By Celina Tennant
My friend Amanda and I had found ourselves in the city one late Sunday afternoon after my coworker had given me tickets to see the Blue Man Group perform at the Charles Playhouse. I suggested that we find a restaurant nearby afterwards for dinner so that she could get the full blogging experience (where I force everyone to not touch their food until I get pictures and ask them to describe their meals even though I take a bite anyway).
I knew that Stoddard’s Fine Food and Ale was a close walk from the theater and luckily the wind had died down since we had walked from the Tufts T stop before the show. I had been to this restaurant a long time ago on a first date (the restaurant left an impression, the guy didn’t) and I remembered it as the best place I had ever eaten fish and chips.
As I assume most restaurants in Boston were decorated for St. Patrick’s Day, Stoddard’s had their green shamrocks and balloons set out. Their normal, everyday décor took us back to the 1800s when the building was originally built and they boast many of the original features like railings, wooden clapboards, and light fixtures. Back in 1868, Chandler’s Corset Store was the tenant and Stoddard’s honors them with a few garments from that era displayed along the front wall. Other tenants throughout the decades include Stoddard’s Fine Cutlery and Filene’s. Being one of the few buildings to survive the Great Boston Fire of 1872, and because of its architecture, Stoddard’s remains a pinnacle in Boston history.
Amanda and I scanned the long list of cocktails and spirits—although we didn’t even know what some of the ingredients were—and she settled on the Wild Orchard for $12 with applejack, rye, apple cider, cider syrup, angostura bitters, and sprig of mint and I got the El Diablo for $10 with tequila, crème de cassis, lime, and ginger beer. Each drink had well-balanced flavors and it’s easy to tell they take pride in their cocktail-making. I was really intrigued by the drinks that listed “whole egg” as an ingredient! If this doesn’t tickle your fancy though, they also have a huge menu for bottled and draft beers.
The dinner menu has a lot of American dishes with a hint of European fare to it. They offer a Scotch egg appetizer and a Bratwurst entrée, but you can also get chicken wings and a burger if you’re not feeling too adventurous. We decided on the Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts (first photo below) for $9 and the Poutine (second photo below) at $10 for a few appetizers. Amanda is a Brussels sprouts fanatic and was really impressed by the cook and flavor of them. They were tossed in garlic, brown butter, and a cranberry zabaglione (an Italian dessert or beverage made with egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet wine or spirit). Poutine has to be my biggest guilty pleasure and it was Amanda’s first time having it! Poutine is a Canadian dish that is literally just French fries, brown gravy, and cheese curds. I could probably have eaten the entire bowl, but Amanda enjoyed them too.
I had to make sure my memory served me correctly, so I ordered the Fish & Chips for $23, which came with malt vinegar fries (as if I needed more after the Poutine), black pepper dill coleslaw, and the house tartar sauce. The fish was so light, flaky, and flavorful; I’d go as far as to say even if you didn’t like fish, you’d enjoy this because it’s not overpoweringly fishy.
Amanda got the Stoddard’s Burger for $15, which came with cheddar cheese, lettuce, bacon, and a mysterious “Stoddard’s sauce.” She asked for no tomato or onion and it came with a side of fries (MORE fries!). I took my blog bite from the plate and it was incredibly juicy and savory. Sometimes burgers can be hit or miss; this was definitely a hit!
I’m glad my memory proved correct and we were able to enjoy some delicious food and drink after an extremely entertaining show. Stoddard’s has an unassuming presence in the heart of downtown Boston, but it is absolutely worth the trip, not only for the food but also for the atmosphere and rich history.
48 Temple Pl, Boston, MA 02111