Many of my friends and restaurant-loving acquaintances kept telling me I had to try The Gallows in the South End neighborhood of Boston. So after much pushing, one of my regular dining buddies and I decided to go–if only for the scotch egg, which I was told was a must.
Upon entering the space, we immediately noticed how loud it was, which is why we were happy to be led to a table in the back of the restaurant. However, we quickly realized we were seated right near the entrance to the kitchen, which I normally don’t mind. But in this case, our close proximity to the hustle and bustle was not really our cup of tea.
We started with a couple of cocktails from the eclectic drink menu and then decided on some plates to share. Based on recommendations from past diners, we ordered the scotch egg, the “simple” poutine, seasonal pickled vegetables, the farmer board (which was a platter of candied walnuts, seasonal fruit, honeycomb, and a selection of artisanal cheeses), and one of the specials of the night: shrimp served over a corn succotash. It was a lot of food, but we were ready to dig in.
I’ll start with the low points of the meal, and to be honest, there were quite a few of them. The shrimp and succotash was a confusing dish for us. The shrimp just didn’t seem to go with the mish-mash of veggies underneath. And there was a huge wedge of lemon smack dab in the middle of the plate that caused the shrimp to be way too lemony. Then it was on to the scotch egg, one of the dishes for which The Gallows is best known for. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The menu claimed the egg was wrapped in a crispy pork sausage, but it definitely didn’t taste like that at all. Perhaps they were out of crispy pork sausage for the night because it certainly wasn’t used in this version. We were not impressed.
But there were a few pluses to our meal. The pickled vegetables were simple and nicely prepared. The farmer board was okay, but the cheeses were nothing special and selections you’d find on any cheese plate. I can say the one saving grace was the poutine. But let’s be honest here: Who doesn’t love a plate of french fries smothered in gravy and cheese curd? We should have just devoured several plates of those bad boys. We chose the simple poutine option, but we could have truly gone big and ordered the “out of control” option.
I believe restaurants are a lot like meeting a person for the first time. If they don’t leave a great first impression on you, you can’t just assume they’re not for you. They could have had a bad night. So although I wasn’t super impressed with my first visit to The Gallows, many of my friends and acquaintances whose restaurant advice I trust love it there. I suppose I shall give it another try … if only to order another plate of poutine!