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Gaze Stoically at Puritan & Company, Opening Tonight

[Photos: Rachel Leah Blumenthal]

Time to put on your least revealing outfit and your most disapproving expression to try out Puritan & Company, opening tonight in Inman Square. Actually, there's nothing puritanical about chef Will Gilson's hotly anticipated new restaurant, at least not in the non-fun sense. The name pays homage to the Puritan Cake Company, which once occupied the space, and to Gilson's own Mayflower roots, 13 generations up the line. The restaurant is meant to be an "urban farmhouse" highlighting modern New England cuisine made with seasonal ingredients.

The space is simple and attractive, full of wood and blues and breathing space. It was designed by Anthony Sparandara of ASK Design/Build, a Cambridge-based firm; it is Sparandara's first restaurant project. It's accented by a few interesting vintage items from Gilson's childhood home, like a gorgeous 1920 Glenwood range, the oven on which he first learned to cook. There's also a hutch with a built-in flour sifter, which he used to bake his first cookies at the age of four.

Two communal tables stretch down the middle of the long space with regular tables lining one side and a bar on the other. At the back, right by the kitchen, there's a seven-seat oyster and charcuterie bar. Think grilled oysters, swordfish belly pastrami, and hand-carved ham. The full menu is available there as well.

The menu is divided into snacks, starters, soups, salads, and "hearty" (entrees). On the lighter side, diners will find things like gougeres (rosemary and clothbound cheddar mornay) and smoked bluefish pate with hardtack crackers. A selection of entrees from the past few "soft open" nights included dishes like wood-roasted muscovy duck with quinoa, salsify, mushrooms, and thyme; roasted cobia with escarole, pease porridge, and roasted grapes; and local flounder with sunchokes, black garlic, butter, and lemon. The "heartier" dishes range from $24-28.

The beer list heavily features local brews (Night Shift, Harpoon, Mystic, Notch) along with a few from Belgium, Denmark, and Germany. The wine list is more international and includes some organic and biodynamic options, and Gilson will also feature a seasonal house-made vermouth.

Puritan & Company will be open seven days a week, from 5 PM until 11 PM Sunday through Thursday and 5 PM to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Much of the restaurant will be kept open for walk-ins every night. Sunday brunch may be in the cards at some point, too. Stay tuned.

· All coverage of Puritan & Co. on Eater [~EBOS~]

Puritan & Co.

1164 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA