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Restaurants & Bars 8

Publick House - uncharacteristically bad experience

jackal | Feb 26, 200807:35 AM

Let me preface this by saying that I love the gastropub concept and am a beer aficionado. IMO, PH is the best Boston has to offer in this genre and I generally consider it a step-up from Deep Ellum for both beer and food. Normally I enjoy myself at PH and don’t mind the fact that the menu is often over-reaching. I mostly stick to the basics - fish and chips, mac n cheese, sandwiches- after having been disappointed on a number of occasions by some of the more creative fare. That being said, would I go there just for the food? No. For the beer? Quite possibly.

As per usual, It was a jam-packed weekend night but we eventually scored a two-top after about a 30 minute wait. We started out with a couple excellent brews by Southern Tier and Atomium, as well as an order of the monk’s frites. The fries were a disappointment to say the least and certainly not worth the $6.50 price tag. We received a cone of soggy fried potato bits that had clearly been sitting at the bottom of a bin. Assuming these are double-fried in the traditional fashion, I would expect a fresh second fry. I’ll chalk this up to being busy, but it’s still no excuse. As a consolation, the dipping sauces were tasty.

Friend got the mac n cheese w/ bacon. Dry as a bone, and nearly inedible. Having gotten this in the past we were shocked by how dry it was. It must have been sitting in the oven for 10 minutes longer than was needed to crisp the top. To add insult to injury (well not really), it arrived with sausage instead of the requested bacon.

As for myself, I decided to take a shot on the cassoulet. Having had some of the best versions France has to offer I knew I was taking a risk. I’m all for creative alternatives to traditional recipes but when both the idea and the execution are faulty, the dish is usually a disaster. And, sadly, it was. I received a large bowl containing what looked like kidney bean soup with a piece of pork tenderloin (with cheese melted atop) sitting in the middle. Had I ordered a bowl of bean soup, I might have been satisfied (minus the pork, of course). The pork really did confuse me….not only was it overcooked (roasted and then re-heated in the “cassoulet” liquid I presume?) but it had an indistinguishable hunk of melted cheddar atop. I blame myself for ordering the dish; I really should have known better.

Of course, bad experience aside, I will still regularly go to PH for my beer fix. If there were ever a time to send food back, this was it. I do, however, wish the chef would reign in some of his creativity and produce a menu that’s more in his (and his kitchen staff’s) wheelhouse.

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