One night removed from a meal at Hamersley’s Bistro that could best be described as disappointing, we took a shot at Eastern Standard. This is the last meal out before the crush of holiday dinners so it was good to have a night that we didn’t have to do any cooking.
Eastern Standard is right in Kenmore Square and is part of the Commonwealth Hotel (as is Island Creek Oyster Bar).
The room is large with high ceilings, a long bar and lots of eclectic art. There are also nice tile floors in a number of areas. The menu is upscale gastropub. There is an extensive wine list with a lot of interesting wines and one of the most extensive beer lists that I’ve seen in Boston.
While we were hoping for a nice meal, we really didn’t have high expectations. We began with oysters and a charcuterie plate. There were four selections of oysters, all local. Very clean and delicious although the Barnstable (Hyannis) were the best. The charcuterie plate was a very pleasant surprise. All meats are cured in house and included country ham, an thin sliced italian sausage, four gras (excellent), sweetbread, and the surprise of the plate, turkey terrine. The Terrine tasted like stuffing. It was delicious!
Of course, this whole review is an excuse to tell you about the otherworldly Pork Porterhouse Chop. Now I usually hesitate to order pork chops as they tend to be dry. Tonight the menu hooked me by listing the following accompaniments; quince, bacon vinaigrette, sauerkraut. So the chop arrives at the table and its HUGE, bone-in. Im terrified of dryness but as I take my first slice the juices just flowed on to my plate. My first bite was delicious moist, tender with a slight BBQ flavor, but delicate. I was told that the secret is cold smoking. Now I need to figure that out! All this is even more amazing given the fact that the chop was almost free of fat! This was the best pork chop I’ve EVER had. I could go on but it would probably seem a bit oddly obsessive and you get the point!
My wife and kids had fish and steak. They said it was good, bit to be honest, I just didn’t care!
Now after a meal like that no one really needs dessert. Unfortunately, the menu hooked me again. I saw Butterscotch Bread Pudding!! I’m a sucker for anything butterscotch if for no other reason that it reminds me of my father who always had those little butterscotch candies when I was a kid. So I ordered and I ate. Amazing!! Reminded me of very good Sticky Toffee Pudding (those of you who have spent time in the UK will understand). It was sweet but not so much that you wanted to stop before it was all gone.
So now I’m home full, sleepy, and very happy. This is definitely a place to return to and will certainly be on the HKS foodies calendar for the spring. At $50 including drink, tax, and tip, its certainly good value.
Great review. I also think Hamersley is mostly disappointing, but Eastern Standard is great. Good call with the butterscotch bread pudding. I’m usually full by dessert, but just don’t care. I can never pass that up.
Jeffrey R. Kushner Master of Public Administration Candidate Kennedy School of Government Harvard University
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