Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Gallows: A Love/Hate Relationship

I've now been taken to The Gallows (South End in Boston) on two dates. If it were my money in question, I'd probably never have gone because it can get pretty expensive. It's possible to keep your bill down to a reasonable range, but you have to be very disciplined in the face of a really interesting menu.

The space is nice, with fun spooky-ish decorations. On 8 PM on a Wednesday it was way too cramped, loud and dark for my taste. At 5:45 on a Saturday, it was a bit better on all three counts.

On the time I arrived when it was full, we had cocktails in the lounge area while we waited. They have a fun cocktail menu, all $10. They also have fun bar snacks, such as a $6 daily taco, $5 pumpkin seed cracklins, and a $6 scotch egg.

The menu changes constantly, so you can't expect all of these things to be there, at least in this exact form, if you go.

Out of Control Poutine - $18 - Fries, cheese curds, seared foie gras, Brussels sprouts, and maple syrup - These were the softest and sweetest cheese curds I've ever had, which, with the delightful maple, eggy-tasting foie gras, and the slight crunch of the sprouts made for a delicious version of poutine. The problem was that the fries themselves had the texture of fries made an hour before, which puts a damper on what would otherwise have been a wonderful indulgence, if one I might recommend as a fucked up dessert rather than an appetizer. Just make sure it's being shared by four people minimum.

Salt Cod Fritters - $11 - Boston Baked Beans with a Lemon Caper Tartar Sauce - The cod fritters were normal and the baked bean juice and lemon caper sauce were both really nice, but the beans were freaking al dente, which totally ruined the whole thing. 

Pulled Pork Muffin - $6 - This corn muffin had more than pulled pork on it. At the very least, pickled red onions, chives and some kind of pepper jelly, which packed a nice little amount of heat. The whole thing was so damn flavorful. It was my favorite thing I ate on my second trip.
Pumpkin, Cheddar, and Ale Soup - $10 - with pickled porcinis and fried sage - The pickled mushrooms brought so much flavor to this soup whose flavors otherwise blend with beautiful subtlety. I loved it.

Lobster Fritters - $14 - hoisin, sweet chili sauce, mustard greens - We got this because our server was singing their praises. But honestly, the fry covers the delicate lobster flavor. So while this was certainly tasty, it's not the best use of lobster, which makes it not worth $14.

Our server couldn't sing the praises of the Ploughman and the Farmer highly enough, so we got those.

The Ploughman - $17 - Game Bird Terrine, Chicken Liver Pate, Rabbit Terrine, Clothbound Cheddar, Pickles Mustard, Green Tomato Chutney - I thought it was all pretty damn delicious, but I never know what to say about pates, except that if you think you don't like pate, you probably haven't had good pate.



Chicken Liver Pate 




The Farmer - $14 - Cremont, Great Hills Blue, Clothbound Cheddar, heirloom apples & pears, concord grapes, honeycomb - I think this one stays pretty constant on the menu, and for good reason.


Everything was awesome. I'd never had such flavorful grapes before, and the honeycomb could bring tears to your eyes.


Potato Skins - $14 - with foie gras, mission figs and brie - This, however, was my favorite dish of the first night. Fortunately, it's still on the menu. TGI Fridays ain't got shit on these potato skins!

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts - $8 - with bacon, cider and golden raisins - Our server's recommendation, again. I love brussels sprouts, but there wasn't anything particularly interesting or delectable about this dish. I should've gone with my own judgment.


The Baconator Burger - $15 - Smoked bacon, bacon braised lettuce, bacon aioli, onions, American cheese - This turned out to be another annoying place that won't cook their burgers under medium rare. We begged to no avail, ant then it came back motherfucking well done.

Brown! No pink at all! My girlfriend proclaimed it the worst burger she's ever had. In reality, she was just so mad about the burger being ruined by overcooking it after we'd made it clear how devastated we were to have it even be cooked all the way to medium rare, that I'm sure she wasn't able to be objective. She also hasn't had a truly bad burger in so long, that I don't think she remembers what that's like. All the bacon stuff tasted good at least. The burger meat was still tasty in the sad little way well done beef can be. At least these fries were fresher than the poutine's were. I gave them a 7/10. The size and texture had the right idea, they just didn't get the perfect crispy/soft combo down.

Sweet Potatoes - $7 - with chipotle and marshmallow brulee - This dish, on the other hand, which our waiter also recommended, and which I probably would have ordered regardless, was awesome.  Maybe this was my favorite dish of the first night. Let's call it a tie. The spiciness of the chipotle with the sweetness of the marshmallow and sweet potatoes, the creamy potato quality with the creamy marshmallow and crispy bruleed topping all come together to make this a must-try dish. Fair warning: you won't be able to even sort of enjoy your mother's shitty sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving after trying this wonder.


Bananas Foster Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Fluffernutter Brulee - My dinner companion and I were pretty stuffed, but the waiter was carrying on about the wonder of this dessert. I was torn, but when he said that out of everyone who orders it, 99% of them finish the entire thing, I thought, why not, let's just try it.

It was pretty delicious. It was still sweeter than I care for my desserts, though not as sickeningly sweet as most desserts. We didn't finish the whole thing though, which means that, appropriately enough considering that I was dining at this restaurant and trying all of this expensive food in the first place, at least for a moment, I was part of the 1%!


In the restroom they have creepy decorations like these.

The Gallows on Urbanspoon

Foodie Asshole Lunch Highlights:

  • Tuscan Bread Soup - $10 - cranberry beans, prosciutto, mustard greens, kale, parmesan
  • Carpet Burger 2.0 - $17 - fried oysters, sweet & hot zucchini pickles, mayo (and more good burgers, served with fries or greens)


Foodie Asshole Brunch Highlights:

  • GRAPEFRUIT BRUL√ČE - $4
  • BRAISED PORK BELLY & SWEET POTATO HASH - $14 - pineapple braised belly, peppers & onions, poached egg
  • WILD MUSHROOMS ON BRIOCHE -$14 - hen of the woods, chive scrambled eggs, greens
  • FRIED CHICKEN & WAFFLES - $14 - caramelized apples & pears, walnuts, honey
  • PORTUGUESE EGG SANDWICH - $10 - smoked ham & bratwurst, swiss scrambled eggs, sage-mustard gravy (This obviously means it's on a Portuguese Roll, which is of course one of the world's best forms of bread.)