On Sunday I met up with 9 Boston-area bloggers to try out Paul Sussman’s Back Deck’s brunch. Located in Downtown Crossing next to Boston Common Coffee Company, Back Deck continues to build up this newly-rejuvenated block, spanning from Sip Wine Bar (which I love) on one end and Back Deck on the other. Chef Sussman stopped by during our meal to say hello – he seems to have a great rapport with the staff and sounds like a nice guy.
The interior of Back Deck is just as you would expect – very summery, lots of slatted wood, bird nest-looking light fixtures, and surprisingly airy considering its size.
The Bloody Mary was heavy on the ice and horseradish, light on the vodka. It wasn’t terrible, but with so many restaurants giving this standard brunch cocktail a creative twist, it would have been nice to add a smoky salted rim (grill theme), innovative garnish, or just more vodka.
We shared most of the starters on the brunch menu, which were all hit or miss.
It was great to see Grilled Chicken Livers on the menu. They were served as a skewer of six livers over a watercress salad in creamy dressing. The dressing was heavy and a liver on one end was too rare for my comfort, but this made me want to go home and cook up some serious liver and onions.
I love baba ganoush, so the Creamy Smoky Eggplant Spread should be my perfect appetizer. Unfortunately the name was misleading: it was whipped cream cheese with an undetectable amount of eggplant and no smokiness served on plain pita wedges.
The Butternut Squash Soup exceeded my expectations. Well-balanced cream and squash with a pop of pumpkin seeds throughout.
Grilled Hot Wings were normal wings, but with only five wings to an order and not a punch of flavor like I had hoped, I wouldn’t buy them for $8.
Grilled Pink Grapefruit was the only app that stood out as keeping with the grilled theme – lightly charred and super juicy, it was a refreshing start to the meal. I could have done without the added honey, as the grilled grapefruit was very sweet on its own.
For my meal I ordered the Muffuletta Burger ($12) with a side of coleslaw– again slightly out of balance with too much provolone cheese and not enough Creole olive salad to even taste it. The burger itself is simple – maybe a tad bit too simple for its cost. The slaw stood out though, as it was uniquely fresh with a nice crunch throughout and very light on the mayo.
We shared a bunch of desserts – unfortunately this last course was a bit of a flop, with the exception of one highlight.
Two types of s’mores were creative and kept with the summer cook-out theme: one peanut butter chocolate and and one raspberry both feature house-made graham crackers. The crackers were a nice touch, but too dry and thick for the subtlety they should have been (especially with the peanut butter, pictured above). Although their website offers the recipe, so you could always try your own.
The Chocolate Cake was dry and the whipped cream was the best part of this one.
Grilled Pound Cake was also dry, although the glazed pineapple attempted to liven it up. I wanted love this and will most likely re-create it myself. This is a great concept, the execution was just poor.
My favorite dessert was the Toscanini’s ‘Drunken 3 Musketeers’ – three scoops of ice cream with a generous amount of brandy on top. With quality ice cream and booze, you really can’t go wrong.
Most of the servers on the morning we visited seem young and inexperienced. Our server, however, was great – friendly, helpful, efficient – and managed our group very well.
Even with their culinary shortcomings, brunch was in full-swing by 1/1:30pm with most tables full. For a (fairly) new restaurant that is clearly still settling in, we enjoyed many parts of the meal. There were so many opportunities to step up certain aspects of the dishes – maybe with some feedback they will make adjustments and then I can order the eggplant spread again.
My meal was provided free of charge from Back Deck through Boston Brunchers. I payed the tip for my meal. As with all EatingPlaces content, opinions are my own.