The Gallows - the new gastropub in the old Sage space on Washington St (South End) - opened this weekend. I saw the crowd there last night, thought the menu looked great, so we tried it out tonight. I loved it.
We weren't hungry enough to sample a huge selection of the menu, but everything we had was very good, and the best was simply brilliant.
-They have a selection of different poutines - one traditional, one veggie, one with foie, one rotating special. This is awesome. We ordered the traditional. They make their own curds, which were soft and delicious. They use a fabulous dark chicken gravy and cut their own fries. I went to Montreal this winter and sampled several poutines, and only Au Pied du Cochon's was superior. Highlight of the meal, immediately on my list of best foods in Boston. The presentation is the height of simplicity, just a pile of fries covered in curds, gravy, and a little scallion for color.
-They have a nice cheese list - all local, New England - and a selection of appetizers mostly of the cured meat / cured fish / cured other things variety. For sampling purposes, they have platters - one of meats and cheeses, one of vegetables, fruits, and cheeses, one of fish and cheeses. We had the "longshoreman's platter", including a bluefish terrine, a tuna pate, smoked scallops, horseradish cured beets, a potato salad, and a hard boiled egg. The bluefish terrine was a brilliant dish, showcasing the bluefish while mellowing it with butter and dill. It tasted of everything I love about New England. The tuna pate and smoked scallop were fine, but nothing special, the horseradish beets were perfectly balanced, still tasted of beet with a nice horseradish kick, and the potato salad was simple and well-seasoned. I don't understand hard-boiled eggs - I guess this one was fine, but eggs are better when they aren't hard-boiled.
-They have a bunch of different salads, we got the arugula salad with balsamic, fresh strawberries and blue cheese. It was very good.
-A couple things on the menu I mean to try later: the California-style flat patty burger, and the "New England Boiled Dinner" of corned beef, brisket, and short rib with seasonal vegetables.
-The beer list is good. I thought it was a bit short for an apparent gastropub, but it hit its marks with good American and Belgian offerings.
-I watched them make the cocktails, and they bartenders are measuring properly, no free pouring. My "corpse reviver" was a take on the Corpse Reviver #2, but I think they used simple syrup as the sweetening agent rather than Cointreau, and the absinthe didn't show up at all - it was more like a summery gin sling than a perfectly balanced corpse reviver. Nice enough, but I don't think messing with the classic got them anywhere.
-The service was amazing for a second night. Our server was incredibly helpful and well-informed on the menu, and there were no hitches at all in the service. I would never have guessed it was the second night if I didn't already know it.
The Gallows is precisely what the South End has been missing for years. Great place, I highly recommend it to all.