Ever since I read about Chickadee’s porchetta in Devra First’s list of dishes she was thankful for in 2018 I have wanted it. Last night I achieved that.
Chickadee is way East in the Seaport district, past the design building. The space is very attractive and very comfortable. The tables are a bit close but there is plenty of fabric to absorb sound so it’s not noisy.
As usual we ordered too much as there were so many things we wanted to try. We got the chickpea panisse fries with Calabrian chili aioli, the Scotch olives (loukanika sausage wrapped around green olives) with whipped feta, peppers and some other garnishes, a chopped salad with apples, turnips, dates and a creamy herby dressing, gnocchi with chestnuts, hen of the woods and parm and the famous porchetta. Everything was excellent. The standouts for me were the chickpea panisse fries which were shatteringly crispy on the outside and fantastically creamy on the inside – just amazing – and the porchetta, which was rich and unctuous with lovely crispy skin and perfectly balanced by its seasonal vegetal accompaniments. My DC felt the chopped salad and porchetta were her favorites.
We asked our waiter to choose a glass of red for each of us that would work with what we ordered. He brought us each two glasses and poured tastes of two wines for us to choose from which was such great hospitality. We both chose the nebbiolo over the barbera and thoroughly enjoyed it.
My DC had the roasted figs and olive oil cake dessert while I enjoyed an unusual Mexican amaro.
Service throughout was absolutely delightful and highly professional, we were truly in good hands there. This is a place I’d really like to go back to and wish was a bit more convenient to facilitate that. I am curious about their lunch; the menu is somewhat surprisingly different from the dinner menu.
How was the parking situation there?
I was using Uber but there seemed to be a huge parking lot in front. I’d call and ask though.
Thanks, I go to the design center a lot for business. Never took the time to look for it. I will now.
Glad You Enjoyed,
Thank you for such a great review. This has been on our radar for while.
How busy was it? Do you have res?
Yes, we had a res just because I always do. It was pretty busy for a Tuesday night and at least some tables turned and were seated twice but I was seated with my back to the room so can’t really tell you if there were any available tables and I paid no attention at all to the bar.
Oh, I just remembered that John daSilva (from the first incarnation of Spoke) is the chef-owner of Chickadee. Now that’s a reason to go if ever there was one. And now a good report from you, so there’s that!
I think both owners are Barbara Lynch alums and that tends to lead to good things in my experience.
I keep thinking about those chickpea panisse fries, too bad they’re not on the lunch menu, I’d go tomorrow!
A very fun out-of-town colleague (same one I went to SRV
with) was in town last night and we went to Chickadee as it was convenient to her hotel. Once again, it wowed. We started with the chickpea panisse fries – it is a small serving, just 4 largish fries – with a spicy dip and it was sooooo good (no picture). Then the beef tartare which came on a bed of cauliflower panna cotta – tasty but not in my top 3 versions (my favorite was at the late and much lamented Townsman). The bulgur and seed crackers served with it were beyond fabulous though. A fantastic shaved carrot salad on avocado hummus with citrus vinaigrette was next. Then we went large and got both the porchetta and the special of waygu beef two ways: 4 oz of grilled ribeye and 3 oz of braised short rib with roasted beets in something a bit spicy and beet harissa sauce. Both of these were absolutely fabulous, melt in your mouth, perfectly seasoned and decadent, the vegetal accompaniments working perfectly with the rick meat. The nice couple who had just sat down at the next table saw them and were obviously interested so we told them what they were and they asked us what else we’d had and ended up ordering much the same as we had. We had started with cocktails (Boulevardier for me, Orchard Oriole (I think) for her) which were well-executed, then had a lovely Italian red wine (Ubers for both of us). My friend had the apple gallette with thyme and cheddar crisps and I think maple ice cream which she liked – you know me, no sweet tooth. By this time we were exchanging restaurant recs with the couple next to us and showing each other food photos and generally having a great time. I want to especially call out the fabulous hospitality which each and every staff member we interacted with showed. I so appreciate the amount of thought and effort that goes into nurturing that culture of hospitality consistently across the board and it hugely enhances the overall experience and enjoyment of the exceptional food.
What a fabulous report, Gretchen. It makes me wish we had indulgent dining out in the near future. Alas, I think we need to take a break for a few weeks after the richness of the holidays.
Thanks for the two reports Gretchen. Sounds like adults are in charge, my kind of place!
I’ve known Ted Kilpatrick, a No. 9 alum who is in charge of FOH, for years and he’s about as good as it gets. So glad he’s back from his stint in NYC.
Pardon my ignorance, FOH?
FOH = front of house, aka everyone not in the kitchen.
Thanks. Must be getting old. We used to call them waitstaff, bartenders and busboys/busgirls. My old HoJo (Howard Johnson), days. Ha!
How old CocoDan? Did you get to work with Jacques Pepin?
(sorry for going OT and hope thats not too intrusive a question)
I’m 73 (still working full time, not in the food industry). I washed dishes for my Father in the 50’s who was the chef at the first HJ’s restaurant (Quincy), and he did work with Jacques Pepin and Pierre Fraenay (sp?). Those were the days when everything was cooked in-house including all baked goods. Mom was a waitress there at that time. Seeing how hard my Father and Mother worked I decided to be an eater and not a cooker.
CocoDan - I’m curious - did you experience Modern Gourmet?
Thanks Dan…did not.mean to be too nosy. Pepin is one of my favs.
I think you made a good decision BTW.