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Cavendish Game Birds Farm to Post Dinner at Post 390
Features - Chefs and Restaurants
Written by Lara Zelman   

The sleek exterior of Post 390 at the corner of Clarendon and Stuart Street opens up into a warm, inviting space offering equally warm and inviting cuisine. Post 390 is an urban tavern featuring seasonally inspired dishes from Chef Eric Brennan. Post 390 is part of the Himmel Hospitality Group (which also includes Grill 23 and Harvest). Himmel Hospitality Group emphasizes the highest quality food and service. This starts with their focus on quality ingredients and suppliers and extends through the staff in the restaurants. 

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The food and drink at Post 390 reflects this focus. Menus change often to reflect the seasons and availability. Post 390 offers Farm to Post, a special series to highlight local producers and farmers. Farm to Post is a menu highlighting the product of a local farm or producer. The Farm to Post menu allows a larger restaurant like Post 390 to support the local food industry at a manageable scale. Featured producers over the series have included Kimball Fruit Farm (Massachusetts and New Hampshire), Ward’s Berry Farm (Massachusetts), and 5 Spoke Creamery (New York). I had the opportunity to attend the kickoff dinner for the latest Farm to Post menu featuring Cavendish Game Birds of Springfield, Vermont. The menu features inventive dishes from Chef Brennan utilizing quail from Cavendish Game Birds. 

Post 390 quailCavendish Game Birds is a family operation run by Bill and Rick Thompson. Since the early 1990s the brothers have been growing their business supplying high quality game birds and eggs across the United States. From their location in Springfield, Vermont the brothers manage all aspects of the process from breeding through processing. It is a surprisingly quick six weeks from hatchery to table. The Thompson brothers have spent many years breeding the Coturnix quail and the high standards and dedication of the Thompson brothers are reflected in the premium product they produce. Their facility includes a state of the art hatchery that produces 6,000 to 8,000 quail each week. Cavendish Game Birds’ quail is a light meat with a slightly sweet flavor. Streaks of fat under the skin keep the birds moist during cooking. 

The Farm to Post menu featuring Cavendish Game Birds will run for the next two weeks. The Farm to Post menu available for the next two weeks can be accessed on the restaurant's website. The kickoff dinner included appetizers and five courses with pairings. The versatility of Cavendish Quail was showcased in the creative menu. In addition to Cavendish Game Birds, the menu also includes many other local producers.

It was hard to pick a favorite, but the dish that everyone polished off was the buttermilk fried quail with a salad of seasonal greens, hoppin’ john, cherry tomatoes and creamy garlic dressing. They could sell this by the bucket! A special note: In addition to the traditional anchovies used in the Caesar style dressing, Chef Brennan also adds finnan haddie for a subtle smoky flavor.

The kickoff dinner menu also included the following items:

Seared Silver Hake with Holland Mussels and Quail Chorizo. This take on a Soup du Poisson was topped with well toasted bread slathered in bright orange saffron aioli. The quail chorizo was cut with pork fat back to add fat and moisture. 

Coffee Rubbed Quail Breast with Housemade Tasso and Cloth Bound Cheddar Grits. The rub on the quail had an incredible depth of flavor with ingredients including coffee, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ancho chili powder. The sauce added cherry, port, and housemade duck sauce. Cheddar in the grits is from 5 Spoke Creamery in New York, the previous Farm to Post featured producer. The combination of all of these components was rich, full of umami, and paired perfectly with an Argentinean Pinot Noir with similar cherry and smoke flavors. 

Quail Chorizo

The Thompson brothers were unable to join us for the kickoff dinner due to a tragic fire at their farm. The fire claimed 20,000 quail along with heritage pigs and a flock of ducks. Some of their quail were located in another barn unaffected by the fire, and their hatchery was not destroyed. However, with the loss of a large part of their facility, it will take some time for the Thompson Brothers to rebuild and get back to their level of production. All of the quail for the Post 390 Farm to Post menu were already at the processing facility and were not impacted by the fire. Post 390 plans to give a portion of the proceeds from Farm to Post sales back to Cavendish Game Birds to help in their rebuilding efforts. 

For a creative take on tavern food, made with high-quality and seasonal ingredients, Post 390 is worth a visit. The Farm to Post menu is a great way to support the local food industry and enjoy a delicious night (or afternoon) out in Boston. 

I was invited to attend this kickoff dinner as a guest of Sullivan Communications, public relations firm for Post 390. The dinner was complimentary. All opinions expressed in this piece are honest and my own. 

Photos are courtesy of Chris Himmel from Himmel Hospitality Group. 

 

 

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