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I love the Gallows

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The Gallows - the new gastropub in the old Sage space on Washington St (South End) - opened this weekend. I saw the crowd there last night, thought the menu looked great, so we tried it out tonight. I loved it.

We weren't hungry enough to sample a huge selection of the menu, but everything we had was very good, and the best was simply brilliant.

-They have a selection of different poutines - one traditional, one veggie, one with foie, one rotating special. This is awesome. We ordered the traditional. They make their own curds, which were soft and delicious. They use a fabulous dark chicken gravy and cut their own fries. I went to Montreal this winter and sampled several poutines, and only Au Pied du Cochon's was superior. Highlight of the meal, immediately on my list of best foods in Boston. The presentation is the height of simplicity, just a pile of fries covered in curds, gravy, and a little scallion for color.

-They have a nice cheese list - all local, New England - and a selection of appetizers mostly of the cured meat / cured fish / cured other things variety. For sampling purposes, they have platters - one of meats and cheeses, one of vegetables, fruits, and cheeses, one of fish and cheeses. We had the "longshoreman's platter", including a bluefish terrine, a tuna pate, smoked scallops, horseradish cured beets, a potato salad, and a hard boiled egg. The bluefish terrine was a brilliant dish, showcasing the bluefish while mellowing it with butter and dill. It tasted of everything I love about New England. The tuna pate and smoked scallop were fine, but nothing special, the horseradish beets were perfectly balanced, still tasted of beet with a nice horseradish kick, and the potato salad was simple and well-seasoned. I don't understand hard-boiled eggs - I guess this one was fine, but eggs are better when they aren't hard-boiled.

-They have a bunch of different salads, we got the arugula salad with balsamic, fresh strawberries and blue cheese. It was very good.

-A couple things on the menu I mean to try later: the California-style flat patty burger, and the "New England Boiled Dinner" of corned beef, brisket, and short rib with seasonal vegetables.

-The beer list is good. I thought it was a bit short for an apparent gastropub, but it hit its marks with good American and Belgian offerings.

-I watched them make the cocktails, and they bartenders are measuring properly, no free pouring. My "corpse reviver" was a take on the Corpse Reviver #2, but I think they used simple syrup as the sweetening agent rather than Cointreau, and the absinthe didn't show up at all - it was more like a summery gin sling than a perfectly balanced corpse reviver. Nice enough, but I don't think messing with the classic got them anywhere.

-The service was amazing for a second night. Our server was incredibly helpful and well-informed on the menu, and there were no hitches at all in the service. I would never have guessed it was the second night if I didn't already know it.

The Gallows is precisely what the South End has been missing for years. Great place, I highly recommend it to all.

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  1. Thanks for the fine, detailed early report!

    I managed to sneak a look at the space before it was finished, think it's very attractive, brighter and lighter than I imagined from its "reclaimed barn siding" description. It preserves practically nothing from the look of Sage and Caffe Umbra, though the bar is in the same spot. Rustic materials, but quite handsome.

    I agree that the concept has the potential to fill a big hole in the neighborhood. I remember this team *very* fondly from their days opening The Biltmore, which was never remotely the same after their idiot's-idiot owner pushed them out. Can't wait to try it myself.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1. Great to hear that the South End has a new place worth checking out. Love the sound of the platters! yummmmmm
      Cant wait to try the poutine!

      1. Thanks for this post. I am so happy to hear about the Poutine!

        Was recently yammering to a friend about the lack of good gastropubs in Boston. I suppose Deep Ellum and Lord Hobo qualify, but I've never heard GREAT things about their food. There seems to be a deep Gastropub movement in Washington DC -- here's hoping it moves up North.

        -----
        Deep Ellum Bar
        477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

        Lord Hobo
        92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

        6 Replies
        1. re: yumyum

          I kind of hate the term "gastropub." "Gastro" is just not an appetizing prefix.

          1. re: robwat36

            I think the Brits were going for "gastronomy" when they coined it. Certainly the concept is appealing and not at all covered in the South End.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: robwat36

              I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels that way!

              I hate thinking about gastroenterology, gastric ulcers, or the gastrin hormone.

              1. re: Prav

                Here in Denver there's been a huge a) gastropub movement & b) uproar about the term "gastropub." The fact that I first heard it in London some 7/8 years ago makes me get less worked up about it. First one in town really was that place in Brookline whose name I can't remember, nor do I know if it's still there, gothic-church decor, decent eats some time back.

                Anyway, this place doesn't have a menu up anywhere, does it?

                1. re: tatamagouche

                  Good menu snapshot here: http://boston.grubstreet.com/2010/06/...

                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Thanks!

          2. Went Saturday night and loved it also. The ambience is MUCH improved over Sage (I actually believe that Sage failed because it had no real ambience; my husband thought it looked like a generic suburban restaurant). Love the reclaimed barn siding and the great lighting (lighting is so important!). I started my meal with a white grasshopper cocktail, which is served in a little milk jug with a straw and is delicious. Followed cocktails up with the foie poutine which was heavenly. Just heavenly. The only small criticism I might have is that it could have used a few more fries to enjoy the delicious foie and gravy. I had the potato dumplings (aka gnocchi), which were served with peas and asparagus and were quite good. Others had the boiled dinner, the longshoreman's, and the burger. Everyone was pleased with these. The soundtrack was good, too, until we could no longer hear it over the crowd. It does get noisy, so keep this in mind if you plan to take your grandparents or others who are hard of hearing! Think we will love having this place in the neighborhood. It's got a great vibe. Definitely the right addition to Washington Street!

            1 Reply
            1. re: hsquare2southend

              Went to a pre-opening last Thursday night, have to agree that the Poutine and all the many pork dishes I sampled were fantastic. Can't wait to try that burger, can't think of many restaurants doing the West-Coast Style burger that isn't a fast-food atmosphere.

            2. Gather round kids -- I have good news! No, GREAT news! For all of us who have been pissing and moaning about the lack of poutine in Boston, our prayers have been answered. I tried the Gallows "out of control" poutine last night and it's totally legit.

              They have four types of poutine -- traditional, spring, foie, and "out of control" which is a daily special. Last night's special featured sweetbreads, lardons, english peas and spring onions in addition to the fries, curds and gravy. It was over the top, off the hook, out of control for sure. I have to give a special shout out to the gravy -- a rich chicken based elixir that was like the best of the pan juices thickened just a bit. Some places go too gloopy on this element but not the Gallows. Fries crispy, ample toppings, and a good size to share.

              Neighbors to the right got the scotch eggs, which appeared perfectly done -- still runny yolk, nice firm pack on the sausage meat. Neighbors to the left had the burger. The meat is ground in house and formed into thinnish patties (West Coast style) and I thought their eyes were going to roll back in their heads as they gobbled it up.

              The room, as others have mentioned, is a huge step up from the interior of Sage. It feels clean and modern and made me realize that Sage really was outdated, especially toward the end. Bartenders friendly, maybe a little schticky (introduced by name, he made a point of calling me by name for the rest of the night. A nice touch at first but a little over the top by the 25th time). I did appreciate that he suggested a chilled lambrusco for dessert and it was perfect. They have a good vibe going behind the bar -- the team gets along. Food came a little slowly but I'll wait for quality.

              Based on my first visit, I think the Gallows is going to be a smashing success.

              7 Replies
              1. re: yumyum

                That truly sounds over the top...I am going to have all my cardiologist friends put their business cards in the window.

                Heading to the Gallows, indeed!

                1. re: yumyum

                  I must eat every one of the those items immediately. And luckily, I enjoy being addressed by name as much as possible.

                  1. re: nsenada

                    I didn't mean to dismiss what they are trying to do there ... I like that they attempting to make it convivial, but picture "welcome nsenada!" "hows the poutine nsenada?".... "can I get you another glass of wine nsenada?" ..... "can I clear this for you nsenada?"....."here's the check nsenda!" ..... "come back soon nsenada" It felt a little bit forced. But I suffered through it for the sweetbreads. ;-)

                    1. re: yumyum

                      I would suffer through just about anything for good poutine. Reminds me of a sad restaurant I went to in Lewiston, ME in my college days, where the waiter called me "monsignor," and pronounced "Fetzer" with a French accent.

                      1. re: nsenada

                        I have great expectations of this place based on what the chef/bar/FoH management team did in the early days of The Biltmore. In retrospect, I'm glad (or I'll say it works out for me) that their a-hole of an owner got rid of them, because the South End is a lot easier for me than the hinterlands of Newton.

                        (You have to admit: fate-ZAIR does sound like a classier wine.)

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          Indeed, I felt very classy, and very exotic when he explained that baklava was the "national dessert of Greece."

                          I am determined to make it to The Gallows, especially in light of missing "the good Biltmore." I went after they opened with the "new team," and have kicked myself for not making it earlier. A friend got some kind of pork shank special that had apparently been on the "old menu," and I kid you not, it was frozen solid from two millimeters in to the bone. Given the location and lack of other options, that place is still a license to print money. They are always packed when I pass by.

                          -----
                          The Biltmore
                          1205 Chestnut St, Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464

                          1. re: nsenada

                            The temporary new Biltmore was just awful.

                            I must get back to wiping the droolz off my keyboard after reading about above poutine.

                            -----
                            The Biltmore
                            1205 Chestnut St, Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464

                2. Anyone have any details on the burger here? I find it really exciting that a place would describe its burger deliberately as a flat patty burger with American cheese. And for a place with an emphasis on poutine, I have high hopes for their regular old plain fries, too. Can't wait to try this place for its burger and so much else... Has anyone tried the chicken yet?

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Mike5966

                    Someone told me that the burger was served on a brioche roll, which is my personal bugbear, but I have since been assured that it's an egg-brushed, griddled deli roll, which is very encouraging.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Went to the Gallows the other night. Everyone pretty much captures my feelings on the food so I will focus on the things people haven't mentioned.... The 'executive hostess' i.e. owner stopped by our table twice to check on us and ask for constructive criticism, which I really liked- seemed very earnest about wanting to know. I didn't have the heart to tell her that our waiter was sweet and obviously trying very hard, but ended up being more overbearing and bordering on intrusive. However, I'm sure some people like that kind of attention and everything arrived on time so I can't complain that much. Anyway, the owner also introduced us to a couple 'off menu' items that made me REALLY happy. A post dinner snifter of Boone's Farm wine (watermelon flavor) and mini cremees with jimmies. Obviously not very chowish, but brought me to a happy adolescent place. I will definitely be back.

                      1. re: MParente

                        They have Boone's Farm? That's hilarious!

                      2. re: MC Slim JB

                        Burger report: The burger is not bad, but the fries are delicious. Super crispy, light, airy, and stay tasty even after they've cooled down a bit. Even more impressive is their house-made ketchup, and although a little too thin in its consistency for proper dipping, the mild and slightly sweet taste was great with the fries. There are microscopic bits of fresh tomato in there, too, and if they could just thicken it up a bit, it would be perfect. I wanted to be able to get more ketchup on each fry but the thin consistency prevented this. However, the taste was so good, at the end of the meal I wanted to and did, in fact, sip this ketchup from the little silver cup it came in. This is proof of principle of how tasty (and how thin) it is. I prefer the taste of this ketchup to Craigie's house-made ketchup.

                        As far as the actual burger, it is indeed a flat patty, somewhere between 1/2 and 1/3 lb., I'd guess, with a medium rare center. I thought the patty was a little too charred and could taste burnt bits while eating. The bun seemed to be a semi-brioche, definitely a little more buttery and rich than a supermarket white roll, but not so buttery as to overpower the burger. Comes with nicely melted white American cheese, iceberg lettuce, barely grilled onions that still retain their cruch, and house pickle slices inside the bun. The pickle slices were slightly sweet, not too saltly, and not overpowering. I was glad they were in there. Overall, the burger worked, and if they could just get the char factor down, I'd have this burger again. I still prefer the old cheeseburger at the pre-relocation Flat Patties in Cambridge, especially for the price (since you don't have to pay tax or tip; still cheaper even if you get the fries).

                        We also had the rabbit terrine (good but not blow-your-mind good), the clam stuffies (not enough clam meat pieces, a little too salty, but otherwise had good flavor and was hot with a crispy crust), and the chicken (comes with green beans, sliced grape tomatoes, and a "bread pudding" which is really just some buttery croutons that unfortunately got drowned in the balsamic vinaigrette that was seeping in from the green salad also on the same plate). They have $3 PBRs and also a decent $6 glass of shiraz.

                        1. re: Mike5966

                          Mike, glad you mentioned the house made ketchup. I too thought it was very tasty and good with the fries.

                      3. re: Mike5966

                        If it is similar to Seth's chicken at the Biltmore, it will be terrific. I LOVED that dish. Glad things are off to a good start, can't wait to get over and try it.

                        1. re: Angel Food

                          It certainly looked and smelled scrumptious -- and it's a LOAD of food.

                      4. Was excited that this place finally opened up and managed to stop by twice this week...here are a couple first impressions.

                        Food: Having enjoyed the chef's food at Vee Vee and the Biltmore I was not too suprised to find most things outstanding. My DC and I had the plougman's platter and thought the duck prosciutto was a standout. Also the country ham is probably the best I have ever tasted. As Slim mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I too was concerned when our server told us that the burger was on a brioche bun but happy to see it was served on a white bun instead. The burger while cooked perfectly was pretty tasteless as if they forgot to use salt and pepper. Didn't have it in me to get the poutine but the plates that passed me did look pretty amazing. The cheese selection too is impressive.

                        The cocktails listed on the menu did not stand out however they have the ingredients and chops to put out some pretty good stuff. The beer list is short but hits all the usuall marks. And while I did not have wine it is here where I was really impressed: very good list with some old favorites and new ones to try with several bottles just north of $30.

                        While all the staff were extrememly friendly and helpful execution is still something that needs work (which, given that they have been open a week is understandable). With the sheer volume of FOH employees I saw the nights I was there there were still times that I had to wait longer than one should to get a drink refill. Also, when the bottle of tap water is empty at least ask if we would like another.

                        The room itself has had quite a bit of work since it's Sage days and sadly I didn't care for it. It seems that they wanted to go for the derivative NYC-style scene of several years ago: lots of wood, edison bulbs, very Tom Colicchio-esq. BTW, what's up with the edison bulbs? I thought the Gallows was going with the "we're a green restaurant"? but I digress. Some people may take issue with several of the communal tables in the dining room however the seats were far enough apart to not make it in issue in my opinion. The one quirky thing I did like was the bust of a dinosaur above the doorway of the entrace.

                        In the end I think they will do great in the neighborhood and be a nice alternative to Foley's and the Franklin. I'm sure the service issues will be worked out and frankly what the room looks like is far down the list of important things like the quality of the food, drink and service/hospitality. I think DivGuy's love may be a bit premature but there is plenty to like about the place one week in.

                        -----
                        The Biltmore
                        1205 Chestnut St, Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464

                        Vee Vee
                        763 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

                        1. Can anyone tell me what their hours of operation are? On weekends my wife and I enjoy having a late lunch/early dinner around 3 to 4PM. Does anyone know if they are open around these times?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: RoyRon

                            I think it's just dinner hours at the moment.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          2. Is the veggie poutine vegetarian? Or just has vegetables but still chicken gravy?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: maillard

                              the gravy is made from mushrooms, I was told by the co-owner, all vegetarian.

                              1. re: rchudy

                                That's great to hear, thanks!

                              2. re: maillard

                                You can get any poutine with either the chicken or the mushroom gravy, I believe.

                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              3. We also had an excellent meal there this past weekend. Hope to post a more detailed review soon but in the meantime; place was rocking on a Friday night; service was extremely friendly --from hostess to wait staff to bartender ---everyone really accomodating and exuding genuine excitement about the place. First time I ever had poutine --we just got the traditional version and it was delicious...the menu is EXTREMELY reasonably priced. We had two glasses of wine, the poutine, country ham, smoky baked scallops app, half chicken and a sinfully delicious dessert (more on that in a minute) and bill was just under $75.00. More food than we could possibly eat, though we did our best. Now --the dessert. Not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet. Can't remember what it was called --but was basically in a terrine...with caramelized bananas on the bottom, followed by a layer of peanut butter, followed by a layer of chocolate, and lastly a layer of marshmallow.....they took the terrine and put it under the broiler, crisping the marshmallow and evoking the taste of marshmallows over a campfire on a summer night....mmmm. Everything was warm and gooey and utterly delicious. Best dessert I've had in a while. Maybe ever :)

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: twentyoystahs

                                  Love to read everyone's excited comments. I have been with about 15 friends over the course of 4 visits and am totally, completely, utterly in love with this new spot. If you have not been there yet, you should run-don't walk-to get in the door. This is just what Boston needed...

                                  2 fav things on the menu: scotch egg (delicious runny center...this chef certainly knows how to cook eggs...they are soft boiled, peeled, sausage carefully wrapped around, then breaded & fried...how anyone can cook an egg that soft, and then peel it without it breaking, then cook it again and have it come out so delicate and runny in the center is beyond me.) Also, love the blue fish pate...get this, it's summery with fresh dill...totally addictive. I would not have predicted my love of either one to this extreme...and I really like being surprised this way!

                                  We have all been sharing plates so I've been able to try a lot of the menu...4 kinds of poutine are off the hook. I've also tried the burger, NE boiled dinner, pork belly entree, and the potato dumpings (veg dish)...all fabulous. Plus, I don't like corned beef at all...but I really loved with Seth Morrison has done and I would order this plate for myself. Nice work, chef! Someone was asking about the burger...rest assured, this is a total American classic...and the hommade pickles are the perfect complement to this hand-packed, W. coast flat-patty style treat. The fries are superb...but the hidden gem is the exotic-spiced homemade ketchup. I have not had the chicken...but they tell me it's a happy organic chix from a Mennonite farm in Indiana.

                                  Apps are fab too...savory selection of meats and cheeses is great, and the fava & mint puree is great with good crusty bread for dipping. I had smoked scallops that were great...and, well, too much to remember it all in one Chow report.

                                  In short, this is a new Best of Boston waiting to happen...get there before it's totally packed 24/7. Oh, hours are 5pm-1am daily w/ food till 11...7 days a week. Delish!

                                  1. re: EatPayLeave

                                    Agree that this place will be drawing crowds very soon. I have observed that even when not full, it's a rather loud room, which given the amount of hard surfaces should not be a surprise.

                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      Another thumbs up, we went earlyish last night, started at the bar with Martinis and beer respectively, the bar was nice, good service, watched the end of the red sox, shared a ploughmans, with excellent quality cheeses, pickles.

                                      Then we got a table, very helpful server, we had the smoked scallop app. Smoked scallops gratinee with a roasted garlic head. Very, Very good.

                                      For mains we had the New England Boiled dinner(chef corns his own beef), Berkshire Pork and split the basic Poutine. Way too much food all very, very good.

                                      Only coffee after, no more room. All and all very good service, nicely done room. Very well executed dishes with high quality ingredients.

                                      The only thing I thought was lackin was the beer choices, Delerium, was probaly the high point, but they could use some better craft choices, too many bud, bud light,

                                      Other than that, I'll be hurrying back.

                                      1. re: Smokee

                                        They have Rapscallion, which I think is quite tasty.

                                2. I love the Gallows too. I went last night with a group of 6 and I hope to make it a regular spot as it is so close to my office. I really love the atmosphere, the decor is quite unique. I think the cocktail list, albeit small, is very creative. The bar staff didn't seem to have it all together, but I think those kinks need to be worked out in the beginning. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable of the menu. We started with the Out of Control Poutine which was a steak bomb and was out of control delicious and good! I'm glad our server warned us of how rich it was so that we didn't order 2 for the table. I would gladly come to The Gallows once a week to eat the quarter of the chicken ($13?) - the chicken was perfectly cooked, not too salty and the bread salad was so flavorful. As for dessert, I recommend that everyone try the Bananas foster fluffernutter brulee! The other desserts pale in comparison! So yummy thinking about our meal last night - can't wait to go back and try more dishes. Honestly, my only complaint was that is was very loud as the bar was a full scene and we had to yell across the table to hear each other.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: pink dress

                                    Also there on Monday, the noise is an issue, but as more people left the bar area, it got a bit quieter. We had the Spring poutine, which was divine. Also loved my soft shell crab sandwich and agree that the Bananas Foster Brulee dessert was out of this world. Still have to come back for the burger myself, but it got very high remarks from the table.

                                    1. re: rchudy

                                      I can't believe you didn't get the burger. SRSLY.

                                      1. re: yumyum

                                        I know I know.... for reason I felt like stepping outside my comfort zone and ordering something different. Funny, because the chef even came out and wanted to make sure the burger was to my liking because he must read the blog, had the break the news that it wasn't me who ordered the burger. I'll be back for sure though.

                                  2. Since my DH already has plans for the Festival de la Poutine in Quebec this fall.... Friday we did a quick driveby sort of dining experience, specifically to try the poutine. Although we blew in and out, service was superb and the poutine incredible. The housemade cheese curds were kind of like ricotta - but the flavor was good, and the chicken gravy amazing. I had a scallop appetizer in a broth that made me want to lick the bowl - our waiter noticed and brought bread to soak up the juice.

                                    I don't usually order desserts when we're out, but gave it a try based on the poutine and our waiter's knowledge of Boston pastry. The strawberry rhubarb cobbler was good - especially since the chef didn't go all Betty Crocker and over-sweeten the fruit! The peanut butter mousee with warm ganache and toasted fluff - was a great presentation and fun grouping of flavors. The bill was incredibly small for the quality. We will be back to spend more time with the food - this is a chef who's on his game!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: pastrytroll

                                      I had a sub par experience at the gallows on sunday. it was pretty disappointing after reading all of these glowing reviews. first off, our waiter was irritatingly attentive and bit of a jerk; at one point a busboy gave me my salad, but forgot a fork. our waiter came shortly over with one, which was nice, but apologized for the "amateur service" and insinuated that the guy was an idiot. i thought bad mouthing his coworker was completely uncalled for and actually quite amateur on his part. we ordered the regular poutine to start. I have never had it before, so can't compare to any other renditions but it was tasty enough. after such a heavy app i ended up ordering the simple greens and mussels for my dinner. the greens were very fresh, but they were over-salted to the point that they were almost inedible. i hate when a kitchen messes up something so basic. there was nothing particularly wrong with the mussels, they were just boring, the broth lacked flavor. my man had a burger which was decent but nothing special. i'd take one from coda over that one any day. perhaps we ordered the wrong things, ( but shouldn't every option be a good one?) if i were to go back, i would probably go with more people and split a few of the platters and plates of poutine. i like the interior design and the vibe, but i'll probably give it some time before i go back.

                                      1. re: pamplemouse

                                        I liked my Gallows burger, but a few of my friends didn't: they too prefer big pub-style burgers like the one served at Coda. That skinny flattop-griddled patty and all the other busy-ness on it is unusual among more upscale places serving burgers. I think it makes a nice change, but there's a lot on that menu that I'd order first. (That Scotch egg is wonderful, for one.)

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          sam's place at louis also offers a flat-top burger and they won't take a temp on it. not a fan.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            I suspect The Gallows might be thickening up their patty a bit. I had another one recently that looked medium-rare, was quite tasty. But a skinny-ish griddle burger tends to be more about the whole package than the patty itself. And few people are happy when what they get isn't what they expected: I think most folks expect a gastropub burger will be a thick, pub-style grilled thing.

                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                    2. Was a little let down by the scotch egg after hearing rave reviews, but it was decent. Sausagemeat could have been thicker, and it was a little greasy.

                                      The "summer" poutine (with vegetarian gravy and summer vegetables) had a lighter feel than most poutine servings and had some fantastic squash in it. The special was buffalo chicken poutine (my eyes popped out of my head -- the ultimate food?) but we stuck with the vegetarian version. The only criticism I would have is that the underlying fries were small and a bit over done, too crisp and grease laden.

                                      I also had their alentejana special (Portuguese clam and pork stew), which had an incredibly good broth.

                                      All in all it was very good.

                                      I don't think it reflects on the place, but I did scratch my head a few times at the waiter's habit of taking away my beer when it wasn't finished, just because I accepted his offer to get me another one. Weird.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: chickendhansak

                                        I haven't noticed the aggressive-clearing thing at The Gallows, but if they did it once, I'd be defending my subsequent drinks with a fork. That's annoying, a really irritating tic at Toro in its early days, one which I don't notice so much now either because they've chilled with it, or because I mostly sit at the bar there.

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                        -----
                                        Toro
                                        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                                      2. You've had Montreal poutine, and you rated this up there with the good ones???

                                        The fries at the Gallows are too thin for a decent poutine, and little better than commercial grade if you ask me. The gravy at the Gallows is, first of all, too thick for a decent poutine, and it's far too bland (no pepper that I could taste, for example) to set off the dish. (It's the heart of the dish when it's done right in my opinion, but, obviously, our opinions differ). Finally, the cheese at the Gallows is too much curds, and nowhere near actual cheese curds, which, if they are real and really fresh, will squeak between your teeth when you chew them, as opposed to slosh around your mouth like the ricotta-ish stuff the Gallows is serving.

                                        There's a poutine festival in Sherbrooke on Labor Day weekend--want to carpool up with me to get the real deal?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kad barma

                                          i'll expand this one a bit more, since i went with barma and another friend.

                                          the hostess was friendly and we were able to be seated right away. bar was full and the room was almost so i like the look of the barn siding and the other accessories on the walls, but all those hard surfaces made for a VERY NOISY room. the lighting was a bit too dim.

                                          our server was friendly and happily brought over a taste of the house rosé. unremarkable in the blandest way, so we opted for the other rosé on the list. not much more in the glass to speak of either, and the wine list only includes countries of origin, not regions, which i dislike.

                                          the poutine was terrible, with some of the worst fries i have had in a while. the curds were technically "curds", but more akin to ricotta than the squeaky little bits of joy i expect from proper poutine.

                                          ordered 2 of the much-ballyhooed scotch eggs. the eggs were extra-hard-cooked and the thin sausage jacket fell off as soon as you tried cutting them.

                                          the striped bass ceviche was delicious and kind of funny. their "small plates" are "tiny"! it was only $5 or $6, i think, but came in a bowl the size of which would normally hold drawn butter for a lobster, lol and had about 3 bits of fish.

                                          also tried the bluefish paté, which is one of my favorite summer foods. it was very light and fluffy in texture, but not much discernible flavor from the fish.

                                          the ploughman's platter,one of four of this category, was $15. it was 2 slices of salami, a piece of some sort of terrine and 2 slices of manchego-like cheese. not sure about either since the runner just dropped the plate and skeedaddled. it did come with a very refreshing pickled salad of cauliflower and 2 slabs of excellent iggy's bread, but it was barely any food.

                                          after initially serving our wine, our waitress never came back over. never. we poured out our own wine and refilled our own water. other people ran all the food. she was wandering around the now nearly-empty dining room, very busy not making eye contact with us. it got to the point that barma actually got up to fetch her so he could order another beer. (in our many years of dining together, i have never seen him do this.) our empty plates sat and sat. he got up again to get the check and we had a very lengthy wait again before she came to back to process our payment. we all were ready for more food, and if she'd been more attentive, probably would have stayed for a cheese course and another glass of wine, but her complete disconnect made us feel unwelcome.

                                          i wanted to like this place and the pricing is very reasonable.. it's out of my usual orbit and i see no need to go back.

                                        2. Bad luck for new restaurants:

                                          http://www.universalhub.com/crime/201...

                                          That and the recent flooding that caused Think Tank to close...very sad indeed. Let's all do what we can and order some poutine and charcuterie.

                                          -----
                                          Think Tank
                                          1 Kendall Square, lower level, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mats77

                                            Awful. A friend of mine used to work at Sage and the same exact thing (stolen safe) happened then.

                                          2. My BF and I went last night on a whim and really enjoyed the ambience and the food. The poutine was Canadian-approved, the flat-patty burger indulged my guilty pleasure of having American cheese melted on sandwiches, the fries were great and the rabbit rillette on the ploughman's platter was particularly nice.

                                            Our only complaint was the poorly-trained staff. They were very friendly and eager to please, but did not seem to be eager to learn the menu as every single time we asked them a question they would grab a copy of the menu and read off of it to 'answer' our questions. Also, when we asked them who designed the restaurant we were initially told that it was all reclaimed items from an old barn. When we inquired further it turned out that is was the same design team that does all of Barbara Lynch's restaurants, close, but slightly different.

                                            This will not deter us from returning as these things usually work themselves out as part of a restaurant's initial growing pains and I would take friendly and uninformed any day over the opposite of that. It is certainly a welcome addition to the South End.

                                            1. My BF/DC and I went on Saturday evening and had a great meal...No wait for a table and yet the place was humming. Our server was fantastic (wish I could remember his name)- never felt rushed and very knowledgeable. In addition, we got a great tuturial on some of the cheeses of the night by another server...

                                              We each tried cocktails (The Healer and the Watermelon/mezcal one...?), corn dogs (as fantastic as posted), ploughman's platter, poutine, wedge salad and cheeses to finish.

                                              Only criticism (and it's a tiny one)-- as a fan of poutine and a Canadian-- the fries should be crisper and the cheese should be saltier to truely be called 'Traditional'. B/c they make their cheese in house for this dish it's closer to a ricotta and therefore doesn't have the salt factor the dish requires. The gravy was great...very deep flavor (or flavour...)...but I still missed the curds.

                                              Will def go back and am a huge fan of this place. Bravo!

                                              1. Quick follow-up since my first trip in June. Stopped in again last night and tried a few different dishes and returned to the poutine after the middling comments here. First of all, the cheese has definitely changed since before. As others have said, the cheese they are using now is made in-house, for economic reasons or for slow food reasons or both, but the texture isn't right. My first visit the out of control poutine was made with traditional curds that squeeked when you ate them. The gravy is still very good, and the fries are crisp, the way I like them, but maybe too crisp for this application. We got it topped with foie gras and that was inconsistent at best. Some larger pieces were perfectly soft inside but seared too hard on the outside. The smaller pieces suffered from the sear and tasted burnt. It was a shame to see that product treated shabbily. So, I'd give the poutine a C at best for this latest visit.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: yumyum

                                                  wow, NOW i know where all the CHs live! I'm not remembering any other restnt receiving so many long detailed reports after opening. Amazing really! Details and updates are really appreciated by all of us because of places and dishes changing so often. Guess I missed the great version of the poutine. sigh. I am so confused by the opposite reactions to so many of the dishes and service that I feel quite perplexed about whether to rush over or wait a few months..... Thanks to all who keep updating this thread.

                                                  1. re: yumyum

                                                    i also got the foie gras poutine recently, asked for the foie to be done rare, it came out fine, but the fries were too soggy for my tastes this time around :( and the gravy was blander than before...maybe next time i'll ask whether they can do the fries extra crispy (customer from hell)

                                                    1. re: barleywino

                                                      I got some naked fries at The Gallows the other day, and they came out very, very crisp: they were excellent. Is it possible that there's just no escaping the fact that gravy fries are going to get soggy at some point? I think maybe I like the idea of poutine better than the reality.

                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                        As yumyum's dee-see on the evening noted just above, I thought the fries were actually, <gasp>, way too crispy, even after taking a bath in gravy. Audibly, shatteringly crispy. No fluffy starchy spud love in the middle, just all cracker crisp. I realize many folks put crisp at the top of their criteria, and I think they may enjoy this style, though it seems as though there is a degree of variability at hand here too. The burnt foie was a shame and a travesty. The gravy, a little thicker for my tastes, was rich and flavourful.

                                                        Overall, I thought the poutine was a total bust on this one occasion. The longshoreman's platter was overall a disappointment as well - tuna pate, one-dimensional pimiento flavoured, made me want to brush my teef with Erbaluce's spectacular version. Charcuterie and cheese plate, an easy lay-up, was excellent. The beer list is an utter disaster.

                                                        And yet, everytime I read the title of this thread, I'm in full agreement. I love the Gallows. I have no idea why. I can't wait to get back. Really.

                                                        -----
                                                        Erbaluce
                                                        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                        1. re: Nab

                                                          Agreed: cracker-crisp fries are not nice. They need that fluffy core, which is what I got the other night. I also got a bite of lobster sausage from a friend's longshoreman's platter which was just stunning. I sampled a version of pork and clams that I thought was really tasty, if not super-traditional, too.

                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            Oh man, I was perseverating over that lobster sausage that night. Hope it sticks around as a special or makes its way onto the regular menu. My ideal burger preference is for depression-era flat-patty style, and I have duly noted your positive experiences with the burg (tho not exactly that style), which I will try very soon.

                                                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          yeah the first time i had it, the fries were crisp (even with gravy), so maybe there's just some unpredictability here. i agree with Nab that there is such a thing as too crispy :)

                                                    2. Now I'm confused! Do I go this Friday or not?!

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: your_outreach

                                                        I recommend it. I have a friend who initially disliked it, gave it a second chance, loves it now. But you can expect it to be very busy on a Friday night: the locals have discovered it, and it does not take reservations.

                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          I enjoyed it there. My DC and I split the summer poutine and the farmer's platter. Both were good and we were sufficiently full for a combined price of $25. Hard to beat that. Their beer list needs improvement, though.

                                                          Anyone recall what the syrup they use in the gin, absinthe and cucumber cocktail is? I tried recreating it at home but since I couldn't remember what it was I just used rasberry simple syrup. I'm also curious about how much absinthe they put in since the cocktail they made tasted mainly of cucumber whereas the one I made was overpowered by the little bit of absinthe I put in.

                                                      2. I think a really great way to test a place's merits is to go super simple. I had the heirloom tomatoes at the Gallows back at the end of the summer and they were perfect. Excellently chosen produce and seasoned perfectly. Obviously, the rest of the food is amazing too. Simplicity is always the bellwether.

                                                        1. I finally made it here last night and it was exactly what I'd hoped it would be. Dishes included the Winter (aka vegetarian) poutine, which had some really nice chunks of roasted root veggies and the Out of Control that had some deliciously tender tri-tip and smoked bleu cheese. Both really delicious. Typical arugula salad was dressed up nicely with some smoked trout and grapefruit. The parsnip soup with apple and fennel was really tasty and light and the seafood chowder (with Maine shrimp!) had great flavor. The cassoulet was really rich, and after chowing down on poutine was becoming a small problem. Some really nice chunks of pork belly and sausage with nicely cooked beans and a crisp breadcrumb topping. The flavors and execution were strong; all of us left stuffed and happy.

                                                          -----
                                                          The Gallows
                                                          1395 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118