I may be fighting a cold, but I was strong enough to make it out to a concierge dinner last night. I worked in the morning and then putzed around town until the dinner at 6:30.
I made my first trek over to Trader Joe’s to grab a snack (a Clif bar) and perused their aisles. I miss shopping at TJ’s. I have to go back and get those peanut butter pretzels. I don’t see those lasting very long.
When I was walking back towards the hotel, I was trying to think of what I could do to pass them time. And what I could do that was
free cheap. Then it dawned on me: all my life coming into Boston, I had never been in the Boston Public Library! Well, yesterday was the day. And the weather certainly lent itself to looking for an indoor activity. I was blown away the moment I stepped in.
I had never imagined such intricate opulence in the city. Is it weird that I loved hearing my boots click on the marble floor? And imagining how it would feel to come down the grand stair case in a flowing gown? No? Good. And they do have weddings there. That is cool. They also have a gorgeous courtyard.
Because of the rain, there weren’t many people out there but I can imagine how full the courtyard would be on a nice day. They even have a cafe.
After I walked through the library, I made my way, walking towards Downtown Crossing to have dinner at Stoddard’s. This was my first time at this restaurant and I was excited to be able to try it out.
When we arrived, Andrew pointed out the “parts” of the restaurant: the foot rail on the bar was from an old Green Line rail, the balcony’s were made with the old floors from the Filene’s basement and there was a sign from the days when Stoddard’s made cutlery. They also made corsets; there were a few of them on the wall.
To start, I ordered the Ipswich 20th Anniversary IPA. One sip and I could tell that this was already going to be too hoppy for me. A few more sips confirmed it. The bartender was nice enough to let me switch to a different bar. I had the Ommegang Belgian Pale Ale and it was much smoother for me.
As we were drinking and conversing, some appetizers were placed for us on the bar: aged gouda & cask ale fondue with English style cheese fondue made with local cask-conditioned ale served with house made pretzels & crudité and a basket of fried clams.
Then we were ready to sit. I’ll have to say that from here on out, service was pretty slow. The restaurant wasn’t too busy and there was a bit of a gap between courses. But thankfully the company was worth the waiting and I definitely enjoyed the conversations and the new concierge friends that I made.
For nibbles for the table, there were deviled eggs, beef tartare, house charcuterie plate, more fondue with pretzels and crudité, Island Creek oysters, lobster hush puppies and a simple salad of crisp lettuces, fresh herbs, radishes in a red wine vinaigrette (for me). The salad was just right. Crisp and not too overly covered with dressing.
For an entree, I chose the steak frites: Meyer Ranch hanger steak over braised short ribs, house cut fries, three peppercorn aioli, cognac jus. I had it ordered medium rare and it came out perfect. The steak was very tender and flavorful. I especially loved the short rib under the steak. It was very sweet and tender as well. I had a few fries which were good and crispy. Renee and I had ordered some onion rings to go along with the meal. I had one and they were no 5 Napkin that’s for sure. The batter almost tasted like fried dough.
For dessert, there were three types placed in front of us for sharing: crème brulee, raspberry cheesecake and a chocolate torte. The chocolate torte was a cold dish with a crumby crust and powdered peanut butter (?) on top. It had a soft chocolate flavor to it; I loved it. I had a bite or two of the crème brulee but I’ve never been a fan. Too sugary for me. I liked the raspberry preserve on the cheesecake the best. I love berry toppings.
I was definitely a big fan of Stoddard’s. I loved the atmosphere that brought you back to the days of prohibition (they even had music playing from that era). And I have to get back to try out their impressive beer selection. Next time, I’m all for sitting at the bar, having a beer and some more of those pretzel bites.
All concierge dinners are complimentary but these opinions are that of my own.
Stoddard’s is located on 48 Temple Place in Boston, MA.