Archive for January, 2007

January 5th, 2007

Digging Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum

Max Toste and Aaron Sanders were still upwrapping stacks of coasters and wiping sawdust off the bar last night when we walked into their brand-new joint, Deep Ellum (477 Cambridge St. in Allston), on opening night. The former management team of Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, Max and Aaron partnered with Bukowski chef Josh Velasquez to realize the dream of running their own place. I am going to make a bold statement about a bar that’s only been open 24 hours: Deep Ellum is the coolest bar in Allston. Not that there aren’t other good drinking spots in this neighborhood, but these gentlemen made Bukowski one of the Boston area’s best bars, and I fully expect them to do the same with the new place.

Deep Ellum is named after a hip, “urban village” in Dallas, Texas, which is Aaron’s hometown. (We can only hope someone in Deep Ellum opens a bar called Allston.) The place is small — a narrow room with about 10 small tables and about 20 seats at the bar. The wood is dark, the walls are a light, muted green, and the acoustics are favorable (Love played over the nice, new sound system.) “International comfort food” is the theme of the menu: burgers, Hebrew National hotdogs, grubbins (fried cod served between potato pancakes), Moroccan lamb shank, cassoulet. I don’t think there’s anything on here over $18, which is a relief. Not surprisingly to anyone who watched him in action behind the bar at Bukowski, Max has put together a top-notch beer menu. It includes all the finery (Trappist ales) and none of the fluff (Seadog Blueberry Ale) found at Bukowski. The 22 drafts include De Ranke XX Bitter from Belgium, Thomas Hooker’s Liberator Dopplebock (Connecticut), and Mahr’s, a delicious pilsner from Bavaria, Germany that you rarely see in the U.S. Of course, you can get a can of ‘Gansett, too, and there are 100 different bottled beers.

The thing that really makes Deep Ellum a “new style of beer bar,” as Max puts it, is the fact that they’re making classic cocktails in addition to offering great beer. Wow! “I’m making my own grenadine, my own cocktail onions. No bullshit, no Rose’s,” Max says. One of his specialties is the Green Opal — gin, bitters, absinthe and sugar — not to mention a wide selection of good bourbons. Deep Ellum is open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. For more information call 617.787.BEER.

Posted in Beer, Boston bars, Cocktails | 1 Comment »

January 3rd, 2007

drinkboston toasts Martini Republic

Forgot to tell ya — got a nice mention on Martini Republic a couple of weeks ago. An L.A.-based, multiple-blog site on drinks, culture and politics, Martini Republic is on our list of wicked good web hangouts.

Posted in drinkboston in the news | 4 Comments »

January 3rd, 2007

Green Ghost

I discovered a great way to make a resolution: on New Year’s eve, introduce yourself to a cocktail you’ve never tried before, and vow to drink more of it. I was drinking a Green Ghost when the fireworks went off over the Charles at midnight on January 1, 2007. Gin, green Chartreuse and fresh lime, chilled and straight up. Both the color and flavor of the cocktail were otherworldly, sending a chill up my spine while stopping me in my tracks. I promised myself more Green Ghosts in 2007. Then I broadened my scope — more Chartreuse cocktails in 2007. Given that there are 121 recipes for cocktails containing either green or yellow Chartreuse on the Internet Cocktail Database, I’ve already got nearly half the year covered.

Speaking of Chartreuse, have you ever tried the really good stuff, the stuff that’s aged in oak and comes in the bottles with the plain-looking labels? I was at Green Street (do you sense a theme here?) a couple of nights before New Year’s and got to try side-by-side samples of regular (about $45/bottle) and aged ($95 or more) green Chartreuse. Now I get why people spend the big bucks for the latter. Somehow, the herbaceousness and strength of the aged liqueur were both subtler and more intense, giving the sensation of a vapor rather than a liquid. Strange, wonderful stuff.

Posted in Gin, Liqueur | 5 Comments »

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