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Any recent Stoddard's experiences?

Gabatta Jul 9, 2010 01:21 PM

Have never tried it, thinking of doing so tonight. Is it worthwhile?

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  1. s
    supag32 RE: Gabatta Jul 9, 2010 01:45 PM

    Yes, my wife and I went last weekend and we really enjoyed the food and the hospitality. Won't do a long review, but I will say that the house charcuterie plate was among the best I've had around town. The flavors just really popped, especially the house made pastrami. For mains we had the chicken pot pie and the quail dish. both were very nice but not other worldly. We really wanted the Rabbit but were told by the server they were out. Beer selection was great. I enjoyed a cask and another local beer I've never seen around before. By chance, the chef's family was sitting next to us and we had a nice chat with them. Also had a nice chat with the chef as we were leaving. Good vibes and food all around. Worth a trip. Oh, and the place is gorgeous, the bar especially. There is just something about these old buildings near downtown crossing that get me every time...

    1. g
      Gabatta RE: Gabatta Jul 10, 2010 11:35 AM

      So we did try it out last night. The burger was one of the best I have had in awhile (great beefy taste and cooked a perfect MR), front of house staff couldn’t have been nicer, and they did a good job on pre-dinner drinks at the bar. The fries (thin and crisp) were very good, the onion rings were not (bready and undercooked). We enjoyed the pickles as well.

      Unfortunately negatives outweighed the positives though. The AC was non-existent. Doors were closed and they said it was on, however it was actually more comfortable outside than in. We met friends there, and had to leave fairly hastily at the end of dinner as one of them felt faint. As seems to be common from reading other reviews they were out of 5 menu items, which is a bit excessive given the limited options to begin with. It was hard to detect any hint of lobster in the hush puppies. The deviled eggs had an off putting tangy taste gummy consistency. The drinks that were accurately made to order at the came in different glasses and with different garnishes when we moved 10 feet over to a table.

      I would go back for the burger on a cooler night, but that’s about it.

      1. k
        kimfair1 RE: Gabatta Jul 11, 2010 08:43 AM

        We went to Stoddard's for the first time last evening, and will return. It was nice and cool in the restaurant, but it was much cooler outside by that point after the torrential rains, and we sat near the door. My wife wanted the Jerusalem Artichoke soup on the menu, but they had substituted it with an asparagus soup with lobster that was very nice. I had the charcuterie plate, and it was outstanding. One of the best I've had in Boston. For mains, my wife had the hangar steak which came on a generous bed of shredded braised oxtail. I had the pork tenderloin (and was told it was the last one - at 7:30pm on a Saturday night?), which was excellent, and came with truly delicious ham grits. The cocktails were spot on, and though it wasn't on the menu, I asked for a Sazerac cocktail, and was served one of the better ones I've had in Boston., though Paul at Craigie on Main still makes the best on in town. The pot of pickles were excellent as well. Staff and service were great.

        1. hotoynoodle RE: Gabatta Jul 12, 2010 05:32 AM

          stopped in finally a few weeks ago,as they were just opening up. the space is terrific visually.

          i had a well-executed moscow mule, however was off-put that the very brief cocktail list (maybe 10 drinks?) had no prices. the bartender told me this was only their "opening list", with a fuller one to come soon. they've been opening for like 2 years and actually open for several months. what's the wait?

          the beer list did not have prices either.

          checked out the food menu and was struck by how many items were "market price". if you're offering a charcuterie plate everyday, that is house-made, you should be able to cost that out. the typos and bad semantics on the history side (back) of the menu made my teeth itch too.

          the wine prices were marked-up into the gouge category, with too many bottles over $65 for their menu price point.

          and this is minor and kinda funny: i am small in stature, but literally had to stand on my tiptoes to see in ANY of the mirrors in the ladies' room, lol. who measured that placement? paul pierce?

          nice place for a drink and eventually i'll get back for some food, but no rush on my end.

          21 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle
            MC Slim JB RE: hotoynoodle Jul 12, 2010 05:56 AM

            I dislike that lack of prices at Stoddard's, too. It resulted in some sticker shock: is $10 for a 10- or 12-ounce glass of cask ale standard these days? I'm in the habit of asking prices of specials on the dinner menu, as I've gotten bitten at one too many North End clip joint, but it's annoying when there are twenty price questions to ask.

            I've experienced shoddy bartending on a couple of occasions as well: they are nowhere near the standard of the real craft cocktail bars in town, though their marketing and menu prose might lead you to believe that's their goal. They're not justifying their cocktails prices so far.

            I didn't love the food on a couple of visits, either -- it was just okay -- so was very surprised by Nadeau's four-star Phoenix rave, though he clearly sampled a lot more of the menu than I have so far. I think it's a very cool space.


            1. re: MC Slim JB
              celeriac RE: MC Slim JB Jul 12, 2010 06:11 AM

              "is $10 for a 10- or 12-ounce glass of cask ale standard these days?"

              Absolutely not. Most bars that have cask ales don't price them any higher than a comparable draft pour (that is to say in the area of $6 for a 14-16 oz pour. Beer geeks are justifiably furious over the pricing at Stoddard's.

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                mkel34 RE: MC Slim JB Jul 12, 2010 06:43 AM

                From the posts over at beeradvocate it seems every agrees that the beer prices overall are grossly inflated. I could see $10 for a Russian River IPA which is rare in this part of the country, but from what I've read the offerings for the casks are local, $10+ for a Shipyard beer on cask is laughable.

                When the Union Brewhouse was having its cask days beers where in the $5-6 range, the beers offered were from breweries like Pizza Port, Troegs, Lagunitas, aka beers that in more demand due to rarity/quality. I can't remember paying anymore than $7 for a cask ale from the Portsmouth Brewery ,Sunset, or Beerworks. I understand the overhead is much greater for Stoddards and someone needs to pay for the big dig like schedule to rehab the place but I won't be visiting with the choices that we already have in the area.

                Portsmouth Brewery
                56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

                1. re: mkel34
                  jgg13 RE: mkel34 Jul 12, 2010 07:36 AM

                  Union doesn't do the cask anymore?

                  1. re: mkel34
                    LStaff RE: mkel34 Jul 12, 2010 08:12 AM

                    $10 pints of Russian River IPA would fly out tap handles around Boston within minutes...because its not distributed in MA, yet there is great demand for it.

                    1. re: LStaff
                      celeriac RE: LStaff Jul 12, 2010 08:49 AM

                      It would also be technically illegal... not really a relevant point in this hypothetical conversation, but just had to point it out...

                      1. re: LStaff
                        phatchris RE: LStaff Jul 12, 2010 09:19 AM

                        I"m down to my last two Pliny's out of the 12 pack I got in May.

                        1. re: phatchris
                          Trumpetguy RE: phatchris Jul 23, 2010 12:25 PM

                          I am VERY Jealous!!!

                          1. re: phatchris
                            Trumpetguy RE: phatchris Jul 23, 2010 12:26 PM

                            I am very jealous phatchris!!!

                            1. re: Trumpetguy
                              phatchris RE: Trumpetguy Jul 25, 2010 04:25 PM

                              I know this is off topic, but it you search hard enough you can find wine/beer shops that will deliver Russian River to the Boston area.

                              1. re: phatchris
                                EmChouffe RE: phatchris Jul 26, 2010 12:49 PM

                                phatchris, have you been able to find Consecration around here? I'm willing to drive...

                                1. re: EmChouffe
                                  celeriac RE: EmChouffe Jul 26, 2010 03:57 PM

                                  EmChouffe - the only eastern state that gets distribution from Russian River (and, ergo, the only one where it can be sold) is Pennsylvania. I believe that even there it is tricky to come by, though possible. As PhatChris says I believe that there are a few CA shops that will ship (though it's not really legit to do so), but I honestly don't know which they are. You will not find Consecration or any other Russian River beers for sale anywhere around here, though.

                                  1. re: celeriac
                                    phatchris RE: celeriac Jul 27, 2010 03:09 PM

                                    Exactly what celeriac said, there are some CA shops that will turn a blind eye.

                                    1. re: phatchris
                                      jgg13 RE: phatchris Jul 27, 2010 03:41 PM

                                      Is this one of those "MA laws suck" things, as in one could get it shipped to NH no problem, or is it just that they don't want to bother?

                                      1. re: jgg13
                                        afty698 RE: jgg13 Jul 28, 2010 01:03 PM

                                        It's a "MA laws suck" thing. It's illegal to ship beer to MA.

                                        1. re: afty698
                                          jgg13 RE: afty698 Jul 28, 2010 01:29 PM

                                          I knew the last part, wasn't sure if that was the only issue. I can get stuff shipped to NH pretty easily, but never really think of it.

                                          1. re: afty698
                                            yanz RE: afty698 Jul 28, 2010 01:49 PM

                                            illegal to ship any booze (beer, wine, etc) in MA to a residential address. However, you can ship to your favorite liquor store and pick it up there. If you're shipping cases, many places won't mark up.

                        2. re: MC Slim JB
                          jgg13 RE: MC Slim JB Jul 12, 2010 07:28 AM

                          They got into it with @DrinkCraftBeer (I think) on twitter not too long ago, he called them out for some special they were pimping that actually turned out to be a horrible deal (I think it was 3 5oz pours of a decent cask ale for $18 or something like that) and they didn't like that so much.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            LStaff RE: MC Slim JB Jul 12, 2010 08:08 AM

                            I saw $8 pints of Gritty's Bitter on cask at Cambridge Common a couple of weeks ago - and that is the place with best craft beer prices in town.

                            I don't get it.

                            Only explanation I can think of is that beer bars must be marketing cask beer to craft beer newbs who have been duped by countless articles how cask beer is always better than draft. If you understand cask beer, real ale, and its origins, you know how oxymoronic it is to pay premium prices for "session" beer.

                            Cambridge Common
                            1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                            1. re: LStaff
                              jgg13 RE: LStaff Jul 12, 2010 08:17 AM

                              I'm getting fairly annoyed at the trend of stuffing anything & everything into a cask for service and then that leading to higher prices. Not everything tastes better in a cask.

                              1. re: LStaff
                                Trumpetguy RE: LStaff Jul 23, 2010 12:30 PM

                                I paid $7 something for a 10 oz. glass of Ballast Point Sculpin yesterday at Cambridge Common--it was such a delicious beer, it was almost worth it.

                          2. m
                            mats77 RE: Gabatta Jul 16, 2010 09:41 AM

                            Does anyone know if they are going to start serving lunch? It would seem to me that in that neighborhood you would need to serve lunch to stay viable.

                            1. Deelicious47 RE: Gabatta Jul 16, 2010 11:55 AM

                              First time to Stoddard's (shortly after opening) was very positive. Super knowledgeable front of the house. Craft cocktail craftsmanship. There were little mini vases of fresh flowers along the bar. Beyond pleasing to look at (the restaurant itself, don't recall my bartenders just now). There were short a lot of dishes that were listed on the menu - but they were just getting started... I get that. Second time was also tasty (the lobster scallion hush puppies were hot, flavorful, chock full of lobster and a great texture!), service was top notch to start at 5:10pm but as the people started coming our server was clearly a bit beside himself and we had to flag him over MANY times. Still no pots of pickles - I guess they were still marinating? Third time back the pots of pickles were ready! Um. That wasn't a pot. That was like a demitasse cup. Cukes and vinegar are not expensive - give us some more! Fourth time in - NOT a charm. Terribly disappointed. My cocktail was sub par. My DC's sub sub-par and those divine lobster hush puppies from a few weeks prior? Missing. We were given fat doughy balls with no lobster. What in the hell happened? I'll give it another shot as it is a good meeting spot for friends after work, it pleases my aesthetic, and I want to love it.

                              1. fesenjan RE: Gabatta Jul 23, 2010 08:57 AM

                                FYI, Stoddard's is up as a half-off deal today at Buy With Me Boston (http://www.buywithme.com/boston).

                                1. EmChouffe RE: Gabatta Jul 24, 2010 10:20 AM

                                  I'll first say they have an impressive beer list with quite a few good cask ales (loose cannon was a surprising great!).

                                  Unfortunately I will probably not be heading back there any time soon. Bad experience on thursday night. Their beers and food are over-priced, fine, I've over-paid for food/beer in boston for years now. I'm disgustingly used to it. The problem with Stoddards is the staff. Our fairly knowledgable waiter was incredibly rude, pretentious, and obnoxious. It's been a long time since I've had to out-beergeek a waiter to stop him from rolling his eyes and huffily judging some beer choices coming from our table. At one point someone asked if they had a "light" beer and he sighed audibly, turned his back, and walked away without taking her order. Honestly? Stop being an asshole, I just saw you pour a bottle conditioned ale poorly and unceremoniously dumping yeast into her glass. Ef you.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: EmChouffe
                                    LStaff RE: EmChouffe Oct 7, 2010 07:58 AM

                                    >...I've over-paid for food/beer in boston for years now. I'm disgustingly used to it.

                                    That's an awesome quote.

                                  2. MC Slim JB RE: Gabatta Jul 27, 2010 04:31 PM

                                    Excellent charcuterie plate the other day. Not loving the deviled eggs, I've decided: too onion-y in the filling.


                                    1. m
                                      mats77 RE: Gabatta Sep 22, 2010 08:17 AM

                                      I have had miserable luck in trying to eat/drink here. First, I work in the area and I tried to go there for lunch the week of 4th of July and discovered that they were taking the week off. The following week I tried going for lunch to discover that they don't do lunch at all. This past Monday a friend and I were going to go for dinner and drinks only to find out that they are closed on Mondays too! I'm not going to tell someone how to run their business or when to be open or closed but what really irritated me is that their website doesn't even list their hours of operation. Even if you click on their link to opentable you don't see the hours. The only way to find out when they are open is by going to opentable directly. Sorry for this mini-rant but I just wanted to put it out there so people don't head to Downtown Crossing on a Monday night whim expecting to eat there.

                                      1. g
                                        ginafly RE: Gabatta Oct 7, 2010 06:37 AM

                                        My husband and I visited last weekend with the buywithme vouchers (yay!). We had an excellent meal. We started with a cheese plate...great selections there...aged cheddar + pumpkin beer = happiness. The lobster-scallion hushpuppies were somewhat disappointing--I expected so much more flavor. However, everything else was great. Salmon and grilled romaine salad was excellent--I will go back some weeknight and order as a meal. My husband's ribeye was beautifully cooked. I ordered duck, which had excellently rendered skin, and was served with a sweet sticky corn polenta cake and creamed spinach. We were really impressed with the food and service overall. Our waitress was cheery and helpful. We each had two beers on draught and the total tab was 124 before tip. We will DEFINITELY be back. As an interior design student, I really appreciated the beauty of the space and history of the place as well.

                                        Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale
                                        48 Temple Pl, Boston, MA 02101

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: ginafly
                                          dlibes RE: ginafly Oct 7, 2010 05:08 PM

                                          Wow! I went last weekend as well and had a completely different experience. The service was slow and disinterested. The charcuterie plate came out with absolutely no explanation and lacked in flavor. Our burgers were raw and the waiter was nowhere to be found. On the plus side, the beer selection was great and the leftover burgers were repurposed into a nice hash the next morning.

                                          1. re: dlibes
                                            SaraASR RE: dlibes Oct 7, 2010 06:16 PM

                                            I went with a Buywithme voucher last weekend too. Service was horrific. As in, only two waitresses who were both on their second night. It was really terrible. Meal start to finish took over two hours, wrong food presented to us three times, brought us a charcuterie platter after I asked about the vegetarian entree... bad news.

                                            1. re: SaraASR
                                              ginafly RE: SaraASR Oct 18, 2010 09:33 AM

                                              Wow, such a bummer to hear about these experiences. Our waitress was named Katie, I believe...I think I have seen her mentioned by name and praised either here or on Yelp. So maybe we just got lucky.

                                              The food really *should* be good judging by where Mark Cina has worked. So I'm sorry to hear it is so inconsistent across the menu!

                                        2. f
                                          Fenway_Frank RE: Gabatta Oct 18, 2010 10:56 AM

                                          We had a lovely pre-movie meal at Stoddard's a couple weeks ago. Service was fine. Food was tasty. We got there just as the after work crowd was thinning but before the dinner crowd, if there is one, came in.

                                          I heard, despite recent assurances to the contrary from the owner, that this place is closing? Can anyone confirm?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Fenway_Frank
                                            MC Slim JB RE: Fenway_Frank Oct 18, 2010 11:11 AM

                                            Its parent company filed for Chapter 11 back in August, and just closed the sister restaurant, Ivy, across the street. I imagine the long, long time it took Stoddard's to open and the many problems that led to those delays sucked up a lot of cash. Whether they can emerge from Chapter 11 and thrive with just Stoddard's is anyone's guess at this point, but I'd venture that closing Ivy probably gives them a longer leash.


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