Buttermilk & Bourbon – Big Easy in Boston’s Back Bay

The magic of the Buttermilk & Bourbon lies in its atmosphere, small plates, and cocktails.

Chef Jason Santos’ Buttermilk and Bourbon has its roots his love for New Orleans cuisine, with a menu that is inspired by the Big Easy state’s flair for spices and round the clock nightlife. The restaurant has just a tinge of carnival that melds well with a heady selection of cocktails. 

LEMON SHANDY POACHED U-12 PEEL & EAT SHRIMP COCKTAILS ($4.50 ea)

No pretenses, just good food

The Back Bay establishment has a tight, easy to comprehend food menu. Names like House Special Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Confit Berkshire Pork Belly Cracklings tell you exactly what you need to know about the dishes. There’s no pretense here, just a collection of great flavours. 

CONFIT BERKSHIRE PORK BELLY CRACKLINGS – WITH CHEDDAR SALT & CAROLINA MUSTARD DIP ($9)

Speaking of great flavours, one of the stand outs of this menu is the Coffee Crusted Grilled Hanger Steak ($16). This isn’t your run of the mill grilled steak. It’s clear that Chef Santos took the time to think about what ingredients and how they turn during the cooking process, and how that flavour plays off the slight tartness that the chili-lime vinaigrette brings into the dish. The meat was tender, and that smokiness from the charred coffee crusting was masterful. This is a must-order.

COFFEE CRUSTED GRILLED HANGER STEAK

Buttermilk is also famous for its fried chicken, so naturally, the Bone-in 1/2 Chicken ($21) came highly recommended by the wait staff. The chicken comes close to perfection, and it does taste pretty good, with a crunchy batter that isn’t cloyingly heavy after 3 bites. However, portions of the breast meat suffered from dryness. To the kitchen’s credit, the rest of the chicken was juicy and tender, and chicken breasts are notoriously difficult to work with.

HOUSE SPECIAL BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN – BONE-IN 1/2 CHICKEN

Unexpected Cocktails

The cocktail menu takes unexpected ingredients and creates smart flavours out of them. A great example is the Whodi Smash ($14), which taps on the strength of a Wood Reserve bourbon, then turns that around a combination of lemon, mint and rhubarb. The cocktail menu is full of drinks like this, and there is an extensive collection of bourbon, rye, wine, Scotch and Whiskey.

WHODI SMASH

The Final Word

Buttermilk and Bourbon brings the party, just like the place that inspired it. This is one of those places for a laughter-filled dinner with friends. The small plates encourage sharing, and there’s enough variety to keep picky palates interested for a few good hours. Remember to bring a few friends, have a tipple, and indulge yourself in a New Orleans night out.

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