Too hot to grill? Or, maybe you don’t even own a grill? Those are two perfect reasons to head over the the newly opened Back Deck Boston where Bradley Fredericks and Chef Paul Sussman have done a fabulous job creating an outdoor “back deck ” experience!
Another perfect reason to visit is their ability to accomodate gluten-free diners. Chef Sussman has a family member who is gluten-intolerant and, therefore, understands the significance of cross- contamination prevention to the point where an entire grill is devoted to gluten-free cooking (remember to mention your dietary needs upon arrival so the correct grill is utilized)!
You won’t find a separate gluten-free menu here, but most of the dishes are naturally gluten-free or modifiable (by skipping the croutons, pita bread and buns). For instance, the Escarole & Lentils starter becomes gluten-free with the omission of the garlic croutons. The remaining starters are naturally gluten-free. These include the Grilled Point Judith Squid (with a sweet pepper vinaigrette & watercress), Grilled Chicken Livers (served over hearty greens with a creamy garlic dressing) and the Grilled Hot Wings, which they first confit and then grill to order.
Also on the menu are Small Plates where you’ll find thoughtful and tasty vegetarian choices like the Smoky Creamy Eggplant Spread (omit the pita and substiute with crudite to be gluten-free) and the Grilled Seasonal Vegetables served with lemon aioli. The Greek Style Lamb Kefta Skewer and the Moroccan Style Chicken Kabob are also gluten-free starters.
While sandwiches are listed on the lunch menu, these are replaced with the Large Plates found on the dinner menu. The gluten-free choices include; the Grilled Atlantic Salmon served with grilled polenta, chunky tomato vinaigrette and a basil aioli, Porterhouse Pork Chop served with a cranberry pecan chutney and bourbon mashed potatoes, the Cowboy Steak which is a coffee and chili rubbed rib-eye served with grilled corn on the cob, watercress with creamy garlic dressing and chimichurri, and the Mixed Grill which comes with three skewers of chicken, lamb and duck sausage. It’s accompanied by grilled portobello mushrooms, tomatoes and salty cracked new potatoes.
On our visit, we ordered the Grilled Vegetable and Eggplant Spread. This creamy spread was enhanced by the not-too-overpowering presence of garlic and occasional pieces of grilled eggplant which were a nice surprise to something we’d expected to be more of a smooth, pureed spread. It was served with perfectly grilled zucchini, fennel, onions and sweet red pepper. We also ordered the Mexicali Burger and Muffaletta Burger (sans bun). The Mexicali Burger was topped with pepper jack cheese and sliced avocado, chipotle mayo and green chili salsa that was served on the side for personal discretion, which we appreciated. The Muffaletta Burger was topped with provalone cheese and served with a creole olive salad and garlic mayo which married well and brought the delicious burger to new heights! For sides, we chose the House Fries (yes, there is a dedicated fryer) and the Gumbo Greens. Always looking for ways to increase our ‘greens’, the Gumbo Greens proved to be an easy and pleasurable approach to meet this quota. Ham was dispersed throughout this dish of collard greens and one could definitely taste the ‘smoke” flavor imparted by the oak and maple hardwoods used in the grill. The potato salad, green apple coleslaw and mashed red potatoes sides are also gluten-free.
Gluten-free dessert options include the Snicker Sundae (contains peanuts) and the Bowl of Toscanini’s ice cream which is served with “drunken 3 Musketeers”! Raspberry sorbet is available for those needing a dairy-free choice.
Be on the lookout for brunch service which we’re told will begin by the end of this month!
Back Deck certainly beckons us to visit during the high heat of summer. Between the use of wood “decking” for flooring, the teak furniture, patio “umbrellas” and an abundance of live plants, one is transformed to a true “outdoor” space. Even the large windows open up to Washingoton Street, weather permitting (on our visit we enjoyed the a/c). However, I know I’d be just as inclined to visit during the cold winter months when I’m pining for the long lost days of summer!