JustLuxe – Bostonia Public House Moves Onto State Street With New Farm-to-Table Fare

Bostonia Public House

When Kitty O’Shea’s finally closed its doors on State Street, we were curious to find out what would eventually go into the space. Finally, on April 13, we were able to see the new restaurant filling its space, the Bostonia Public House. The space has been completely renovated and designed by HGTV Host and Food Network Designer Taniya Nayak. The refined yet rustic menu was created by Executive Chef Kyle Ketchum, formerly of The Lark in Michigan and Spiced Pear in Rhode Island.

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Located inside the historic Board of Trade Building, adjacent to the Financial District, Faneuil Hall and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the new restaurant hopes to be a place where people gather for good food and great drinks. Using their Napa Technologies Wine System, which keeps each bottle at the optimal temperature, they also hope it’ll be a place to enjoy a great glass of wine.

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The menu focuses on farm-to-table principles with a commitment to sustainability so you will see some classic dishes with a modern twist like the Bostonia Baked Beans presented in a branded ceramic tin can accompanied by toast points; or a Lobster Roll featuring fresh lump lobster meat tossed in house-made sour cream and avocado dressing and topped with bacon fat breadcrumbs.

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We recently visited on a Friday night and the first floor bar was filled with an after-work Financial District crowd who gather here to listen to the live piano music. We were seated in a sumptuous booth in the lively bar area and got started with a strong gin martini and delicious margarita. The first floor can get somewhat boisterous, but there is an intimate upstairs bar for a quieter experience.

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To get started, we recommend the seasoned and deliciously addicting homemade potato chips with creamy French onion dip and the chicken wings which are extra spicy and crispy (just the way we love them). For dinner, we paired up a bottle of Mount Veeder Cabernet with the 12-ounce juicy rib eye and accompanied by a side of caramelized onion roasted potatoes and French green beans. The crab-crusted cod is one of their signature dishes, a super fresh flaky fish served with a side of carrots.

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Be sure to save room for dessert as the Berkshire bourbon glazed sweet potato donuts are worth every last bite. While we were sad to see Kitty O’Shea’s go, we aren’t too upset about this new addition to the neighborhood. Also, during the week, Bostonia Public House hosts live music and entertainment which makes for an even more enjoyable evening.

Notes on Lifestyle – Best New Boston Eater-Bostonia Public House

Best New Boston Eatery: Bostonia Public House

 

I am one of those people that believes that we stumble upon people and places 
for a reason, at a very specific time, also for a precise reason.
When Susan and I were considering where to find a great brunch, we were not able to settle on a place that encompassed everything we were after 
(I know, but brunch is the most important meal of the weekend.)
While I was showering Susan perused several foodie websites and said the magic words “How about Bostonia Public House?” The name brought to mind all of the wonderful things I heard about 
the place and well, you know my love of anything Boston-centric.

 

 

Our fate sealed, we set off with impossibly high hopes and upon entering for the first time I was astounded. The venue, a former dive bar (and that is being generous) was elegantly decorated while still managing to remain relaxed and most welcoming.
Speaking of, we were warmly greeted and ushered to a booth where we both looked around taking in each detail. From the beautifully tufted chairs with a small handle in the back (all the easier for the men to pull out their ladies chairs) to the curious contraption behind the bar that we will later get to.

 

Settling right into Bloody Mary’s with cheese stuffed olives, we allowed one of the most knowledgable servers we had ever met named Dominic provide recommendations along with a bit of background.
We began with the Sesame Glazed Chicken Wings and while I selected the Lobster Roll (with avocado, yuzu creme and bacon crumbs on a brioche roll), Susan chose the BPH Burger, both with Salt and Pepper fries.
Dominic recommended that I eat half of my lobster roll before digging into my fries, because by that time they would have cooled to the perfect temperature. He happened to be right and each bite was a dream.

 

Taking a look at the menu, the cuisine was a mix of what I would later learn to be 
“refined rustic” dishes. Comforting, locally inspired and quite creative.

 

Each dish was artfully arranged, yet not obnoxiously so and our 
moods seemingly lifted with each bite we took and detail gleaned.
The music, a compilation of ragtime covers of contemporary music, we learned was a 
specific Pandora station created and run by one of John Fitzgerald’s (the owner) friends.

 

The artfully antique decor was done by none other than the Boston based Taniya Nayak, 
a design expert member on both HGTV and The Food Network. 

I noted these curious contraptions behind the bar and learned that what appears to be “wine on tap” was the most innovative manner in which to store bottles of wine. The WineStation.
It’s cooling system stores it at the perfect temperature while the argon gas sealed in the bottle prevents oxidation (meaning the wine tastes exactly the same on day one as it will on day 60.)

Chef’s Table

 

We were offered a tour by Assistant General Manager Adam and learned of the patio which will be 
opening in about a months time, while also viewing the closed to the public top floor. 

 

Live music plays Wednesday through Saturday night while guests are looked after by a full staff of security.
It seems Bostonia Public is a sort of modern day meeting place for those seeking an 
artful post-work meal, unique event space or some time out with friends.  
Most definitely the place to bring if you would like to impress your date.
One last bit. It is not often that I rave in such depth about any place, yet in viewing each 
detail of Bostonia Public I was able to see the vision and hope of John Fitzgerald.

 

His quest to create the ultimate approachable upscale venue has been achieved and yet, 
the last thing he does each night? He reads every single note left by patrons of his creation. 
Bostonia Public is made up of people wholly invested in it from management to the food and beverage specialists. The excitement is palpable as something truly special has been created. 
n.b. I was not compensated for this review nor did I receive a complimentary meal.
These are merely my completely unbiased opinions.

Gayot – Bostonia Public House: Bostonia Public House

Bostonia Public House Restaurant Review

: Bostonia Public House resides in the former Kitty O’Shea’s space on State Street in Faneuil Hall. Located near the Financial District, the renovated spot, designed by HGTV’s Taniya Nayak, features two bars, an open kitchen, exposed beams and a menu that focuses on all things Boston (think Boston baked beans and more). Share a New England cheese plate or a dozen local oysters before digging into a heartier starter of warm crab dip filled with chunks of tender crab meat served with a side of crispy chips. Main events include crab-crusted Massachusetts cod, roasted chicken, Berkshire pork loin, and a juicy 12-ounce rib-eye with caramelized onion roasted potatoes. Chef Kyle Ketchum gets creative with dishes like braised-lamb pasta and house-made ricotta dumplings. The light Bostonia cream pie is made with vanilla custard, chocolate ganache and almond sponge cake.

BostonChefs.com – Bostonia Public House

Located in the historic Board of Trade Building, Bostonia Public House is all about balance –it’s polished yet playful, rustic yet refined; even its location – adjacent to Faneuil Hall and the Rose Kennedy Greenway – bridges the classic and contemporary.

Bostonians on their way home from work in the Financial District or tourists fresh from a visit to the nearby New England Aquarium can get comfortable in the expansive dining room. The venue integrates rustic elements with polished modern accents. Iconic architecture, raw building materials and vintage finishes are juxtaposed and flattered by distinctive lighting, glossy brick treatments and marble flooring. The cognac and coffee tones exude a casual elegance and foster a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The exposed kitchen and long walnut bar deliver an experience that’s both cozy and convivial.

Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night, and for brunch on weekends, Bostonia Public House serves classic New England fare (think: Boston baked beans or lobster rolls) updated with modern twists and sensibilities. A thoughtful selection of wine, beer and cocktails complements the farm-to-table, sustainably-sourced cuisine. With its spacious downstairs bar, intimate upstairs bar, dining room, communal tables, private dining and event spaces, the restaurant strikes just the right balance with a sensible mix of sociability and sophistication

Where Magazine Online – Fun Times in Boston’s FiDi: Bostonia Public House

The Financial District has visitors dodging swarms of suited worker bees, but Boston’s business crowd isn’t the only thing buzzing here this summer.

What to Do

Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace is well known and highly trafficked. It’s a shopping mecca featuring both brand-name and local boutiques, and its Quincy Market colonnade features loads of local vendors serving up quick and casual lunch. State Street at Congress Street, 617.523.1300

Located on the second level of Quincy Market building, Gunther von Hagens’ touring exhibition Body Worlds Vital offers an insightful look at health, disease and the inner workings of the human body with its displays of real life people and body parts. Quincy Market, 866.276.9458

Stately landmark Faneuil Hall is headquarters of Boston National Historical Park. It also serves as a departure point for a number of ranger-guided Freedom Trail walking tours. Congress Street, 617.242.5642

When you’re feeling the heat of summer, chill out at Frost Ice Bar. It is, literally, a bar made of ice. 200 State St., 617.307.7331

 

BodyWorlds
“The Hockey Players” installation at Body Worlds Vital (Courtesy Body Worlds Vital)

 

Heading toward the waterfront, the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway weaves through the heart of the Financial District and is a welcome respite shaded by Yoshino cherries, Elizabeth magnolias and native New England flora. Other attractions here include public art, splash fountains, a beautiful carousel and a caravan of food trucks. 617.292.0020

New-ish Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is dedicated to the famed rebellious act of Dec. 16, 1773. Toss tea overboard yourself, if you like. 306 Congress St., 617.338.1773

Buy some crafty souvenirs to bring home at creative collaborative Design Museum Store, newly opened. 70 East India Row

At New England Aquarium, encounter seals, sea lions and stingrays, not to mention the animals living inside the 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank. 1 Central Wharf, 617.973.5200

Later in the day, Boston Harbor Hotel hosts Summer in the City, four evenings of alfresco entertainment—soul music to classic films—overlooking the harbor, June 12-Aug. 29. 70 Rowes Wharf, 617.856.7744

 

FHMP
There is lots to do at Faneuil Hall Marketplace (©Paul Gelsobello)

 

If you’d rather sail into the harbor, visit the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion where you can buy tickets to this water-locked National Historic Park from this mainland information center. 191 Atlantic Ave., 617.223.8666

In town June 3-5? City Hall Plaza hosts Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl, a sweet annual event where $10 gets you as much ice cream as you can eat. City Hall Plaza, 617.632.3863

Where to Eat

Tater tot poutine, baked beans with bacon crumbs, chilled lobster roll: all sophisticated takes on comfort food cooked by Kyle Ketchum at new place Bostonia Public House, where high-top tables and excellent service are de rigeur. 131 State St., 617.948.9800

Bostonians know Central Wharf Co. as the former Jose McIntyre’s, a bar with an Irish-Mexican theme and floors as sticky as the crowd was college-aged. But Glynn Group’s new vision does justice to its historic building, pairing modern touches with the rusticity of exposed brick walls and framed vintage newsprint. Menu is a mix of tasty bar food like Asian-flaired wonton nachos and hearty sandwiches like buttermilk fried chicken. 160 Milk St., 617.451.9460

 

CWCo
Central Wharf Co. is a great spot to eat (©Robert Terry Photography)

 

Jody Adams’ waterfront rendezvous Trade serves up sharing plates of which ordering many is a must. Fried polenta with Halloumi cheese, anyone? Flatbreads are fab, too, and, at the bar, the tender creates original drinks per customer’s whim. 540 Atlantic Ave., 617.451.1234

Bill Brodsky’s contemporary American eatery City Landing features scenic views of the Greenway and an approachable finer dining menu utilizing sustainable local ingredients. Dining for one: Check out Brodsky’s Bar Crumbs. 255 State St., 617.725.0305

Mobile Eats boasts more than 30 food trucks that hawk fresh cuisine from local vendors at six locations along the Greenway on the daily. Locations along Rose F. Kennedy Greenway

 

Boston Globe – Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut: Bostonia Public House

At Wink & Nod, Last Word (left) and Ivana are the drinks accompanying the spiced bar nuts.

JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF

At Wink & Nod, Last Word (left) and Ivana are the drinks accompanying the spiced bar nuts.

Boston’s hottest restaurants, it’s party time circa 1979. Nubs of pork belly and showy charcuterie platters have been supplanted by dinner-party snacks of yesteryear: onion dip, bar nuts, olives, relishes. It won’t be long before someone presents them in Tupperware.

On the menu at Alden & Harlow — Harvard Square’s hangout du jour — chef Michael Scelfo offers onion dip and a humble bowl of smoked cashews. Around the corner at the Sinclair, chef Matt Cunningham concocts a pimento-and-cheese-stuffed-olive that Granny would adore. Kenmore Square barflies can get a simple relish tray at Audubon or onion dip at Eastern Standard. And chefs Samuel Monsour and Mark O’Leary quit work at Downtown Crossing gastropub JM Curley to run the Future of Junk Food, a pop-up series where people clamor for dishes unseen since the Carter administration, including fried-chicken TV dinners.

 

Many chefs have been accused of valuing gimmicky experimentation over good, old-fashioned hospitality — most recently chronicled by GQ’s Alan Richman in his article “The Rise of Egotarian Cuisine.” But at Boston’s top restaurants, chefs’ culinary egos were developed in childhood, and their food reflects that purity.

State Park chef Barry Maiden has beer nuts (served in an ashtray, no less) on his menu. “I want to make food that I want to eat, that I ate as a kid. If I don’t want to eat it myself, why would I make it? I’m just thinking about what’s going to taste good,” Maiden says.

This isn’t the same faux nostalgia marketing of the early 2000s, when it was impossible to find a menu without mac and cheese fancied up with lobster or tater tots festooned with truffles. Few diners grew up eating such things, after all, and neither did today’s chefs, for whom self-expression is synonymous with hospitality.

Cambridge, Massachusetts -- 05/20/2014-- Beer nuts are photographed at State Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts May 20, 2014. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff Topic: 28snacks Reporter: Kara Baskin

JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF

At State Park in Cambridge, chef Barry Maiden serves beer nuts in an ashtray.

“I want my restaurant to feel like home,” says Alden & Harlow’s Scelfo. “As a kid, I had no shame: My favorite snack was onion soup mix, sour cream, and potato chips. That was the epitome of what onion dip was in my mind. I wanted to take that next step.”

Scelfo’s evolved version includes garlic aioli, buttermilk yogurt, grilled onions, scallions, and chives. It’s an elevated recipe, but the effect remains. “Candidly, I know customers want food that chefs personally care about. That’s what people taste — if it has a little bit of heart behind it,” he says.

“Chefs are finally getting to the point where they’re simply cooking stuff they love,” says Audubon’s Suzi Maitland, whose relish dish with kumquat jam, marinated olives, spicy pickled cauliflower, and sweet pickled radishes was inspired by family holidays. “This is stuff we grew up with. We’re from that era: the 1970s and 1980s.”

Back then American food reigned supreme, and a new generation of chef is transforming those childhood memories into forward-thinking and delicious meals — minus the additives and Wonder Bread.

Monsour’s Future of Junk Food pop-up, run in conjunction with culinary marketplace Kitchensurfing, uses quality ingredients to replicate classic snacks. And so “Cheetos” are spicy pig ears seasoned with hot peppers; “uncrustables” peanut butter and jelly sandwiches now have pistachio and rhubarb. Think it’s a vanity project? The events are consistently sold out.

“Chefs are finally doing what we haven’t seen much of lately: cooking American cuisine,” says Monsour. “For the last 10 years, when someone asked me what food I cooked, I’d say American, and it almost seemed boring. But ours is a pretty amazing bounty of food, if done well.”

“People have been trying so hard to cook new things, but a lot of dishes are classics for a reason. Why not revisit them?” asks Sinclair’s Cunningham, whose cheese-stuffed olives sometimes share menu space alongside deviled eggs.

Will Gilson’s Puritan & Company serves a crudite platter that would make a proper hostess proud, with baby radishes, asparagus, sugar snap peas, turnips, and carrots with onion dip, plus a pumpernickel crumble that resembles soil. (Mom might not have had time for that touch.) He wants his restaurant to be “the best cocktail party ever. I want people to feel like they’re at a cool cocktail club from the 1960s. Most of my menu is a throwback,” he says.

State Park’s grilled bread with creamy cheese and pepper jelly snacks.

JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF

State Park’s grilled bread with creamy cheese and pepper jelly snacks.

At perpetually packed brasserie Eastern Standard, manager Deena Marlette says onion dip is the most popular snack. “Bar programs have become more serious. Guests don’t want to spend time trying to figure out what to pair a cocktail with, when they could have something simple,” she says.

“What could be better than sitting at the bar and eating onion dip and potato chips for $5?” asks John Fitzgerald, co-owner of Bostonia Public House. There, the classic dip, inspired by a beloved family party recipe, is a bestseller. “Everybody knows it. Everybody loves it. People want to know what they’re eating,” he says.

At South End speakeasy Wink & Nod, which sells a $100 gin cocktail, one of the most popular dishes is a $6 bowl of bar nuts — with candied garlic, cilantro, and nuoc cham. “Comfort food originated right here in America. We just bump up the quality,” says co-chef Philip Kruta, whose Whisk culinary team runs the kitchen. “We started the idea with something classic that people recognize. Once you call a dish ‘bar nuts,’ you can be as creative as you want.”

The realization of a true grown-up.

Zagat – 7 Smartphone Friendly Restaurants in Boston: Bostonia Public House

 

It sounds like a Lifetime movie of the week. “It Happened To Me: Stranded at a Restaurant With a Dead Smartphone.” (Gasp! Sob!)

But seriously: whether you’re trying to coordinate a meet-up with friends, field some important work emails between courses, or just really, really bummed out that you’re unable to Instagram your dinner, a depleted cell phone can be a sore inconvenience when you’re eating out. Luckily, we’ve noticed that a few restaurants have been helping out, installing electric outlets and USB ports in a conscious effort to keep guests charged – and happy. If you need to make sure you stay connected, here are a few spots that are convenient go-to’s.

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who directs more dinner conversation to Twitter than to your table mate, please stop reading now. You need a nice plate of cold turkey.

Alden & Harlow. The Harvard Square newcomer, which specializes in shareable plates of rustic-meets-modern American cuisine, installed nearly 40 electric outlets at its long, wrap-around bar, so you can filter your dinner (through Sierra, Mayfair or Kelvin – no, never Kelvin) until your heart’s content. While you’re at it, make sure to follow the Instagram account of Alden & Harlow chef-owner Michael Scelfo, one of our 7 Must-Follow Social Media Stars40 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-864-2100

Bostonia Public House. The bar and banquette areas were designed to accommodate a number of electric outlets for charging, but there’s another reason Bostonia is a battery savior: loaned chargers for all smartphones are available by request. That’s a nice off-menu order. Now wondering what to eat? Check out our Cheat Sheet131 State St.; 617-948-9800 

Brasserie Jo. The good news: You remembered to grab your iPhone’s USB cord on your way out the door. The bad news: You forgot that little square doo-dad that connects it an electric outlet. The solution: Back Bay French spot Brasserie Joe, which has installed 8 USB ports at its cocktail tables for just such an emergency. Cheers. 120 Huntington Ave.; 617-425-3240

Fairsted Kitchen. We get a charge out of the rotating draft cocktails at this Brookline hot spot. Also giving us a charge:  the 8 USB ports in charging stations on the underside of the bar. #BUZZED. 1704 Beacon St., Brookline; 617-396-8752

Gather. The restaurant teems with tech wizards and start-up ingenues who would rather lose a limb than their smartphone. (After all, it’s housed in District Hall, a public innovation center for flexible work, meeting and hackathon space.) Naturally, they’ve installed 10 or so electric outlets along the bar, lest anyone miss that long-awaited email from an angel investor. 75 Northern Ave.; 617-982-7220  

Pastoral. First: read our Cheat Sheet on the Fort Point haven for pizzas, pastas and beer cocktails. Then: Saddle up to the bar, plug your iPhone into one of the many USB ports scattered throughout, and dig in. 345 Congress St.; 617-345-0005

West Bridge. Given its setting in the middle of the Kendall Square start-up world, it’s no surprise that West Bridge keeps its clientele well-charged. The bar area boasts 10 electric outlets for keeping yourself fully online. 1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge; 617-945-0221

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131 STATE STREET BOSTON, MA 02110 | 617.948.9800