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Puritan and Co.

g
gourmetnachos Dec 5, 2012 10:45 AM

Had an incredible experience there last Saturday night. Had a reservation for 5 people and added one at the last minute, which they accommodated without fuss. I thought the place would be packed on their first weekend, but instead it was just pleasantly full. Because of the high ceilings and airiness, the space feels elegant without stuffing it down your throat. Grabbed a glass of wine at the bar before we sat down - I believe they only serve wine and beer, but had a nice selection. We had a comfortable corner banquette at the front of the restaurant with a view of the street and the whole restaurant.

On to the food! Ooooh the food.

Delicious gougeres (oozing with gruyere and the size of a hockey puck), bluefish pate, and Quahog "stuffies" to start for the table. Also fantastic rolls that reminded me of the Swiss Bakers pretzel bread with large chunks of salt on top.

I had the foie gras salad for my app - frisee, foie gras, something else I can't remember, all topped with a soft farm egg. D-e-lightful, and surprisingly not terribly heavy. Someone else had the bone marrow gratin, and I only heard groans coming from them for the next ten minutes, along with mutterings of "meatbutter..." Others shared the kale salad, which also got two thumbs up.

On to the entrees - I had the roast chicken, which I must declare the best in Boston, with absolutely nothing to back that up. Where they got me is that it comes prepared in two ways: the breast and thigh is roasted, the drumstick is confit. Hold on while I swoon again. The contrast was fantastic. Brussels and farro rounded out a perfect plate. Others had the steak special, which was prepared sous vide and finished with a sear that jammed it up into the unearthly realm; and the duck, which came with a tantalizing layer of fat and crispy skin. All were absolutely amazing, and at the end of the meal all six of us declared it the most pleasurable dining experience we'd had in awhile.

In summary, I can't wait to go back.

  1. Small Plates Dec 5, 2012 11:02 AM

    Right there with you in the "most pleasurable dining experience we've had in awhile" sentiment. We also had the gourgeres and the frisee salad. The elements you missed are the johnny cake underneath the frisee and cracklings on top. This is the best salad I've ever had. It was perfect. And you are right on about it not feeling at all heavy (given the decadence of the ingredients!)

    As if that wasn't good enough, the moxie glazed lamb belly is indeed the best THING I have eaten in a good long while. I also thought the breakfast radishes with creamy farm butter and toasted pumpernickel crumbs (to emulate the earth, we were told) was cute and really quite good. I have been swooning over this place for days and beg my husband every night to go back. If they had a full bar (he really prefers a gentleman's cocktail right after work) then I think I'd have been back every night this week. Alas, it is painful that we tried West Bridge for the first time last night, and as good as everything was, I could not get the lamb belly and the frisee salad out of my mind, and so was grossly unappreciative (to no fault of West Bridge's whatsoever) of the yummy treats we had there (egg in a jar, cod, carrots and quinoa).

    It will be a while before I want to go anywhere else except Puritan & Co. Hope they keep this quality up, because that bar is pretttttttty high!! Much <3 <3 <3 for Puritan!

    1. d
      DoubleMan Dec 8, 2012 06:14 AM

      Went last night. I really love the space and decor, really well done, and great lighting. The wine list is one of the most interesting wine lists I've seen. Not too long, well chosen, and full of funky natural wines and wines from small producers. We had a "rose" that was just bonkers, more similar to a cider than a common rose. We also had a sardinian red of 50% cannonau and the rest of sardinian grapes no one has heard of. Delicious. The service was stellar throughout. Knowledgeable, friendly, attentive - totally spot on.

      The food:

      Gougeres - great, but they need to warn guests to be careful because the mornay inside can squirt out. Radishes with butter and pumpernickel soil - fine. A little gimmicky and the radishes seemed a bit old - might be better in season. $6 felt steep. Lamb belly - Nom nom - maybe could use a bit more acid in the glaze. Cauliflower latte - Pretty good. Great texture, but the cauliflower flavor gets a bit lost with the heavy amount of acid in the dish. Chicken soup - Comes out as a crafted pile of veggies and chicken and then the pour over the broth. Under the veggies is the carrot top pistou, which creates a green effect when they pour over the mostly clear broth. The broth was perfect - enough said. The only issues were the amount of carrot top pistou (too much) and the bowl, which is really shallow and makes getting the last bits of broth difficult. Great dish, though.

      Roast chicken - Breast was dry, but the dark meat was fantastic. Wagyu steak - Way undercooked, but still tasty. Sides are boring. Lamb with sausage - The winner of the entrees with a to-temp center surrounded by a very crispy sausage. Duck - Small for the $28 pricetag. It was less than half a breast - just two pieces. The meat was perfectly tender and seasoned, but the skin had no crispness. The salsify was delicious, but the quinoa didn't bring much to the party.

      The cookie dough "sundae" was one of the worst desserts I've ever had. It was a block of straight-from-the-fridge cookie dough with a light chocolate coating sitting in a pool of creme anglaise. I generally love stoner-food type desserts, and cookie dough specifically, but this was just terrible. Incredibly hard to break into and just not tasty. They should take it off the menu or do a significant rework on it.

      Overall we liked it, but the $100 pp bill (although with $110 for two bottles of wine) didn't feel great. Like many of the ~$25-30 entree spots around town, this is a place I'd rather go to and grab a few of the appetizers and forego entrees.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DoubleMan
        g
        Gabatta Dec 8, 2012 07:06 AM

        Having lived around the corner from the Cellar for awhile and being fans of what Gilson did there, we stopped on the other night and shared a bunch of dishes:

        - We were served excellent rolls to start.
        - Gougeres: These came out cold. While we appreciated noting having molten hot cheese spewing out of these, cold liquid cheese was not very appetizing. The dough was a bit more dense that I would have preferred.
        - Frisee salad: A truly excellent variation filled with lots of delicious components foie gras, cracklings, egg. This was a great salad and seasoned well with a bit of fleur de del . The johnny cake got a bit lost underneath and may be unnecessary, but didn't detract from the overall dish.
        - Scallop: Another winner. Delicious and perfectly cooked. The 'herb veil' which hid the delicious scallops underneath could go away though. This was a somewhat meager portion for a $15/app.
        - Roast Chicken: Pretty good, but one can certainly find better renditions in the area. The confit leg was a nice bonus, and the brussels and farro were good accompaniments.
        - Roasted Carrots: Couldn't say, they never made it to the table (and we were there early when it wasn't busy.
        - Cookie dough sundae: I agree with doubleman, this was a let down. It has no business being called a sundae and none of the components were really worthy. The waiter said it was his favorite dessert, so hopefully his palate is just off.
        - Puritan cake: They brought bits of this with the check as an homage to the heritage of the space. Little lemony bits of cake. They were better than the sundae.

        Overall the food had hits and misses, but they are still evolving the menu after just 2 weeks. If Gilson can stay away from the kitschy gimmicks, the food will get there.

        The beer and wine selection was not as extensive as one might hope for a place that only serves beer and wine. I think the lack of a full liquor license is a big issue for a restaurant of Puritan's size, particularly with so much bar space.

        The space is beautifully put together. It has high ceilings and lots of space while maintaining a somewhat cozy feel They did a great job with the lighting. Service was enthusiastic and friendly, but if you forget a dish on a quiet night that's not a good sign. Here's a tip, give me less history of the space and fanboy enthusiasm for the food and just get my order right.

        I really wonder how well they will do with the price points and lack of a full bar considering the location. Parking is also tough in the that area of Cambridge Street (even with a resident sticker). Someone came in and asked about parking and they were directed to the lot next to Ole. Aside from not being that closeby, there are never spots in that lot. We parked around the corner on Norfolk, but we have a resident sticker. There were no spots available on Cambridge Street.

        Perhaps they looked at Bondir a few blocks away and said we can make higher prices work too, despite the challenges. However they are very different places. The food at Bondir is much more refined and (to me) worth the price point; the space is much more intimate; parking a touch easier. It's just a different level of experience.

        We will give Puritan another shot, but next time I think we will sit at the food bar and try some charcuterie, raw bar and glasses of wine to see if that clicks better.

        1. re: Gabatta
          h
          hckybg Dec 8, 2012 08:28 AM

          Bondir is also just not that expensive. With the half-portions, two people could order four things for dinner and share a dessert and it would be about 50/person. I was disappointed when I saw the prices at Puritan & Co. I still hope to try it, but knowing that I can have a cheaper and excellent meal at East by Northeast, Bondir, or Tupelo means that I am unlikely to rush there.

      2. v
        valcfield Dec 8, 2012 09:24 AM

        I had a meal there the night they opened- won't go quite as in depth, apologies but:

        service was great, very friendly, and very fast, especially considering they had just opened and restaurant was probably at 70-80% capacity.

        moxie lamb belly: this is amazing. and very reasonably priced for the portion you get. but, as a result:

        this dish made both entrees i tried (duck breast, lamb chop/sausage) seem *very* overpriced at over double the cost of the lamb belly. The duck breast was quite nice, two very big slices. The lamb chop, wrapped in the sausage i believe, made for a very nice presentation, but nothing about it knocked my socks off. the vegetables with every dish needed some more seasoning, which was too bad.

        Oh, also had the radishes with butter and soil- the soil, basically small crunchies of rye bread i think, were fun, but there was way too much butter, and as with other veggies, not enough salt.

        i actually enjoyed the cookie dough sundae. it was fun, nothing particularly original flavor wise (though the presentation is cute), but nothing terrible either.

        i would go back to do the lamb belly again, and again, and would like to fidn some other small plates i could use to make up a full meal; its hard for me to say i should spend ~28 bucks for the large plates in comparison.

        2 Replies
        1. re: valcfield
          b
          BostonCookieMonster Dec 10, 2012 09:38 AM

          I really wanted to love this place but didn't quite. The service was extremely sweet and it felt, you know, good to be there. The potato roll was one of the best bread products I've ever had in my life. I would have eaten another one for dessert. The smoked bluefish pate had a weird gummy consistency that made me think it was made with some gross-out animal part, and it didn't have a ton of flavor. The lamb with the sausage wrapped around it had a similar gummy quality (the sausage part, anyway) and the whole thing was just kind of meh. Parsnip cake was OK. I guess we should have had the lamb belly.

          1. re: BostonCookieMonster
            v
            valcfield Dec 10, 2012 09:40 AM

            sorry to hear about the other food- but thatnk you for reminding me that potato roll was out of control.

        2. gini Dec 13, 2012 06:53 AM

          We sat at the bar to banter with Colin last night - I want to pile on the praise for this gem in Inman.

          Gougeres - served roomish temperature - these are much denser than other variations I've had, but nonetheless delicious. I thought the mornay was delightfully creamy and fatty.

          Frisee salad - everything that has been said about this salad is true. It will make you groan in ecstasy.

          Bone Marrow gratin - yes, let's take bone marrow, which already perfect, and make it into a gratin to serve with duck fat brioche. I *will* have my fat and eat it too, thankyouverymuch.

          House made sausage - was duck - perhaps my DC can elaborate here. All I remember thinking was it was fatty and served with root vegetables. Thumbs up.

          Lamb belly - small plates sums it up well above.

          BostonCookieMonster makes mention of the amazing potato rolls. I would have eaten an entire basketful if I thought I would be able to stand afterward.

          Parsnip cake - for me, carrot cake is the best cake on earth, so it was fun to try this rendition, with a poached raisin sauce and carrot bits. I like deconstruction as much as the next guy, I suppose, and this was a nice way to end the night. Don't know that I would have it again though - I would probably order a piece of charcuterie next time.

          Wines:
          I feel like I am seeing sparkling rose everywhere right now. Or maybe I've just started to drink it everywhere I go. Anyway, the Huber makes a fun glass.
          At one of the bartender's suggestions I also tried a glass of La Rioja Alta ' Viña Arana' Reserva. Holy cow - the nose on that wine is amazing. I wish to smell it right now.

          I like this place a lot and unlike some of the posters above, I don't feel like it's a lot of money for what we got. That said, we made a meal out of small plates, and a couple of glasses of wine. All of what we tried was really strong and I'm wishing Puritan & Co all the success they deserve.

          1. y
            YoChief23 Dec 17, 2012 06:54 PM

            We dined at Puritan with a group of 5 on Saturday night and had a great experience. It's been the restaurant I have been looking forward to most this Fall.

            I didn't realize it would be as large as it is inside....not that it's huge but I like the layout with the long side bar and I could see it being pretty fun to hang in the back with the shuckers as well. The interior colors remind me a lot of ICOB, but more intimate....loved the hallway sinks for some reason. We had the really cool front corner table which was great.

            Everyone shared so I had the opportunity to taste a bunch of dishes.

            Taking notes from this thread I have to say the gougeres were not oozing at all so not sure if they have re-tweaked the recipe or I missed something but it was a nice snack as we were enjoying a drink at the bar.

            Standouts to me in no particular order were the lamb belly, bone marrow, frisee salad, scallop dish and perfectly cooked cobia.....ohh and the potato parker house rolls were killer as well. Two people ordered the Clam Chowder and the plating along with the presentation is very playful and the dish tasted very good.

            Other tastes were the chicken entree, stuffies, and grilled oysters (perfectly cooked), cookie dough desert. The only area I felt needs improvement is the desserts; nothing jumped out at me as a must order and I am usually tempted by at least 1 or 2 things on every dessert menu.

            Service was solid and we received a nice explanation of the restaurant's name and the space's history when we were delivered our small pieces of Puritan Cake that came along with our bill...really cool way to end the evening.

            So Puritan and Company delivered for me. I was really struck by the quality of the plating and presentation, overall taste and general seasoning of the food, warm knowledgable service and ambiance. I think they have carved out a nice space for themselves in the overall Boston dining scene and can't wait to see how things progress.....I will be back for sure.

            5 Replies
            1. re: YoChief23
              c
              chevrelove Dec 19, 2012 01:40 PM

              Is everyone else receiving the small pieces of Puritan Cake with the bill? We didn't when we dined here last week, and I'm kind of bummed about it.

              1. re: chevrelove
                d
                DoubleMan Dec 19, 2012 05:31 PM

                I did not two weeks ago.

                1. re: chevrelove
                  gini Dec 20, 2012 06:33 AM

                  We had two last week.

                  1. re: chevrelove
                    MC Slim JB Dec 20, 2012 06:59 AM

                    I did. It was tasty, but kind of dry. I hope the Puritans had access to icy-cold milk.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    1. re: chevrelove
                      n
                      natecsd Dec 20, 2012 11:01 AM

                      We did as well, and like MC Slim, we found it dry. A nice thought, at least.

                  2. n
                    natecsd Dec 19, 2012 11:18 AM

                    I was at P&C last night with 3 friends, and I'd offer a bit of a counterpoint to the buzz here. The food was - on the whole - quite good, but the experience as a whole was frustrating to say the least. First things first, the food:

                    Things that were great: the lamb chop and sausage - perfectly cooked w. a lot of flavor. The chicken - as described by others - yum! And the scallop appetizer - incredible, and I didn't think the portion was terribly undersized. And the swordfish pastrami was likely great, but I didn't get to taste it... Finally, as others mentioned, the rolls are out of this world good.

                    Things that were good: the baby kale salad - Nicely plated, not overdressed, but lacking that bit of pizazz (or perhaps the foie of the frisee!) The chicken soup - Doubleman got it pretty much perfect. Good for a cold night.

                    Things that were fine: the gougeres, and the grilled oysters. Neither were amazing.

                    If I stopped here, you'd think - why the trepidation? The trouble was the timing. We sat and looked at the menus, got our drinks (it really is an excellent and interesting wine list), and waited. And waited. This isn't so much a knock on the service, which was very competent most of the time, but on the kitchen. It took probably 25 minutes for our first round of dishes to arrive, and then somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour - literally - for our mains to come out. They came around with little cups of the cauliflower soup after about 40 minutes as we must have begun to look desperate. That helped, but only barely. We love a leisurely meal, but we had two courses and didn't linger, and we were there for 3 hours.

                    I know they've been open only three weeks and these sorts of things happen. We usually try to stay away for the first month or so, but this time it didn't happen. I'd definitely try it again, but perhaps not for a little while...

                    1. v
                      valcfield Jan 25, 2013 04:12 PM

                      wanted to bump this- anyone been back in january and see how things have progressed?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: valcfield
                        5
                        5thAndNowhere Jan 26, 2013 11:23 AM

                        had drinks and a quick bite at the bar a couple of weeks ago. always have to try chowder, esp at new promising places. the presentation was gorgeous - the clam shells, four across if i recall, delicately plated with pork belly and a tasty crouton bit inside. the combination was great, how can you go wrong? but the base of the chowder was so disappointing. petit diced potatoes (i think) were a little toothsome (and so tiny i dont know how they could not be cooked) and floating in what could only be described as milk. yes, a bowl of milk. perhaps it was thinned out cream but zero seasoning, mayyyybe a touch of salt. needs to be punched up. hate to say this too, because i think gilson is so talented.

                        good beer and wine selection. had a bite of the foie gras salad. delicious. great, attentive service.

                      2. d
                        Duster17 Mar 10, 2013 08:45 AM

                        Went last night and had a nice meal. Also appreciated the good service. Interesting wine list which our server helped us navigate. I have a question though for those of you knowledgeable about oysters. They were not offering any last night due to the recent storm - said they couldn't harvest any. Does that mean places like Island Creek also would not be offering local oysters? I realize that some places get their oysters from other parts of the country which would not be affected by the storm. Just wondering...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Duster17
                          MC Slim JB Mar 10, 2013 09:42 AM

                          ICOB definitely has multiple sources. There was an Island Creek shortage last year, and they relied on another farm in MD for a similar offering. A few places regularly feature West Coast oysters, too, like Neptune.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        2. jgg13 Mar 10, 2013 01:43 PM

                          Went a couple of weeks ago and liked it although it wasn't as great as I was hoping for. The best way to describe it was that I enjoyed everything that I had but nothing wowed me, except for the bread I suppose.

                          We had the swordfish pastrami and a pickled beef tongue appetizer. The pastrami was really good, I'm not much of a seafood eater so it's hard to say too much but I recognized it as a great take on pastrami. If I was more of a seafood guy this would probably have been the other thing to wow me. The beef tongue fit the pattern I described above - quite tasty but not fantastic. The gougeres were similar - it seems they've changed them to avoid the oozing cheese issues, they've now got a mornay sauce baked into them, more of a flavoring.

                          I was really dismayed that the frisee salad was no longer on the menu (perhaps temporarily?) and had the sausage plate instead. Yet again, it was tasty but not fantastic. The sausage had an odd texture, and not in a good way - overly gritty/mealy. The duck tasted great but the interior portion of the breast was somewhat tough. They did a great job with the fat and skin but the meat was so-so.

                          Desserts were yet again following the pattern of good but not great. Service, otoh, was great.

                          I'd definitely go again and have been a fan of Gilson for a while. I'd be ecstatic if what we saw was an 'off night' because that speaks volumes as to the potential, but it could also just be how it is. Considering the price point that they're pushing I don't think that 'good but not great' will cut it. It was similar in cost to a similar sized meal down the street at Bondir and I'd much rather go there at this point.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jgg13
                            d
                            Duster17 Mar 10, 2013 04:04 PM

                            We also had the swordfish pastrami which we thought was tasty and inventive. The highlight of our meal was the cauliflower soup. Very yummy - why doesn't mine taste like that? Our mains were the Muscovy duck and wagyu steak. We found them both a bit chewy though not overcooked. We will definitely go back to explore the menu maybe in a different season.

                            1. re: Duster17
                              Bob Dobalina Jun 13, 2013 05:41 PM

                              Guessing you need to add more butter and more salt.

                          2. kobuta Jun 13, 2013 04:54 PM

                            Reviving to add my review from last night. My expectations were perhaps unfairly high - my overall experience was a good but not great. My DC said she wouldn't steer someone to this place, while I saw more potential.

                            We shared our starters - bluefish pate and pork belly.
                            Bluefish pate normally not my thing, but it was better than expected; the texture was a little dense. Not much flavor, except the fishy-ness at the end. It wasn't a bad fishy-ness to suggest poor quality, but just not what I'm used to in pate. It was also served only with about 6 small crackers, and I don't like to just spoon pate otherwise.

                            The pork belly was the star of the evening and wowed both of us, despite the initial surprise of getting pork belly with no skin. Thankfully, the thinly sliced, grilled pork belly was delicious (as was the fat that remained) and was paired with a lovely apricot sauce and leeks.

                            She got the duck, and had the same reaction as many did. The un-rendered fat made the duck disgustingly chewy for her, and she felt the duck was too rare. She only ate half and took the rest home where she said she would nuke it and eat it the next day. She liked the overall flavor, but hated the texture. I thought the flavor was simple but pleasant. I agreed the texture wasn't great, but it didn't bother me as much as it did her.

                            I had the wagyu, and asked for medium but this thing came out medium rare. It was simply seasoned, which is fine for a nice steak, but it lacked any sear or browning, and left quite a flat taste, especially in light of working through the soft, rare texture I don't love. I know I could have asked for it to be fixed, but for nice cuts of beef, I will eat them rarer over having to go through the back and forth of trying to get the kitchen to cook it to the right medium I want -- which sometimes is more time than it's worth.

                            I wanted to try dessert but my DC insisted we leave! She didn't want to spend any more money for disappointment. I thought the flavors were decent, but I agreed with her that the execution especially on the entrees needed some work. We did love the bread and gobbled that down in a minute, and found the space inviting and comfortable.

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