Pastoral to Feature Fire-Roasted Everything
A 6,000-pound volcanic oven will churn out authentic Neapolitan pizza and…cocktails?
At this point, Chef Todd Winer won’t give a specific date on when Pastoral, his highly anticipated, rustic Mediterranean restaurant will open in Fort Point. Due to heavy snow, his beer taps are lost somewhere in the Midwest and there’s still some bureaucratic red tape to get through, but he’s confident that he and business partner, George Lewis, will be open within the next two weeks.
A veteran chef who has worked under famous mentors like Bobby Flay, Todd English, and Charlie Trotter, Winer is finally getting the opportunity to present his own vision. “I’ve opened 13 places for other people,” he says. “This is now my dream. The menu at Pastoral is something that I’ve been conjuring up over the last 20 years.”
Inspired by the rustic French cuisine Winer fell in love with in San Francisco, he’s crafted an extensive menu of what he calls “country peasant food” with items like large Mantis shrimp a la plancha, Kurobuta [Japanese heritage pork] collar, and Toulouse sausage with oxtail.
But the centerpiece of the Pastoral space is undoubtedly going to be the pizza cooked in an authentic wood-fired Marra Forni oven imported from Naples; a mammoth contraption made from six thousand pounds of sand and stone from Mt. Vesuvius.
Winer is only the second chef in Massachusetts (the other being Joe Cassinelli of Posto) to be certified by the California-based Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana as an official Pizzaiolo, a trained expert in Neapolitan-style pizza. Everything will be made in-house including the hand-torn buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, marinara, and toppings like fennel sausage.
“It’s all about simplicity,” says Winer. “We’re using natural products and staying true to the Neapolitan process. We cook the pizza in a 900-degree oven for 90 seconds, and it comes out so light and airy that you can eat four or five slices and not feel full or bloated.”
Winer jokes that you could reduce his vision down to one word: “Fire.” He’s not far off either, as almost every dish comes in contact with the three-ton oven like the vegetable small plates, the garlic knots stuffed with olives and duck sausage—and even components of his growing cocktail menu.
Pastoral has an entire section of of beer cocktails featuring smoked and infused ales. The Smoke Stack will combine bourbon, Aperol, lemon juice, and smoked beer syrup (Founders Pale Ale that’s been reduced overnight in the Marra Forni oven over low heat). Other ideas Winer is toying with include a porter cooked with port wine and vanilla bean pods and and a blood orange peel infused IPA.
“Even though we’re going to have 20 beers on tap, I’m interested in something more than just a beer garden,” says Winer. “The craftsmanship and flavor profiles that are available today in good craft beer make them accessible in a lot of different ways. You can use beer just like you would spirits.”
Winer’s food might be rooted in country French and Italian fare, but his philosophy extends much further. “It’s really just all about taking quality ingredients, simple cuts, and inexpensive ways of putting big flavors on the plate.”
1 1/2 oz. bourbon
3/4 oz. of Aperol
1/2 oz. of smoked beer syrup
Topped off with Six Point Righteous Pale Ale
**To make the smoked beer syrup, put Founders Pale Ale into a lasagna tray and place into the wood-fired oven overnight. In the morning, add some heat and sugar. Strain through a chinois.