Boston Brunchers Visit Back Deck in Downtown Crossing

23 Jan

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.

Bloody Mary at Back Deck in Downtown Crossing

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.

Creamy Smoky Eggplant Spread from Back Deck

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.

Butternut Squash Soup at Back Deck

The Butternut Squash Soup exceeded my expectations. Well-balanced cream and squash with a pop of pumpkin seeds throughout.

Grilled Hot Wings from Back Deck

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.

Muffuletta Burger at Back Deck

Muffuletta Burger

Assembled burger at Back Deck

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.

Chocolate Peanut Butter S'more at Back Deck

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 topped with pineapple from Back Deck

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.


8 Responses to “Boston Brunchers Visit Back Deck in Downtown Crossing”

  1. Megan January 24, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    I looooved that eggplant dip — hadn’t even thought of it to be misleading! I was also really happy with my main course — they made their eggs and has perfectly. Too bad about your burger! I find those are usually hit or miss in most places. I agree about dessert being nothing out of the ordinary, but I did love the smores!

    • Liz January 24, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      That’s so funny, but it’s good for people to have multiple opinions at events like this. I couldn’t detect any eggplant or smokiness – not that there’s anything wrong with straight whipped cream cheese, I might just want to order a bagel with it next time 🙂

      And as for the burger, I know places have bad days, but when you know a group of bloggers is having an event and reviewing your food, it’s smart to put the proper ratios together.

      It was great to see you (it had been so long!) and hope we can chat again sometime soon.

  2. PeepThisPeeps January 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Had a bowl of the butternut squash soup. Delicious and good portion size!

    • Liz January 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      Good choice! I really enjoyed the soup.

  3. pickyrunner January 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    The s’mores was definitely my favorite too, although now that you pointed out the fault with the graham crackers, I’m remembering that it really did overpower the marshmallow flavor, which is too bad because that’s the best part! It was great to meet you and hopefully we can cross paths again in a few months!

    • Liz January 24, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      I love the idea of s’mores. If they can make a few adjustments it will be perfect – all of the elements are already there!

      Great to meet you too, and hope to see you soon!

  4. mlevine3010 January 23, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    I have been and i too had issues with portion sizes prices and flavors! Its such a good concept because who doesnt like foods on the grill but there is lots of room for improvement!

    • Liz January 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      Exactly – great concept and best intentions, but I hope they’ll make a few changes in the kitchen so everyone has a positive experience. Thanks for your comment!

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