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Dec 5, 2012 10:45 AM

Puritan and Co.

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.

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  1. 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. 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

        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

          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. 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

          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

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

        2. 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.

          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 ' ViƱa 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. 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

              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

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


                    1. re: chevrelove

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