When Pastoral, the artisan pizza place, opened next door to my office in the Fort Point area of Boston, I was beyond excited. However, after reading many reviews by some of my favorite and trusted food writers who had less-than-stellar things to say about the restaurant, it took me a while to actually pop in to try it for myself.
And if Pastoral has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t always trust the naysayers. A coworker of mine and I decided to stop in after work one day. We sat at the bar, and although we were placed towards the end of the long bar where the servers congregate (which can get pretty loud), it was a fun and inviting atmosphere. The rest of the dining area was pretty quiet (but filled up as the evening went on), and it seemed the bar was the place to be.
We decided to start with the garlic wood-fired knots. Now, as someone who grew up on Long Island and went to the same pizza place every Friday for dinner, I know what a garlic knot is: tiny balls of dough dipped in a pool of olive oily garlic gloriousness. So I obviously assumed that is what we were getting when we ordered. But boy was I wrong. What appeared before us was even better than my childhood garlic knots. A small cast iron skillet held a puffy ball of dough that was filled with large cloves of garlic and drizzled with olive oil. It was like nothing I had ever had before. And it was something I wanted to continue having again and again.
We then moved on to the main event: the margherita pizza. What I loved most about this pizza was that it wasn’t trying to be anything crazy. It was a simple pizza that used good ingredients: tomatoes, thin slices of mozzarella, and hand-torn basil. Not too much, and not too little. It was just right. It wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had, but it was a good pizza.
What I found was that the pizza was the perfect way to describe Pastoral. It’s an unpretentious place. It isn’t trying too hard. It is what it is.
I’ve been back to Pastoral several times. And this is were I disagree with the negative reviews that said they experienced inconsistency across the course of visiting this restaurant many times. I have never had this problem. Sometimes I think people expect too much out of new places. But if you go in with little expectation and a restaurant supplies a solid meal and experience, it changes your perspective immediately. I think Pastoral is an excellent addition to the Fort Point neighborhood, and I’m happy to run next door for a bite of that garlic knot any day.