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The Back Deck, Boston

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  • mpd Mar 9, 2012 12:47 PM
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Has anyone eaten at this place on Washington St in the theater district? Accessed their menu but there are no prices!!??

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  1. Last I walked by a few weeks ago, it was an empty space, bare to the studs, not remotely close to being finished.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1. They don't appear to exist yet. The "recent News" posted on their website on January 9 said "Back Deck is getting ready to serve you some great charcoal grilled meals. We are under construction and looking forward to opening our doors to our downtown neighbors late this spring." This probably explains why the menu has no prices.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Allstonian

        The Chef/owner is from the late lamented Daddyo's, a predecessor to Oleana. Don't know when it'll open, but I'm looking forward to it. Another pre-theater option!

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          I used to love DaddyO's back in the day, especially eating on their back deck!

      2. Back Deck's Facebook page now shows considerable progress on the buildout.

        http:/mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Walk by's show a lot of progress; but opening is still a ways off.

        2. It is definitely open now. Has anyone been in yet?

          21 Replies
          1. re: ebone

            I went on Saturday, meh. Hostess was useless, basically just said "Two?" grabbed some menus and started walking away without ever turning around to acknowledge us. It was odd. Place was about 1/3 full.

            Salmon was OK, mixed grill was under seasoned and consisted of pieces of chicken that were roughly bite size,. I would have rather had 2-3 larger pieces than 6 small ones. they looked awkward on the skewer. Potatoes also under seasoned, easily fixed, and a little undercooked.

            I kept thinking this place was like a Joe's, Friday's, or something.

            1. re: Beachowolfe

              Meh is not a word I like to hear associated with a new place in town. I am going there tonight and am hoping for a better experience. I would like it if this joint could add to the resurgence of Downtown Crossing dining, but the jury appears to be out on that so far. I will report back, hopefully with something positive...

              1. re: ebone

                ebone, if you're up for a suggestion, try the pork chop, to see if it bears any resemblance to the pork chop from Daddyo's, a prior restaurant of the chef at the Back Deck. That was one good chop, maybe he's replicating it here.

                1. re: ebone

                  Well, my group chickened out on going after the less than stellar reactions to this place so far (apparently there was a review on another site about moldy rolls). Maybe another time.

                  We went to Trade instead and had a nice meal. We had small plates of scallop ceviche and eggplant (with the eggplant being the star for me), and also a lamb sausage flatbread and side of crispy potatoes. The flatbread had good flavor with not too many toppings (which wasn't a problem for me) and the potatoes were tasty if unspectacular. Overall solid meal at a place we will go back to.

                  As for Back Deck, we shall see...

                2. re: Beachowolfe

                  Confused at what you ate, Beachowolfe, since the menu describes the mixed grill as:

                  Mixed Grill: one skewer each of chicken & lamb, a duck sausage, grilled Portobello
 mushroom & tomato, salty cracked new potatoes.

                  If the same, how was the rest of the meat?

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    missed this... I ate all of that. The lamb was OK and didn't really encourage any comment either way. Not as good as I could get at any of the places DT that regularly serve lamb skewers (DOC, Falafel King, Cafe de Boston I think are a few) Duck sausage I can't really compare since I don't think i've ever had one before, it was not good enough to warrant substituting for real sausage, IMO.

                    As I said, the potatoes were under seasoned and under cooked.

                    I sort of remember making sure to save a piece of tomato for each bite of chicken since it was so plain... I guess the tomatoes were OK.

                    EDIT: I know why you were confused now (duh)... my DC was eating the salmon, I tried some. sorry about that.

                    1. re: Beachowolfe

                      Thanks for the clarification - appreciated.

                3. re: ebone

                  It has been very busy on weeknights since it opened; I've walked in a couple of times hoping to grab a bar seat and found it packed. Will definitely try at some point soon.

                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Interesting. I walked by last night (Wed) at 11 or so and it was completely closed, lights off without a soul in sight.

                    1. re: Unfoodie

                      That might have been because they close at 10 on Wednesdays:
                      http://www.backdeckboston.com/

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        Wow. Odd hours combined with bad reviews makes this place a no-go no-brainer.

                  2. re: ebone

                    This is second hand - Ms Jgg13 went w/ some coworkers a few days ago. I don't recall what she told me they had but I remember the gist of her commentary was that "I don't see how they will stay in business very long" - had nothing good to say about the food or the service. Granted, not everything she said was negative but when the "good parts" are neutral at best, that's not a good sign.

                    1. re: jgg13

                      It's a little early, no? Didn't it open only a couple of weeks ago?

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        Yeah. My response was to wait and see how things were in a month. Her response to that was that they'd need to change so many things that it'd cease being the same place.

                        Either way, if they're packed like Slim describes it is both good (for them) and likely bad (for us) as they'll have no incentive to change things up. There are all sorts of places w/ crappy food that stay packed.

                        1. re: jgg13

                          Right-o. See Barking Crab.

                          1. re: jgg13

                            Went last night. The kitchen is not tasting the food! Meh is a compliment. The theater crowd had left and they weren't busy. The food was not only under salted, I might say it wasn't salted at all and we could not detect any seasoning of any kind in any of our dishes. We started with the corn chowder, a cold soup. it lacked salt and utilized no spices. No prominent corn flavor although I could see grille marks on some of the corn. Not creamy. Corn sitting in cold milk. Next we had the chicken livers. 6 small skewered over cooked unseasoned livers on a bed of oil dressed (no hint of an acid) arugula which was mostly stems.. Next we had the Point Judith grilled squid. Two or Three whole squid bodies and half a dozen tentacles grilled and served on a spring mix salad. This was the best dish of the evening even though it was not salted or seasoned and again the greens lacked acid in the dressing. We asked for and received lemon and salted our plate which moved this dish up a notch. Last but not least had the Scallop Tacos. Really. Taco Bell does better. Two very dry flour tortillas served with three or four small scallops which showed no sign of grilling or browning (were they nuked?) and no seasoning served on each taco. No sauce, no side dressing, no cheese, no flavor. I should remember but I don't think there was even salad on the plate. I don't know what made this a taco except it was served on tortillas. I think this entree was $24. A real disappointment. We shared the 3 apps and 1 entree and did enjoy a bottle of Shooting Star syrah ($32). Total bill $84 plus tip. Service was adequate. Friday's and Joes mentioned above are better, we won't return. One Star.

                            The dining areas are a little disconnected in design. The front dining room area where we sat at the windows was quite nice. However, my dinner guest noted he wouldn't want to sit at the big round tables which float in the middle of the room. The design is awkward with one upside down umbrellas floating above the two tables..

                            1. re: gardgen

                              Yup, it's that bad. Wishing the chef still had Daddy-O's up and running.

                              1. re: gardgen

                                "I might say it wasn't salted at all"

                                According to my doctor, that's a good thing.

                                1. re: gardgen

                                  I had the same experience with the soup last week. It was a hot day and chilled corn-jalapeno soup sounded really good. But it was truly bad. No heat at all from jalapeno, no acid or brightness; your description was exactly right: corn sitting in cold milk. Bartender asked how things were and I wasn't excited, asked for lime and applied it liberally, hit with s+p and felt like a mad scientist using the limited tools at hand; was going to ask for hot sauce next but there was no saving this flavorless bowl and I hardly ate it. I was thinking that if I made this at home it would go straight down the disposal. I'd like to see the chef sit down to a bowl of this. Also got their fries and I don't like those either, no flavor or texture. If they're going to be soft fries, at least apply some Cajun fairy dust or something. I'm not inclined to expand my exploration of this menu, at all.

                                  1. re: gardgen

                                    The Boston Globe gave it 1 star August 14th... Review similar to our experience. However there was a picture of their scallop dish. I have now decided they forgot to finish plating our food! Corn salsa on the taco and rice and beans as sides were not present on our plates.

                                  2. re: jgg13

                                    They could just keep the food as is and change the name to the "Black Dreck".

                            2. Any idea if they are serving brunch yet?

                              I'm disappointed about the less than stellar reviews so far, but I'm still holding out hope that the 'Eggs Diablo' on their brunch menu can at least attempt to imitate the greatness that was Daddy-O's 'Huevos del Diablo'.

                              I've been waiting 12 years to have that dish again.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: rshock

                                No idea. The website has a brunch menu but weekend hours are still posted as starting at 4 p.m. That said, brunch menu lists something called "Eggs Diablo," which sounds like the Daddy-O's dish though the pork is described as "spicy" while Daddy-O's was smoked.. Also, think the original version included fried yucca, which isn't mentioned.

                                Hope this place finds its feet, and am looking forward to giving it another shot soon. Maybe it would help if they shrank the menu a bit?

                              2. hadn't read this thread, so had no preconceived bias and went yesterday for a late lunch. it was a nice day and all the large windows were open. i was surprised at the size of the space. a space that has sat empty and idle for over 8 years.

                                decent selection of beers on tap, looked like an interesting cocktail menu, wines by the glass were meh, but that's not unusual for this price point. bar manager worked at the parish for many years and was very busy squeezing fresh juices for dinner. he took great care of us, and food came out at reasonable intervals.

                                friend had the point judith calamari which he ate in about 2 seconds. i had grilled chicken livers over greens. yes, the dressing on the greens needed a hit of salt, but the livers were still pink in the center and very tender.

                                for mains i had the santa fe burger, which came out perfectly med/rare, as ordered. it was very juicy and not overly charred with a generous helping of nicely ripe avocado. big basket of cottage fries, a change from other more common types of taters. friend had very tasty smoky eggplant spread and lamb kefta on a skewer.

                                all this, 2 beers, 1 glass of wine was $60 before tip.

                                unlike many other spots, the kitchen remains open after the lunch rush. i am in this neighb often after a matinee at the loews and will definitely be going back. (yes, the dark knight was GREAT!)

                                my only thoughts on the dinner complaints of others is the kitchen still hasn't gotten its feet on the ground. they have only been open a very short while.

                                walking past blocks of empty storefronts on washington st., cavernous holes in the ground, the filene's in a shroud, along with the panhandlers in varying states of decay, i was struck by how blighted and desolate this area remains.

                                we need more reasons for people to be around down there and i for one will most certainly be visiting back deck again.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  Re: haven't gotten their feet on the ground, it's a very small menu. And they're charging enough. I think it's nervy to test tasteless food on my dime.

                                  1. re: Niblet

                                    i felt the prices were very reasonable at lunch -- i did not look at the dinner menu.

                                    honestly, i'd been hearing about the place for so long i thought it had opened a while ago. if i'd known it had been open less than 2 weeks, i wouldn't hav ventured in.

                                    yeah, in a perfect world every place hits all perfect marks from opening day, but that is rarely the case.

                                    was it the greatest meal ever? no, but very solid and i think it will become a good addition to the neighborhood. afternoon options around there are very slim.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      Interesting to read such divergent opinions from 2 posters that I think highly of.

                                      Haven't been yet; only cuz we're real friendly with the crew at Max and Dylans. How would anyone compare it to M & D or JM Curley's? which seem to me to be the reasonable competitors in the neighborhood for a beer and a bite.

                                      1. re: 9lives

                                        i'm not a fan of the food at max & dylan's and the few times i've eaten at the bar during the day, the bartenders seem distracted, making a "quick" lunch there take much longer than necessary.

                                        as for curley's, i like it, but they offer only a very limited menu from 2-5, so my timing has been off to get anything other than a burger.

                                        i am quite surprised at how bad some of the posters' meals were at back deck, since ours was just fine. i wonder if somebody got fired from the kitchen?

                                        1. re: 9lives

                                          The bathrooms are great and you don't even have to pass the hostess to use em... big plus in Downtown Crossing.

                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            Ha..I can't get to the bathrooms at M&D without someone buying me a drink...:)

                                            1. re: 9lives

                                              M&D?

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                Max & Dylan's

                                                1. re: 9lives

                                                  Aaaaah of course.

                                            2. re: StriperGuy

                                              lol, the ladies' room is super spacious. also a fresh flower arrangement in there!

                                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                                            It's been open more than two weeks. Since the very end of June, so more like 4 weeks at this point.

                                      2. I just saw an ad for Back Deck in the Improper. Any updates on the place? Is it worth trying for a city dweller who is barbeque-deprived? Thanks.

                                        1. Any recent comments on food here? I had a beer at the bar the other day and I liked the setup at the bar, but I wondered about the food. The guy next to me was eating some tasty-looking grilled vegetables...

                                          Anyone eaten here recently?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: ebone

                                            I stumbled upon it about two months ago, and did not love my bland open face turkey sandwich. The place seemed kind of soulless to me.

                                            1. re: ebone

                                              4 of us had a fine meal there before Book Of Mormon, a couple weeks ago. Nothing spectacular, but menu was interesting, service was very good, and the food was pretty good.

                                              1. re: L2k

                                                My minimal experience with the staff was positive (we liked the bartender, she was very good), which makes me want to give it another crack at some point. Downside for them is that they are a block away from JM Curley, which seems to have a tractor beam on me anytime I am in the area...

                                              2. re: ebone

                                                Nothing remarkable about this place. So many better options in the neighborhood.