Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving at Eastern Standard

So, you want to hear about Thanksgiving lunch at Eastern Standard? Sure you do!

The day itself was lovely; we checked in to the Hotel Commonwealth, which inexplicably and wonderfully always smells of lemons, and got a corner room on the fifth floor with views over Kenmore Square and down Comm Ave.

And then we went down to Eastern Standard for lunch.

We started with drinkies: a glass of sparkly Schloss Gobelsburg Brut Reserve for me, and a Houdini for The Boy.

Thanksgiving, Eastern Standard

The Houdini (genever, Cocchi and benedictine) and the Gala Brand (made with house apricot vermouth — in which apricots are first soaked in gin for six weeks — and finished with bubbles) are my two favorite recent additions to the cocktail menu.

And then food. First, oysters from Bar Harbor and Eastham. Below is the latter, juicy and tender, called Sunken Meadow Gem. Love that name.

Thanksgiving, Eastern Standard

Then, from the Thanksgiving menu, The Boy went for salad, a loose pile of greens with a light sherry vinaigrette, scattered with pumpkin seeds.

Thanksgiving, Eastern Standard

I had apparently decided it was necessary to have more oysters; these are baked, topped with brioche crumbs, sitting on buttery leeks with a hint of rosemary:

Thanksgiving, Eastern Standard

As usual, we both ordered turkey. There were other nice-looking options on the menu (roast venison, pork osso bucco with polenta, New York strip steak with truffled potatoes), but well, you know, turkey!

And it was this.

Thanksgiving, Eastern Standard

"It looks like cafeteria food," said The Boy. It did.

And perhaps our disappointment was in part because last year's Thanksgiving at Eastern Standard was so much prettier. (The link opens in a new window so you can compare and contrast.)

The turkey was moist and flavorful, though the gravy was already a little congealy by the time it reached us. The yam was extremely candied; the potato was smooth and buttery; the cornbread stuffing was unexpectedly light and airy and laced with fresh herbs. All in all, pretty good, though it did leave me thinking wistfully of last year's meal.

But wait — there was still dessert!

The Boy got the punkin pie, which came with a puddle of dark chocolate for a creative flavor contrast.

Thanksgiving, Eastern Standard

I chose the apple and huckleberry pie; the big chunks of apple were still quite crunchy, and I'm not sure whether this was a bug or a feature. Maybe I just prefer my pie fruit to be more yielding and comforty. The anise ice cream was nice, though.

Thanksgiving, Eastern Standard

We contemplated a cheese course, but then decided we were too full. But then I got a text from LC Sarah about the cheese plate she'd devised for her family Thanksgiving dinner: Munster, Manchego, Cotswold and Chabis Feuille. (You'd think she'd taken a cheese class or something!)

Thanksgiving cheese plate

So Thanksgiving at Eastern Standard was good. But ... it wasn't as good as we expected. And I think I've decided it's not a good idea to do Turkey Day at the same place twice.

Compare with our two Thanksgivings at Rialto: the first was almost perfect in terms of food, service, and atmosphere, while the second saw us squashed between large parties and served courses out of order.

It was the same here. And maybe memory gives everything a rosy tint (though having photos and a write-up provide focus) but I think, to be safe, we'll come up with a new plan for next year.

Hey, we might even stay home.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds very dissappointing! Maybe you should stay home next year?

4:41 PM  

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