jm Curley Returns Triumphant After Flood Damage
It may not be apparent from the outside, but jm Curley is a beloved bar in downtown Boston. The unassuming storefront at 21 Temple Place blends in seamlessly with its older industrial neighbors, but as soon as you open the plain glass door with Sharpie-scrawled hours you’re greeted by the din of a large and happy group. Friends huddle together in booths to catch up with one another, the after-work crowd cracks jokes at the bar, and patrons chat with the waiters like old friends. For the past two months, jm Curley regulars were without their local haunt thanks to a burst pipe that caused more than 10,000 gallons of water to flood the restaurant . Owners and staff have pushed through this setback and jm Curley reopened its doors last week, to the delight of many.
The crowd was thick for a Wednesday night, but I snagged a seat at the bar after a short wait. My extremely friendly bartender greeted me straight away and talked me through the four page long beer and cocktail list. I ordered a sweet and tangy rum drink called the Dark & Stormy and commented on the bar’s impressive selection. He explained that the bar was re-built after the flood and now had the capacity to hold more bottles. As we chatted about the flood and its impact on the restaurant, I learned that the entire kitchen of jm Curley had been updated with brand new appliances, which the chef was using to experiment with new recipes. More seating was also added to the expanded back section of the restaurant.
I decided to test an oldie-but-goodie, the cast iron mac and cheese, alongside a new arugula salad. The tangy mac and cheese was familiar and perfect. Made with sharp white cheddar, jm Curley’s version of this ubiquitous noodle dish skips the frills and goes straight for flavor. The arugula salad looked light at first glance, but the unusual combination of salty potato chip garnish and balsamic dressing gave it an unexpected bite.
As the restaurant grew busier throughout the evening, the newer menu items began to sell out at a fast pace. I decided to grab the classic 8 ounce natural Angus burger before my fellow diners beat me to it. The burger came out quicker than I anticipated (probably thanks to those fancy new appliances), but it was cooked to a perfect medium-rare pink and topped with caramelized onions, pickles, and Russian dressing. I enjoyed each savory bite while reading the restaurant’s famous “Law and Order” rules that are displayed prominently beside the bar and admiring the vintage Boston photographs that adorn the walls.
My bartender, with whom I was now on a first name basis, explained the dessert options while I polished off my crispy shoestring fries. One of the options was a new addition to the menu: the krispy chocolate. This grown-up take on a Rice Krispies treat combines puffed wild rice, quinoa, caramel, and marshmallow and then tops it with chocolate for some added decadence. I wish I could say I ate it with some modicum of grace, but that would be a lie; I wolfed it down at a speed that 5-year-old me would be proud of.
In a show of true Boston resiliency, jm Curley found the silver lining in their plumbing disaster and are now back and better than ever. Expect the same neighborly service and hearty bar food you’ve come to love and take advantage of the expanded bar and menu. Just plan to get there early if you want a seat.