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When word got out that Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale had opened in the Downtown Crossing area, we weren't quite sure what to expect. Is it a brewpub or a steakhouse
? The answer is neither. The Temple Place gastropub offers an impressive list of cask conditioned ales and Prohibition era cocktails
served up in a fun casual environment.
This old style pub harkens back several eras that is evident in the interior design. The dark wood walls lined with framed corsets steps back in time to a Victorian period, which is also further reflected in the menu with old time reasonably priced favorites.
While there are some traditional staples of a pub menu that include Stoddard's own take on a burger, most items focus on comfort food favorites with a twist. For example, you won't find dishes like roulade of mushroom stuffed quail or the Merguez lamb sausage sandwich with house turnip kraut and ramp aioli on just any traditional menu. And when was the last time you saw guests ordering deviled eggs or a pot of pickles?
We started off with one of Stoddard's signature drinks, the Moscow mule — Russian vodka, lime and ginger beer served up in a fun frosty copper mug. Our server told us Executive Chef Mark Cina prepares everything from his "scratch kitchen" hand making every item that is produced. The house charcuterie plate with quail pate along with a selection of terrines, cured meats and sausages served with pickles and toast should really be commended. The crispy lobster scallion hush puppies were addictive accompanied by a spicy avocado aioli for dipping. The aged gouda and cask ale fondue also sounded like it would be the perfect accompaniment to a stout on a cool day served with pretzels and crudite.
Moving right along, we sampled Stoddard's signature dish — the ballotine of Vermont rabbit — boneless tender rabbit stuffed with creamy rabbit mousse and wrapped in crispy house made pancetta and served with sweet glazed prunes, which added a nice flavor burst. The seared Meyer Ranch all natural beef ribeye was a generous tender and juicy cut served with a side of rich potato puree and grilled tender asparagus.
Instead of dessert, we opted for their signature after-dinner drink — the bourbon root beer float. The large mug arrived with a heaping scoop of ice cream bobbing in a tasty concoction of sweet root beer and bourbon.
Don't miss the Cask Ale Brunch held on Sundays, which includes your choice of any omelet or entrée (think eggs Benedict or house-smoked ham grits) along with two pints of cask ale on tap for just $22 per person. Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale is located at 48 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. For more information, call (617) 426-0048 or visit stoddardsfoodandale.com