Towne Stove and Spirits is new in town but may seem familiar to those who have visited the other restaurants in Lydia Shire's purview: Locke-Ober and Scampo. This time out, she's nabbed a rather surprising partner: Jasper White, whose unpretentious fare at Summer Shack seems an unusual match for Shire's high-flying menus.
The menu reflects this offbeat pairing—"an amalgam of Jasper's and Lydia's greatest hits," as tatsu puts it: lots of lobster, lamb ribs, burgers. The dining room these dishes are served in is all high style, taking up a vast chunk of the Hynes Convention Center, with huge windows in every room and a great view of Boylston from both levels. Quirky touches include red-checked napkins and lab beakers for water glasses, which stick out in their luxe surroundings.
But back to the food. Anything with lobster is likely to be good ("it seems that anywhere Jasper White is associated with knows how to cook and serve lobster perfectly," says Gabatta), as are the burger, the chicken brick style, and the wild salmon. tatsu was particularly taken with the Colorado lamb ribs: "No gameyness, or strings, just smooth as silk meat ... an enormous eye in the rib, larger than a diver scallop unbelievably, absolutely succulent, pleasing non-gamey aroma, a texture between tenderloin of beef and sirloin."
The prices are less thrilling. Mains run from about $25 to $35 and don't come with sides. "It's the old steakhouse à la carte scam," says MC Slim JB. "There are $30 entrées on this menu with no side dishes, and while the sides are big enough to share, you'll probably want at least a couple, which in many cases will put your total average entrée price near $40."
Expect to pay at least $100 per person if you're going for a meal plus drinks and dessert. But don't skip dessert! "I have to say the desserts at Towne are extraordinary and surprisingly cliché-free. The pastry chef is someone I hadn't heard of, a Lyons Group restaurants veteran, but her work is beautiful, tasty, and unusual," says the erudite MC Slim JB.
Towne Stove and Spirits [Back Bay]
900 Boylston Street, Boston