In the spirit of Thanksgiving, what better way to celebrate than to visit Pumpkin, an upscale BYOB with excellent cuisine and phenomenal ambiance. Better book early through opentable.com though, because at a seating capacity of less than 30 people, a table at Pumpkin is hard to come by. For a 9PM seating on a Friday night for 4, plan to book at least a week ahead. The restaurant, however, is well worth the wait. With its food fresh from farm to table, Pumpkin is one of the finest BYOBs this city has to offer.
For starters, the perfect cure for the cold weather is their signature pumpkin soup. It is the perfect balance of richness and flavor, not allowing either factor to dominate the other. And *spoiler alert*, the melon ball at the bottom was a tasty surprise. The melon provided a combination of flavors I hadn’t experienced before, yet the contrast in taste really did bring out the flavor of the soup.
Another appetizer of note is the mussel dish. It is so tasty that it leaves you craving more bread just to soak up the flavors of the broth.
Unfortunately, the last appetizer, the beet salad was a let down. While I had high expectations for the dish, the vignette completely overpowered the natural flavors of the beet, making it no better than any random salad with too much dressing poured over.
Of the main courses, the surprise winner was actually the vegetarian pappardelle with porcini mushrooms – it was perfectly flavored, with pasta cooked slightly al dente. However, the vegetarian option is off menu and changes often.
For the meat eaters, the waiter recommended the Berkshire Pork Two Ways out of their selection and it did not disappoint. The pork came smoothly off the bone; the sausage was perfectly seasoned; the mash potatoes and spinach that accompanied the dish are the perfect sides.
Pescetarians, I am sad to report, however, that the sea bass proved to be a mild disappointment. While the fish was delightful, there was absolutely nothing special surrounding the dish. In fact, with such a powerful ingredient, our ending dish seemed a bit of disappointment.
Overall, Pumpkin is a perfect restaurant for a romantic date, small group of friends, or just catching a great meal. Unfortunately, the small space and the packed reservation make it hard for a spontaneous meal or a large group. One thing to note, however, is that the restaurant does have a great Sunday Tasting menu for $40 that is a deal compared to its normal prices. So plan ahead, and reap the benefits.
Ambiance: 5 stars
Service: 4 stars
Food: 5 stars
Overall: 4.5 stars
Location: 1713 South St
Recommended Dishes: Mussels, Pumpkin Soup, and Pork Two Ways