Get Your Gatsby On at the Speakeasy-Styled State Street Provisions
At the corner of State Street and Atlantic Avenue sits an innocuous office building called 255 State Street. Large picture windows on the ground floor showcase a restaurant with luxurious brown leather booths, dark hardwood walls, and heavy golden tapestries. Though this restaurant has no immediate signage, a crowd of patrons have found their way inside and are sipping cocktails and enjoying the company of friends underneath the soft orange glow of vintage lamps. This is State Street Provisions, Downtown’s newest hot spot for New England cuisine.
State Street Provisions is the brainchild of the Grafton Group, who are well known for the Russell House Tavern, Park, and Temple Bar in Harvard Square. While the menu at State Street Provisions is similar in concept to its Harvard siblings, executive chef Tom Borgia draws on the maritime history of the State Street area with an extensive raw bar, crafty cocktails like the Quarterdeck, and hometown classics like Boston baked beans. The uniquely Bostonian menu plays perfectly off the restaurant’s historic Long Wharf location.
I settled into a sumptuous leather booth at State Street Provisions one Saturday evening and was immediately captivated with the impressively large drink list. The mid-December chill had me in the holiday spirit, so I ordered a Christmas Collins, which combines champagne, lemon, simple syrup, and juniper-infused Campari for a sweet and tart refreshment. The juniper flavor put a festive twist on an otherwise simple drink.
The menu boasts a long list of appetizers and small plates, leading me to sample two– the grilled baby carrots and Boston baked beans. The colorful carrots were grilled to soft perfection and served on a bed of farro with pomegranate and tzatziki accompaniment. The cool, tangy tzatziki paired well with the warm vegetable and grain. And the Boston baked beans were a sight to behold– suspended in a maple gravy and topped with pork belly and brown sugar, these were not your grandmother’s baked beans. The pork belly was the real star, so tender I could cut it with a spoon!
While awaiting my entree and admiring the restaurant’s decor, the manager stopped by my table to get feedback on the food and service. We chatted about the opening week and the welcome reception they had received. I admired the way he and the rest of the staff attended to every guest like a VIP.
One of the hallmarks of the State Street Provisions menu is the seasonally inspired pasta, and this winter they are serving up a house-made spaghetti with breadcrumbs and cauliflower. Hearty and buttery, this seasonal pasta is a wonderful choice to warm up with on a December night. The fresh al dente spaghetti took center stage in this dish, with the simple toppings rounding out the bready flavor.
By the time I received the dessert menu, I had spent two hours savoring my meal, but it felt like almost no time had passed. The relaxed lounge-like atmosphere had fully absorbed me. I ended the night with a plate of apple cider doughnuts and a cup of coffee. Caramel sauce glazed the doughnut rounds and a side of chocolate dipping sauce added to the decadence. Along with the smooth, flavorful coffee, it was the perfect nightcap to a beautiful meal.
In less than two weeks, State Street Provisions has already solidified its status in the Downtown restaurant scene. Bustling and lively, this gilded era lounge serves up pieces of Boston history in a space that evokes a sense of cool that even Gatsby would have envied. Stop by for a drink sometime, old sport; you won’t regret it.