My friend Deb and I share mid-October birthdays so we recently treated ourselves to a no-holds-barred dinner at Puritan & Company in Inman Sq., Cambridge, MA on a Friday night. I’d requested a quiet table so we were kindly put in an open-ish corner where we could easily hear each other and see the servers and diners alike.
Bypassing the complicated boozy special libations, I requested a Pisco Sour. Within minutes the burly barman came over to double-check that I definitely wanted the raw egg white that’s a hallmark of the drink. He was just being thoughtful about raw eggs. So kind, but I said ‘full speed ahead’ and it arrived properly presented in a small coupe glass, foamy top, and four sprinkles of Angostura bitters on the top. Potent and very celebratory.
I began with four raw East Coast oysters (didn’t get their provenance. Sorry.). They came with a darling set of 3" plastic squeeze bottles tucked into the ice. One: jalapeno puree - sour and with a pleasant shebang at the finish. The second looked like regular cocktail sauce but also seemed to have a gentle fruity hint - perhaps a touch of strawberry? The last was a clear mignonette which, I believe, was made from rice vinegar and perhaps an infusion of shallot. So yummy that I kept one of the empty shells and refilled it with the mignonette long after the oysters were happily down my gullet. Next time (and there def will be a next time) I’m going to order even more of those briny, sweet bivalves.
My friend had the buratta with tomato and peach served with a dinosaur-sized slice of toasted artisan bread–a rich, deeply flavorful dish in which the tomatoes seemed slightly smoked. The peach slices and tomato were perfect together, the buratta creamy and dairy fresh.
For mains my friend had the semolina trofie with artichoke, braised chicken, pine nuts, and ricotta. The trofie were freshly made smaller versions of the Tuscan handmade pasta called pici that you may know. Although the portion seemed a tad small, the dish was rich, winey, and deeply seasoned and there were even a couple of tablespoonsful left to take home. I had the seafood risotto with crab, shrimp, scallop, saffron, white asparagus and something a little crunchy on top. Beautifully made. Generous with the tender seafood, not too much saffron (which I appreciated), and so much that it will easily be dinner again soon.
We ordered the Parker House rolls which, to be honest, could have been put on the desert menu they were so tender and fluffy with sprinkles of salt on top. The accompanying cultured butter was a tad sour which was just perfect. We also shared a side of roasted multi-colored carrots with harissa honey, chèvre, black pepper pecan, and cilantro. The carrots were richly toasted, tasted superb, and looked beautiful.
Our server, Gabriella, couldn’t have been more attentive and warm. As we walked out, carrying our small but treasured left-overs, the young woman at the front desk beamed us each a smile, thanked us for coming, and wished us each “Happy Birthday.” So sweet.
I note that their 5-course seasonal prix fixe tasting menu was priced at $75 before tip and taxes and everyone at the table must order it. We had eaten plenty of food, enjoyed tastes and textures that were a treat, and even with a generous tip and a drink, we spent a total of not more than $65 each (everything included), and had our choice of everything on the menu.