Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale, a brand-new spot owned by William Ashmore and Rosemary Lucas of Ivy fame, is one of those places with a gestation period so lengthy that the opening seems almost anticlimactic. The first posts anticipating the restaurant began appearing two full years ago, and even now it's in soft-open mode, serving only a portion of its full menu. Nonetheless, it's worth a look.
Stoddard's main focus is on craft beers, with plans to have five cask ales for sale at all times; early reports say the beers are great and the bartenders are knowledgeable about offerings and generous with tastes. Classic cocktails are another option, with a long list of daisies, coolers, rickeys, smashes, fizzes, juleps, and other retro preparations on the cocktail menu. Hounds like the Temple smash and the Sazerac.
The menu is far from pub grub, with such classy choices as veal cheeks, Island Creek oysters, and mushroom-stuffed quail. With few of these choices available yet, hounds have instead been ordering the tasty, juicy burger: "cooked to a proper medium rare—bun was a buttered/toasted brioche—house-made onion rings—a black pepper mayo for dipping," says Bob Dobalina.
Like the cocktails, the room itself has a vintage vibe; as katzzz puts it, "handsome in a faux-Prohibition era kind of way," with lots of wood, a pressed-tin ceiling, and balconies scavenged from the old Filene's. Oh, and there's a guy waiting to shine your shoes at the end of the bar for $5.
Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale [Downtown Crossing]
48 Temple Place