn't hack in the industry. Who are these people? Is your life that f'n bad that you need to vent this way? Fool. I have read through your "blogs" & you are a terrible writer without a clue of what you are writing about. The fact that you think the Marliave is a better option speaks volumes about you. The funny thing is that you try to stay anonymous like people would be fawning over you. What a joke you are. I have been to Stoddard's a bunch of times food is great, staff is awesome and the cocktails are some of the best in the City. I have been a chef in this city and NYC for 30 years that is my back ground.What is yours? Do us all favor and stay out of my industry

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Eric IT IS A 16oz "proper" pt ass clown.I dare you to go in and challenge that.

& Limey you should change your name to wankaG. What possible food back ground do you have? You have been to Stoddard's what? Once? You clearly didn't like the cocktail why didn't you send it back. STUPID. Why so you could play it off that you are some type of foodie critic? Please another wannabe, who couldn't hack in the industry. Who are these people? Is your life that f'n bad that you need to vent this way? Fool. I have read through your "blogs" & you are a terrible writer without a clue of what you are writing about. The fact that you think the Marliave is a better option speaks volumes about you. The funny thing is that you try to stay anonymous like people would be fawning over you. What a joke you are. I have been to Stoddard's a bunch of times food is great, staff is awesome and the cocktails are some of the best in the City. I have been a chef in this city and NYC for 30 years that is my back ground.What is yours? Do us all favor and stay out of my industry

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BIG Surprise the fraud that is "Limey" G didn't post my comment. Ahhh you don't like being called out?

8:30 AM  

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