A new destination for craft cocktails and seasonal cuisine in the heart of QuincyBy Riley Stefano
The Townshend restaurant in Quincy gets its name from the infamous Townshend Acts of the Revolutionary War. Set by British rule, these acts paved the way for rebellion and sparked a thirst for independence. Located in the City of Presidents, the new restaurant is making its own statement with vintage craft cocktails, an airy, urban atmosphere and a menu of rustic, seasonal dishes.
Sunlight floods into the dining room through floor-to-ceiling windows and a three-dimensional suspended ceiling provides aesthetically pleasing soundproofing. Light wood floors are contrasted by mahogany butcher-block tables and a large bar flanked by drafting chair barstools serves as a focal point. Copper light fixtures above the bar are outfitted with clear lightbulbs that show the coils within.
The restaurant’s simple décor is paralleled by Chef Bobby Sisson’s down-to-earth style of cooking.
“When you pull ingredients from the ground, you don’t need to add much to make them great,” says Sisson. The majority of the menu is comprised of smaller “snacks,” which are great for a light bite and can be combined to share with friends. Sisson’s dishes are infused with flavors from around the world, blending aspects of Irish, Italian, Portuguese and French cuisine.
Both Sisson and The Townshend’s owner, Devin Adams, have established reputations in the Boston restaurant community, previously working alongside acclaimed local chefs like Jody Adams. On a recent visit, my dining companion and I started off with the Burrata, a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The rich, creamy cheese was served on a spread of spiced honey that added subtle sweetness and was enjoyed atop warm toast. Next we sampled a roasted red and yellow beet appetizer that came served with whipped ricotta. The sweet, earthy flavor of the beets paired perfectly with the mild cheese flavor. A grilled shrimp dish was the next item we tried. The lightly seasoned shrimp were served atop homemade Romesco sauce made of roasted tomatoes, chopped onion and garlic. Rather than blend the ingredients into a paste, as is often the norm, Sisson keeps the sauce thick and chunky to add texture to the dish.
Designed to highlight seasonal ingredients, Sisson’s menu is constantly changing and entrée portions are generous. We ordered a roasted chicken dish that came served with baby carrots in a savory parmesan broth with fresh watercress. Cooked in the same pan as the parmesan broth, the chicken was moist and packed with flavor.
Another standout dish was the massive 1-pound pork chop. The thick-cut chop was moist and juicy and came served with two large clams and a bright green pile of broccoli rabe that was blanched in the same white wine broth as the clams, giving the green a hint of saltiness.
A delightful homemade gnocchi rounded out the meal. The flavorful potato pasta was topped with fava beans, a silky mushroom ragu and parmesan cheese.
Elegantly served in vintage glassware, several drinks at the bar pay tribute to Quincy landmarks. The Adams’ Green, for example, is a refreshing drink that combines domestic vodka, fresh lemon, and house-made cucumber simple syrup which gives the drink its vibrant hue. Another local favorite is the Peacefield, made with Privateer rum silver, pineapple juice and green Charteuse, a sweet French liqueur made from herbs. The bar also stocks an extensive list of American-made craft beers.
To Adams and Sisson, the goal for The Townshend is to create a place where people can share delicious food and drink with good conversation. It’s all about delivering a positive experience. “I see food as the glue that binds dinner conversation together,” says Sisson. While it’s still the new kid on the block, The Townshend is already the talk of the town.