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Boston Restaurant Blog >> 2010 archives >> May, 2010 >> blog entry

Boston Restaurant Blog -- May, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

First Visit to The Publick House in Brookline

In a way, it seems strange that I had never been to The Publick House in Brookline until recently, even though it is certainly my kind of place (cozy atmosphere, a wide variety of beers from around the world, lots of comfort food options). Perhaps it is because the Washington Square eatery and beer bar moved into the spot where one of my favorite hangouts used to be (The Tam) or maybe it is because I tend to spend more time closer to Harvard Street, including Coolidge Corner and Brookline Village. But whatever the reason, I did finally get over to The Publick House, and immediately started kicking myself for not having come to this place earlier.

photo of The Publick House, Brookline, MA The Publick House is a medium-sized place just up the hill from the heart of Washington Square (heading toward Cleveland Circle). It is basically broken up into three sections--to the left is a dark, almost cave-like room known as The Monk's Cell, which has a handful of tables along the wall and a bar where serious beer lovers apparently spend their time, while the middle area includes a combination of bar seating and dining tables, and the section further to the right is the main dining area. All three sections are charming in a gastropub kind of way, but the most interesting part is the incredibly atmospheric Monk's Cell.

We arrived at The Publick House toward the start of the dinner rush, and were seated in The Monk's Cell, which was a lot quieter and less hectic than the rest of the place. After having a bit of trouble deciding what to order for drinks--to say the beer list is extensive at The Publick House would be an understatement--we chose a Black Marlin Porter (very nice chocolate and caramel flavors) and an O'Hara's Irish Stout (smooth and creamy, though not quite at the level of a Guinness). Along with our drinks, we started with an order of Monk's frites with a garlic mayo dipping sauce as well as a pesto aioli. Both dipping sauces were decent but rather mild, and in fact if it weren't for the basil aftertaste of the pesto aioli, it would have been tough to tell them apart. But the hand-cut fries were outstanding, as they were golden brown and seasoned perfectly. They also happened to come in a Belgian-style paper cone, which was a nice touch. These fries easily met--or exceeded--some of the ones I have had at various gastropubs in the Boston area over the past year or so, including those from The Local in West Newton, Highland Kitchen in Somerville, and even the Fat Cat in Quincy, which has some of the best fries I have had anywhere in recent memory.

Our entrees soon arrived (along with pints of a slightly sour but tasty Einbecker Schwarzbier and a deliciously fruity Taras Boulba), and both meals impressed us greatly. The stoemp saucisse (deep fried Belgian sausage with mashed root vegetables) was an unusual dish that featured homemade sausage with no real casing to speak of, and in fact seemed almost like meatballs, with their mix of ground beef, veal, and pork with various seasonings. The creamy homemade stoemp went nicely with the sausages, as did the onion rings that were placed on top of the dish and the rich gravy. The other entree--the macaroni and cheese--lived up to expectations (I have heard many good things about their version), with a nice blend of orecchiette pasta, several different cheeses, and a truffled cream option that added an earthiness to the dish without the metallic taste that can sometimes come from truffle oil. With all the rich foods we had, there was no room for coffee, tea, or dessert, so that will have to wait for another time.

Our evening at The Publick House was very nearly a perfect one, with the only minor quibbles being our rather distant, unsmiling server and the slightly bland dipping sauces with the frites. But much like other beer bars and gastropubs in the Boston area (including the ones mentioned earlier), this is a spot that I could spend a lot of time in, particularly in the Monk's Cell section of the place.

If you would like the address for The Publick House, here it is: The Publick House, 1648 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA, 02445. Phone: (617) 277-2880

The Publick House on Urbanspoon

The Publick House

Related Blog Entries: Brookline restaurants

MH said:
They used to serve these AMAZING fried pumpkin raviolis with a cranberry sour cream that were to die for. Not sure where they went, but luckily they have the mac and cheese to bring me back. I recommend trying the m&c with their chocolate cheddar and truffle mixed in. HEAVEN.
Posted on 5/4/10
MH said:
We returned to The Publick House for dinner and a few beers last night. Once again we sat in The Monk's Cell section to the left, and once again I had the macaroni and cheese with truffle cream. It was every bit as good as last time, though the pork loin with mustard sauce may have been even better, as the pork had a ton of flavor coming from the mustard and other seasonings, and it was lean and very tender. The pork dish also came with asparagus and fingerling potatoes, which is perhaps my favorite type of potato. We ordered the Monk's frites as well, and they were delicious, though some of the fries were a little on the limp side. The sauces that came with the frites were very nice, with the herb mayo being mild but tasty, and the truffle ketchup having a distantly earthy taste coming from the mushrooms. For beers, we had a Chimay Tripel (a fruity and slightly sour taste), Tripel Karmeliet (sweet and mild--better than the Chimay, I thought), La Parcela Pumpkin Ale (relatively little pumpkin taste, but still a deliciously fruity beer), and Mikkeller Brettanomyces (a strong and sour ale that was almost too filling). Service was decent enough, and the bartender was friendly and knowledgeable. Once again, it was a truly memorable experience at The Publick House, which, along with Townsend's in Hyde Park, is becoming one of my favorite places for a bite to eat and a drink.
Posted on 10/7/10

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