I had been hearing a little buzz about a relatively new restaurant on Commonwealth Ave called Buttermilk & Bourbon. It was time to try it out.
On Saturday evening, my Uber dropped me off at the historic Back Bay Vendome building. I was transported back to the late 90s when I first moved to Boston and would frequent a basement level restaurant and bar, which for the life of me I can’t remember the name of – help if you know? They used to show old movies in their backroom on Monday nights where I would take myself to enjoy a glass of wine. It’s a nice memory of a time before I really made great friends in Boston. The maze of rooms under the building has been home to many restaurants since that time – Jeffrey’s and BarLola to name a few.
Coming back to the present. The space is now home to our very own celebrity blue-haired, Chef Jason Santos, who opened Buttermilk & Bourbon, a tapas style New Orleans-inspired restaurant back in February.
Arriving a little early for our reservation, I was greeted by three friendly hosts and escorted to the dining area to be seated at small table with French-style café chairs. The dining room is classic New Orleans shabby with partly painted exposed brick walls, a fireplace, candelabra’s and a large plush red booth as it focal point.
A friendly waiter joined me almost immediately to offer water and a cocktail while I waited for my friend. Given I had heard ‘you must try a cocktail’, I refrained from going straight to the wine list and engaged the help of the waiter with my choice. I was torn between a tequila or gin-based cocktail and ended up with a highly recommended Whodi Smash, a bourbon drink, which I was told if I didn’t like I could change it. A slight twist on the Whisky Smash (mint julip) using Woodford Bourbon – I loved it. My friend, Kady arrived and ordered the same drink… twice!
The menu offers food to share (small plate), which I am big fan of doing. Boiled peanuts, Cajun guacamole, deviled egg toast, kale salad and freshly chucked oysters start off the menu followed by aged gouda mac and cheese, pork belly crackling, crawfish & crab soup, bourbon ale mussels and of course buttermilk fried chicken. Had there been more than two of us, we could have ordered everything on the menu.
Everything is made to order and comes out when ready so it might be good to stagger your order, which we did a decent job of. First up was the Kale Salad, which is made special with a honey-lavender vinaigrette. It’s hard to rave about a salad but this one is applause worthy.
Cajun Guacamole was up next with bites of blackened shrimp. This dish is super, especially with the house-made barbeque kettle chips, which I could not stop eating.
We were already starting to get full when the deviled egg toast arrived. This dish was actually my favorite of the evening. Chopped eggs unites with ham, crab fat butter and a swift kick of hot pepper making it a unique game-changer in a time where deviled eggs reign supreme on menus.
Our final plate was the Fried Chicken Sliders. Crispy fried chicken on a potato roll with just the right amount of tabasco mayo and sharp pickled pepper to not overwhelm the slider.
Although I really wanted the gouda mac & cheese as I was coveting it at the table next to us, I was so glad that no more plates came out. These four dishesproved more than enough for us and our arteries.
No dessert but a glass of Sancerre for me and another Whodi Smash for Kady was ordered while we hung out for a little longer.
I took a little walk around the space to check it out. Between the host stand and the dining room there is little nook where oysters are freshly chucked and put on ice. The bar area has lots of high-top seating and is overlooked by a neon sign saying Voodoo Lounge. At the back of the bar there is another dining area, which would be perfect for private dining. They also have a large patio area for alfresco dining.
Buttermilk & Bourbon offers its customers attentive service, an easy going vibe and a fun, tasty and reasonably-priced menu.
(Apologies for the lack of pictures. The lighting was a bit too dark to take good photos).