Five Horses Tavern is the newest eatery to hole up in Davis Square, filling in where the decidedly meh Sagra closed down earlier this year, bringing to the new digs a modern American menu and beer.
You guys—LOTS of beer.
Five Horses leans heavily toward the craft label persuasion, with owner Dylan Welsh sharpening his brewski knowledge during his stint at Bukowski’s in Inman Square. Hopheads can sip through a constantly rotating selection of 36 taps, with current autumnal offerings like Peak Organic Fall Summit and Shipyard Pumpkinhead. If that’s not enough, you also have 80 plus more in bottles, from saison to doppelbock, all of which live in a nifty glass beer cave in view of the dining room.
Or, if you’re a more a bourbon fan, they have, oh, 40 or so of those to keep you coming back.
Black leather seats, stone tile floors, and a rocky fireplace offer just the right mix of sophisticated meets hassle-free.
The menu is American with a twist, with a bar menu flair and lots of vegetarian and vegan options. And while pizzas, sandwiches, salads and wings may sound innocuous enough, these dishes are packing some serious punch.
The confit pork belly taco starter with pickled red onions and dragon lady sauce on what seemed to be a homemade flour tortilla ($5) is so damn tasty that we feel it’s our civic duty to warn you that the order only comes with one so you don’t come to blows over the last bite. The drunken wings ($10), marinated in tequila, chile, fresh lime and (naturally) beer, were crispy on the outside but juicy inside, with a unique acidic tang with an underlying heat.
As for entrees, we went for the K.F.C.G.H. ($16)—that’s a Kentucky fried Cornish game hen with jalapeno cheddar mashed potatoes and pork belly-spiked mac and cheese. Dear God. A little lighter than standard squawkers, the game hen was doused in a crispy crust and brought a pleasant, spicy quality. (And don’t be afraid of the phrase “game hen”—it’s little more than a small, mostly white meat chicken.)
The potatoes had strong cheddar with crunchy jalapeño surprises, but were nowhere near the burn-your-face-off heat level we were envisioning. The mac and cheese (also available as its own entrée, with or without the pork belly or, heaven help us, lobster) was a rich and creamy delight, lava hot in its little ramekin and totally worth the tongue burn.
Vegetarians, don’t fret—Welsh personally selected Five Horses’s produce supplier after an impressive full-day tour of their facilities, so you won’t be left out in the cold. In addition to lots of starters (including the elote loco, standard Mexican street fare which means “crazy corn”), you’ll find plenty sans meat. We went with the Pea Diddy ($10), a fresh, filling salad of greens, English peas, creamy avocado, fresh mozzarella, basil puree and sherry vinaigrette.
With uber-friendly service from employees bedecked in their very best plaid, Five Horses Tavern is a great place to grab a fine pint and some finer food in Davis Square—a spot long overdue for a standby. At an address that hasn’t had the best track record in keeping its doors open, our money’s on Five Horses being the one to break the curse.
Photos by Chris Sanchez.
FIVE HORSES TAVERN