January 2010: The Ultimate: Chicken Potpie: Petsi Pies
Generally speaking, most restaurants’ potpies aren’t really pies: They’re crocks full of chicken and vegetables in sauce, with a scant layer of puff pastry serving as crust. For the real deal, head to Petsi Pies, which crafts its version in an old-fashioned pie crust, the shell golden and flaky on top and soft on the bottom (from soaking up gravy). Inside, there’s the perfect balance of white meat, diced carrots, fresh herbs, and chunks of skin-on russet potatoes. Petsi requires 48 hours’ notice for the savory creations, but for this kind of homemade taste, we’ll gladly wait. 285 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-661-7437; 31 Putnam Ave., Cambridge, 617-499-0801; petsipies.com.
**** Harrows: A hearty portion of pulled chicken sits under a buttery pastry topping that melts into a flavorful, if too thick, filling. 126 Main St., Reading, 781-944-0410; 275 Mystic Ave., Medford, 781-306-0410; chickenpie.com.
***1/2 Amrheins: Plentiful vegetables and a flavorful gravy are marred by a brittle pastry topping and a random mound of mashed potatoes spooned on top. 80 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-268-6189, amrheinsboston.com.
*** Pie Bakery & Café: We took the fact that this potpie is usually sold out as a promising sign, but the filling felt a bit predictable. 796 Beacon St., Newton Centre, 617-332-8743, piebakeryandcafe.com.
** 1/2 Top of the Hub: While the earthenware pot makes for a sophisticated presentation, too many potatoes overwhelm the chicken and vegetables. Prudential Center, Boston, 617-536-1775, topofthehub.net.
** Asgard: This one is more chicken soup than potpie, with a thin filling that’s only slightly improved by the variety of vegetables and the buttery puff-pastry topper. 350 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-577-9100, classicirish.com.
* Tavern in the Square: A comically large skillet full of chicken and vegetables in a bed of mashed potatoes comes crowned with an impossibly tall (and hard-to-eat) layer of puff pastry. 730 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-868-8800; 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-7766; 189 Washington St., Salem, 978-740-2337; taverninthesquare.com.