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Boston Food & Drink Website|Monday, September 1, 2014
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The Back Deck Boston: First Impressions 

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Grilling. One could make a strong argument that grilling is the quintessential cooking method of the summer. After all, is there anything better than the smell of charcoal heating up? Located in the heart of Downtown Crossing, The Back Deck is taking grilling to a whole new level, offering Bostonians a chance to enjoy this favorite part of summer outside of their own backyard.

Location: 2 West St, walkable from Boylston and Park St T stations (green line), and Chinatown and Downtown Crossing stations (orange line).

Atmosphere: Casual. Enter the space adorned with flagstones, which lead to oak-looking laminate that mimics that of a deck off a house. Large windows line the back of the restaurant, opening up to Washington St. Perhaps not the best view in Boston, but the effort to capture the essence is appreciated. We dined on a warm afternoon and although the temperature at our table along the window was comfortable enough, I’d be curious to see how often those windows stay open in the heat of the summer.

Service: Our server was very friendly and walked us through the menu options. He was attentive and the food came out at a nice pace. The restaurant wasn’t too crowded when we arrived, and as it got busier, the service got a little slower. We ordered beers when our food arrived, and already had finished our meals before those beers arrived.

Menu: Divided into appetizers, small plate, salads, burgers and entrees, the menu is large enough to cater to most without having an overwhelmingly large menu and seems to offer something for everyone (including two small vegetable plates for vegetarians).

Beer: The beer selection focuses on local breweries, including Shipyard Brewing Company, makers of one of my of favorite beers to order when it’s on draft, so imagine my delighted surprise when Shipyard Export was on the menu! Jon went with their own Back Deck Lager.

Cocktails: Back Deck cocktails focus on light and refreshing, much like something you’d want to enjoy on a hot summer day. They seem to understand my favorite concept of “not too sweet,” which is always a plus in my book. They also focus on using local spirits from Berkshire Mountain Distillers.

Berkshire Summer; Greylock gin, lemonade and cucumber juice, garnished with cucumber and rosemary ($9)

Ward 8; New England corn whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice and house grenadine ($8)

Food: We started with an appetizer of wings, and our server mentioned that these were not typical buffalo wings. Upon their arrival, it was very obvious this was true and I appreciated him pointing it out. Instead of classic buffalo sauce, these wings are coated in a combination of spices that starts sweet (think cumin and onion) and finishes hot (pepper and paprika). We both enjoyed the flavor of these tender chicken wings. When grilling is the main appeal, however, we were expecting to see some grill marks and taste a bit of crunch on these wings.

Grilled Hot Wings; Daddy-O’s Style, with Gorgonzola dressing and celery sticks ($8)

Jon ordered the mixed grill, hoping to get a small taste of everything The Back Deck has to offer. Served on skewers, the grilled chicken was a little lacking in flavor. The lamb skewer was a bit dry and overcooked. The Duck Sausage was certainly the highlight of the dish.

Mixed Grill; one skewer each of chicken & lamb, a duck sausage, grilled Portobello
 mushroom and tomato, salty cracked new potatoes ($18)

I decided to stick with a simple hamburger. Cooked to the temperature I ordered (medium rare), the natural flavor of the beef really came through in this barely seasoned, simply topped burger. Served with steak fries on the side, this dish is a great option at the price point.

Burger; choose beef or turkey on a potato roll with fries, potato salad or slaw, with Provolone cheese ($11)

Overall First Impressions: The Back Deck really delivers with local beer and local ingredients. Was it the best hamburger I’ve ever had? No, but it’s reasonably priced and nicely cooked. The entree Jon ordered was a little disappointing, but there are other menu items that we haven’t had a chance to try. In an area flanked by fast food chains and upscale hotel restaurants, it provides Downtown Crossing with a casual burger joint to chow on some wings while throwing back a few beers with friends.

Have you been to The Back Deck? What were your first impressions??



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