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Townshend: New urban spot in downtown Quincy

Photo Joan Wilder

Photo Joan Wilder


It’s reassuring to see chef Bobby Sisson in his kitchen whites circle into the dining room to deliver the occasional dish, arriving via the atrium-end door of The Townshend and returning through a passageway next to the bar. Sisson, who was the fish butcher at Boston’s Island Creek Oyster Bar, is dead serious about sustainable fishing and might be the only guy around serving daily-caught bluefish — as well as trout, monkfish, and littlenecks — on the same menu. Which isn’t to say Townshend’s all about fish. The menu’s evolving array of options (Townshend opened May 15) derive from a culinary team that includes general manager Josh Suprenant and owner Devin Adams, both interested in all types of seasonal, local, and sustainable foods. Their “rustic American” lunch and dinner menus are small and well considered, their bar alive with tenders shaking stainless mixers of enticing concoctions, while upwards of 40 craft beers cool at the ready. And the whole experience is enacted with a carefully orchestrated hospitality central to management’s ideas of what a restaurant should be. On three recent visits, both day and night, the service was flawless.


Townshend snagged one of the best spots in the confusion that is the on-again, off-again revitalization of downtown Quincy. Sited just off the ground-floor atrium of Presidents Place, a mixed-use complex across from the Quincy Center T stop, the restaurant can be entered from Hancock Street or the complex’s atrium. The modern interior is a pleasing, simple, urban space with wooden floors and tables and a sleek bar. A wall of windows frames the restaurant’s lovely outdoor patio, which is sheltered in the courtyard of the complex, and a pleasant bit of green beyond a lively city street scene.


Chef Sisson’s menus fill a niche with well-done familiar foods — cheeseburgers, hanger steak, gnocchi, and burata — while also offering unique items.

The formidable cauliflower appetizer ($9) is an inch-thick architectural slab of the cruciferous vegetable seasoned with green olives, their oil, and lemon. It takes a steak knife to cut it well, and you know you’ve had your vegetables after eating it. Nobody ever said trout ($11) had to be pretty to taste good, and the little luncheon filet is sautéed to a dun-colored crisp on the skin side while its white flesh comes off in beautifully tender morsels underneath. It’s sided with small pieces of fingerling potatoes and sautéed arugula studded with chorizo. I loved the luncheon mixed green salad ($8) for its paper-thin slices of radish and cucumber, delicate mix of lettuce leaves, and the fact that it can be ordered with add-on chicken breast ($5) or shrimp ($7). It’s hard to beat a panino brimming with flavorful ingredients like the California chicken club special ($11) we had one day at lunch, with its basil mayo, crisp Boston lettuce, melted cheese, and seasoned chicken breast.

The roasted monkfish ($26) is a dark round of the meaty white fish, the top sautéed to a crust. Its inside is lovely and the carponata that sides it delicious.

Just as good is the romesco, heavily studded with almonds, that comes with the grilled shrimp ($12) appetizer.

Dinner’s 16-ounce bone-in pork chop ($34) was a large rosemary-flavored one, with perfectly cooked broccoli rabe and a light jus. A few littlenecks on the plate exploded with layers of ocean flavor.

Strawberry shortcake ($8) one evening featured the best homemade whipped cream and strawberries machinated to the perfect sweetness. I wasn’t crazy about the shortcake itself, but who needs it with whipped cream this good?

The Townshend, 1250 Hancock St., Quincy, 617-481-9694,