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Feast: The Gallows

May 7, 2011

There are plenty of restaurants that serve a lovely lunch or dinner, and many that are consistently good with both – some can even boast a great signature drink or dessert. But it’s a rarity to find a place that executes reliably for not just one of their meals, but all of them, and it’s more unusual to find a known dinner star that can even spell “brunch.” The Gallows is that infrequent example of a restaurant with dependable excellence on every plate.

Before last weekend I’d only been to The Gallows for dinner, blithely indulging in their scotch eggs, poutine, and burgers with impunity. As a special treat, the friendly chef – Seth Morrison – can make you a platter of cured meats, smoked fish, cheese, and pickled vegetables – a sampling from the “boards” they offer. These trays are a good group appetizer, or a great accompaniment to a martini if you’re looking for a lighter dinner. The buffalo chicken livers, since removed from the menu (presumably due to lack of interest from Boston food- Philistines), were another favorite – flavorful and not overly gamey. But without them I’ve been able to focus on the seasonal vegetable sides – a bit healthier and always cooked with a nice crunch still left inside.

But I want to talk about brunch, and what is brunch without a Bloody Mary? Start with a tutorial on The Gallows’ options: Simple (traditional), Eric the Red (with Aquavit), or Out Of Control (no bloody, emphasis on the mary). I played it safe with a “Simple,” served with pickled vegetables and plenty of horseradish. Like most of their food, this drink had a fresh, clean flavor. Tomato-based drinks can tend to take on a muddy taste, but this was very crisp.

the hangtown fry

One of the best things about brunch is that you can choose from an array of sweet and savory, and one of the best things about The Gallows is that either option will be good. Choose a burger – juicy, thick but not jaw-breaking, and accompanied but not overstuffed with all manner of delicious. My favorite is The Carpetburger, topped with fried oysters, American cheese, and remoulade. Or, for a breakfast spin on the same paradigm, choose the Hangtown Fry- fried eggs, fried oysters, bacon, and pea shoots. The bacon, thick and good-greasy, is embedded in the whites. The oysters are even more decadent after a liberal dunking in the drippy yolks. And the pea shoots make you feel like you’re eating something healthy (you’re not). Or, choose something a little different, like the Shrimp and Fava Beans over eggs, served with a side of creamy grits. The shrimp are cooked just until done, and the sauce has just a tiny kick of heat. Pair this with the savory-yet- mild lobster sausage (house-made), and you’ll never look at dried out diner links again.

If bananas weren’t on my (very short) list of things I don’t care for, I’d be writing about the Bananas Foster Fluffernutter Brulee French Toast. As it was, I saw it served and it looked pretty unbeatable (once I replaced the image of bananas with strawberries in my head). All in all, you can’t go wrong. If you’re looking for a place for brunch, dinner, or just a drink this weekend, look no further than The Gallows.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dad permalink
    May 9, 2011 12:34 pm

    Too bad. I love chicken livers.

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