Dinner at Pastoral Tonight
Dining at Pastoral for the first time tonight. Did a quick board search and couldn't find anything specific beyond opening updates over the past few months. Any recommendations on what's good? Pretty excited to see garlic knots on the menu, something I love while in NYC but have struggled to find locally.
Haven't been, but heard that, re: the pizza, the crust is excellent, but toppings needed work. granted, that was in week 1 fwiw, but perhaps stick simple (or adjust expectations accoridngly?).
we've been. the pizza was not excellent by any standards. it was underdone. perhaps ask for it to be well done. we did enjoy the house salad, the sausage knots were delish and the bolognese was also tasty.
service was miserable but they're new. and the lighting was so bright. def not a date spot.
We went week one and it wasn't very good. Pizza soggy , service amateur and sauce on pasta was like water. I was going to leave it alone for a couple of months and chalked it up to newness. But with Row 34 and Sportello a spit away it may be awhile before we return
I've had much better experiences so far: strong cocktail program, good/reasonable wines BTG, very traditional Neapolitan pizza, maybe not as charred as I prefer, three really terrific pasta dishes. Only thing I haven't loved so far were the garlic knots. Surprise: it's another really loud place. But I'll be back.
My favorite so far is the radiatore with veal breast and Gorgonzola. It reminded me a bit of Grotto's short rib pasta in terms of intensity and richness. Mushroom/walnut plins was also delicious and unusual. Ricotta dumplings with mortadella butter were less ravishing but still delicious. Really nice to see reasonably priced half-portions.
The dish I'm most curious about is the veal/pork pojarski, usually a kind of cutlet formed from chopped roasted meat and ground meat, something I don't recall ever seeing on another Boston menu. They were out of it last time I tried to order it.
Just got home from Pastoral. First impressions: very bright, very loud, tasty food.The service was a notable minus, starting with the lack of greeting at the hostess station, continuing on to zero attention to water glasses, finishing with the presentation of the check without being asked if we wanted dessert or coffee. As for beverages, the wine list was reasonably priced, both by the glass and bottle. The montepulciano by the glass was a nice companion for the pizza.
We started with the garlic knot, thinking it would be akin to NYC-style garlic knots served at every corner pizza shop. If you haven't had these, get yourself in a car tonight and drive down to manhattan or queens. In NY, they are bite-sized chunks of lightly-cooked pizza dough drowned in garlic, olive oil and salt. Just delicious, and something I make sure I eat every single time I visit NYC. Instead, it was one single large knot (pouch?) filled with mozzarella cheese and roasted whole cloves of garlic. Generally fine, but nothing special. The dough it was made with wasn't as chewy as the crust on the pizza.
For dinner, we split a pepperoni pizza and the mushroom plini. The pizza had a nice char on it and was a little bit undercooked, which is just the way we like thin crust. The pepperoni were the large-diameter slices and right between sweet and spicy. The mushroom plini were the real standout for me, though. Little pouches filled with chopped mushroom filling, tossed in a sweet and salty brown butter sauce with walnuts and charred escarole. The char of the escarole gave a nice acidic edge against the richness of the brown butter sauce, very tasty dish.
Overall, we will dine at Pastoral again because the food and drinks were tasty, but hopefully they will iron out service (and turn the lights down) before then.
In regards to garlic knots:
They are good at Crazy Dough's Pizza, very good at Area Four, and we're excellent when they had them at Ribelle (both the duck fat and the pork fat versions.) They're one of my favorite treats as well, so I hope others will chime in with where they've found them.
I've been four times since it opened, and, really, everything is delicious. Lively room, good price point, too. It's just flat out wonderful.
Sorry I didn't see this in time, we tried it for the first time two weekends ago.
Loved the cocktails - I had the "Pastoral" with Lambrusco and beer, it really was like an adult cherry coke as I think Devra First described it. Also a big winner was the Dolcezza d'Asti, a very refreshing lemony sparking cocktail I'd like to replicate at home.
We had the sausage garlic knot and the sardine one, I was also disappointed because I thought they would be the little ones, not one large one. It's not really a garlic knot... but still tasted OK.
We had three pizzas - a margherita, the chicken meatball and one with prosciutto and something else I can't remember. All good but dough needed 30 seconds more in the oven.
We ended with the nutella pizza which was a let down. Not enough nutella inside a pizza round cut in half, like a stuffed focaccia. Pasta Beach does a much better version of this.
Service was spotty with various hiccups and one really odd waiter. But that's to be expected this early.
I went for lunch yesterday. While I was pleased, my companions were less so.
- Great, strong unsweetened iced tea was a plus for me
- I had a puccia with veal breast. It came with mixed greens and some pita chips (not listed) which offset the richness of the sandwich. I really enjoyed it.
- A gluten free friend had great things to say about her meal!
- It's more challenging than you'd think to get a "typical" cheese pizza. Our attempt (pomodoro with mozzarella) still had the margarita style spots of cheese, and also had spicy pepper that was unwelcome.
And one service complaint - a caesar salad requested to come without anchovies came with, but upon request they clearly just took it back to the kitchen and took them off. Anyone who doesn't like anchovies knows that the whole thing still tasted like them. Quite a disappointment.
Overall, we'll probably be back now that we know better how to order. The food was good!