On a whim, Peter and I decided to go dinner last night. We wanted good comfort food, maybe a hamburger or something (I was actually just hoping to eat something without it causing my stomach horrible agony--for some reason my stomach has been bothering me lately). So, we went to Pops on Tremont Street and the food did not disappoint!
Since it opened, I have had hopes for Pops. I love the sign outside--it is flashy and backlit. Based on the sign, I'd expect something very exciting inside. To me, the inside and the outside do not match--it's much more classically decorated inside, with a black and white theme of striped chairs, detailed mirrors and glass, and white marbel tables. Its not bad, just not what I expected. We were seated on the back sun porch, which provided a whimsical setting for our dinner with chandeliers, frosted glass walls, and a view of the private back garden. I have sat in the regular dining room during brunch and I much preferred the porch. I should say that the day was slightly cloudy--I'm not sure how hot it would have been in there if the sun had been beating down on the roof, but they do have curtains providing some protection. It was very comfortable/borderline cool while we were eating.
Appetizer: Sambai Chicken Wings, Cucumber Cream ($8)
Main Course: Kobe Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy ($19)
Appetizer: Truffled Sweet Pea Ravioli in a Ginger-Scallion Sauce, Edamame, Goat Cheese Beignet ($9)
Main Course: Pan Roasted Organic Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Mushroom Jus ($18)
My raviolis were out of this world. The appetizer came with 2 big raviolis. The coating was just the right texture--not a crunchy as a fried ravioli but not limp like boiled pasta. The pea puree was sweet. The fried goat cheese, which was pure and not too salty, provided a perfect balance. I'm not a huge fan of edamame--I ate a few but left most of them in the sauce--which was very concentrated ginger sauce (similar to a plum sauce you'd get with peking ravioli--but the Pops sauce was much better!)
The Chicken Wings had a kick! The wings were presented all bundled together in a banana leaf (I'm guessing)--it made for a very fun plate. The cucumber sauce was just right to balance out the spice on the wings.
I never order chicken at restaurants. Never. However I have been having this stomach problem where I wake up in the middle of the night with the feeling like a have a bubble in my stomach. It reminds me of the Golden Girls episode when Sophia thinks she is having a heart attack. Once the doctor comes and she tells him all the Italian food she had been eating, the doctor diagnoses her with a severe case of over-eating. Go figure. So recently I've had issues after eating lasagna, Mexican food, and a feast of brunch foods at an Italian restaurant. So despite wanting to get something exciting, like the pork, duck, or short ribs, I decided to try and give my stomach a rest and go with the chicken. And guess what, the chicken tasted like chicken. But it was very well done with a very nice sear. The sauce wasn't too much for the dish and the potatoes and broccolini that came with it were perfectly fine. Maybe going into the dish without any expectations helped, as I was very happy with this simple, but well done meal.
Peter had the meatloaf which I tasted and did not like. The mashed potatoes and candied carrots served with the meatloaf, however, were VERY good. Perhaps I am just partial to my meatloaf, but I felt like there was something missing from this dish--I've narrowed it down to the spices (I use Italian seasonings) or the sweet and sour kick of the worcestershire and ketchup mixture I use provides (email me if you want my recipe). The Pops meatloaf was smothered in caramelized onions and Peter thought there was corn bread in the mix, which provided some needed sweetness. I believe Peter's review of the dish is very positive--he especially liked the carrots, which were sweet and tender.
We opted not to do dessert. We did, however, look at the menu and an assortment of cookies caught my eye--perhaps next time!
In previous trips to Pops I have enjoyed the following dishes:
Grilled Angus Hangar Steak with Creamed Spinach, Leeks, and Pops Steak Sauce ($20)
I thought the steak was so good it could almost qualify Pops for a contender during Les Gourmands' STEAKHOUSE WEEK (coming soon!). During this trip to Pops, I sat outside on their front patio, which is a great place to enjoy a summer dinner.
Breakfast Sandwich BLT with Fried Egg and Black Pepper Aioli on an Onion Roll ($8)
Cheeseburger with Onion Jam, Mushrooms, Bacon on Brioche with Fries ($12)
Both of these dishes have a lot of bread...but they are delicious! I was reminded of their fries last night--they are served in a large cone. The restaurant tends to be a little stubborn with their ketchup--which never makes me happy. Also, it is VERY IMPORTANT to note that coffee during brunch costs like $4! We learned the hard way.
The service at Pops is hit or miss. I have especially been disappointed during brunch--but to be fair, I usually am with a large entourage. We seem to continually get the same waiter who just doesn't care whether he neglects refills or ketchup requests. Last night, though, we had excellent service. Our waiter, Jason, was very attentive and recommended the meatloaf to Peter, much to Peter's delight. However, also last night, one of the other employees proceeded to conduct some sort of personal business transaction (possibly with a realtor). The realtor's cell phone rang LOUDLY twice and she took the call both times. Considering we were in a small sun porch, this was bizarre and rude--especially since her client worked at the restaurant. After they were done signing papers they moved to right in front of the kitchen and I happily watched as one of the waiters pushed the girls out of the way. Watching that was almost as satisfying as my raviolis. I doubt many people that work at Pops like this employee.
On their website, they call themselves "The diner of the 21st century." I'm not sure I would go that far, but Pops certainly provides both a brunch and dinner menu full of tasty comfort foods (perhaps a little overpriced). Request Jason and the back porch when you go in and don't miss out on the sweet pea ravioli!
Pops gets a B/B+