A couple weeks ago I celebrated my 26th birthday with a few lady friends at Will Gilson’s new restaurant, Puritan & Company. Its arrival in Inman Square earlier in December has been long awaited for months now, and let’s just say the wait was well worth it.
Giving the Cambridge-Somerville area another reason to brag about it’s restaurant offerings, the charming decor and friendly staff are immediately inviting when you first walk in. We spent only a few moments at the bar while waiting for our table to be ready. Long enough to order a quick glass of Sancerre before being seated at the charcuterie bar in back where Chef Nate spent most of the night assembling gorgeous desserts and plating cured meats (which were being sliced fresh just a few feet away) all while answering an array of questions we couldn’t help but ask throughout the night.
“Is that caviar on that dessert?” ”Well yes, it’s homemade maraschino roe.”
Seems like the whole open kitchen concept is trending a bit this year. I fully support it.
We started things off with the Gougeres, puff pastries filled with rosemary and Clothbound cheddar mornay. Warm, buttery, bechamel delights; how could that ever be bad?
Swordfish Pastrami with pumpernickel, brussels and mustard was another hit. The cold temperature of the mustard got mixed reviews. Inventive but a little cold. An interesting surprise I ‘spose.
Duck liver mousse with cranberry, kumquats and brioche
Lamb belly with eggplant, orange + moxie was an overall favorite
Baked scallops served in their own shell paired with parsnips and mushrooms topped with an herb vail gele. On a scale of 1 to 10, this dish gets a 13 based on looks alone. It’s mesmerizing. So much so that part of me didn’t even want to eat it I felt bad cutting into it. Any confusion I had about what herb vail gele was supposed to mean was quickly explained. Hiding below it was a bevy of nantucket Bay Scallops. Not necessarily a dish I would rush to order next time, but definitely one worth gramming.
Grilled sausage with potato puree, lentils and root vegetables
Wagyu steak with pommes anna, boiled dinner veg and egg sauce, paired with side of hay roasted carrots served with onion ash oil and caraway. It was the only entree that we ordered, as we were practically rolling of our stools after the first 6+ plates, but we all saw the description and couldn’t ignore it. We were meant to eat it and we knew it. And we were right. The dish was unforgettable. It’s the type of dish that causes your eyes to roll in the back of your head so far that you almost worry they may not return back to normal. Starting with the pommes anna and hay roasted carrots which were mind blowing on their own, absolutely mind blowing. Its possible I’ll never have another potato that was so perfectly crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and buttery all over. And the steak was every bit as tender, and flavorful (and also kind of buttery) and epic as it looks and sounds. Actually more so.
When it came to dessert, making choices was tough. We ended up sampling a couple, but there was one who rose above all others…
This beauty is comprised of Nestle TollHouse cookie dough, a massive block of it, covered in chocolate ganache and topped off with a waffle chip (?) and maraschino caviar. I’m not even going to go into detail, let’s just say the thing was life changing.
Our wine of choice?
Cerasuolo di Vittoria, of Sicily, that was hand selected by the somellier Josh whose expertise was helpful and entertaining throughout the entire evening.
In terms of food, there were definitely a few hits and misses although everything served as a bit of a conversation piece, which was exciting. No one left hungry, and everyone left eager to return with an item or two on their mind they still had yet to try.
The biggest highlight was the staff. Their passion was eminent throughout our entire time there, from hosts to servers to management and chefs. My advice is to grab a seat at one of the bars (booze or open kitchen) and get as much commentary and recommendations as possible. They know their stuff and they’re happy to help!
1166 Cambridge St.