A line of graffiti-covered phone booths runs along one wall of Bancroft & Co., the new steak house at the Northshore Mall in Peabody. Salvaged from the Roseland Ballroom and “sanitized,” but left otherwise still looking like they belong in the storied New York venue that hosted everyone from Nirvana to Beyoncé, they’re a quirky addition to an upscale steak house—and exactly the kind of contrast the restaurant thrives on.
Just like its older sibling, The Bancroft in Burlington, Bancroft & Co. offers all the trappings of a top chophouse, from massive slabs of perfectly aged beef to sides of asparagus and mashed potatoes. Also like The Bancroft, the atmosphere and food take on their own personality—a little bit odd, in a good way, and never stuffy.
Constructed in the former P.F. Chang’s spot but bearing no resemblance to that restaurant, Bancroft & Co. seats more than 300 in a soaring space with a 35-foot-high vaulted ceiling and towering windows. Mismatched furniture, organized in conversational sections, keeps the experience intimate. Fans of The Bancroft will be familiar with about two-thirds of the menu, including the famously indulgent prime steak au poivre, served with a marrow bone and a tiny spoon for scooping out the luscious goodness. Culinary director Mario Capone is splitting his time between Peabody and Burlington these days, with executive sous chef Diego Motahelming day-to-day operations.
In a nod to its mall location, Bancroft & Co. offers a few gentler-priced options, like fish and chips and a couple of steaks under $30, as well as a bar menu. For light bites, or small plates and starters, the lamb kofta kebab is an excellent choice. On the bar menu, but available in the dining room by request, lamb that is ground in-house is served with a puffy, delicious house-made pita, accompanied by minted yogurt sauce and hummus. The romaine Caesar salad looks as good as it tastes—a teepee-shaped structure of lettuce served alongside a thin whole slice of toast rather than croutons, lightly dressed with a creamy lemony dressing and topped with a few anchovies, if you’re smart.
For mains, you’ll never go wrong with the steak. Or the double-thick Kurobuta pig chop, perfectly moist, tender, and flavorful, served with a truffle Parmesan flan and roasted cipollini onions. Be sure to ask for an add-on of shishito peppers—in season they are among the many products grown for the restaurant by sister property Gibbet Hill Farm in Groton.
Because it’s a steak house, sides are important. The creamed spinach is especially tasty—bright green whole-leaf spinach cooked with plenty of cream and butter and topped with a fried egg, it would be a lovely lunch all on its own, perhaps complemented by the Anson Mills white corn polenta, another terrific side.
The drinks program offers something special for everyone, starting with the craft cocktail selection developed by beverage director Dave Werthman. It’s heavy on classics, from flips to smashes, and there is an impressive whisky wall on the second floor that currently includes three choices of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, starting at $100 for a two-ounce pour. Werthman is equally talented with new creations—try the Bergamot. This mix of The Botanist gin, Cappelletti, bergamot/orange syrup (made in-house), lemon, and tarragon oil (made in-house) is likely to become your go-to summer cocktail.
Beer and wine drinkers were not forgotten, though. The draft beer list is extensive and filled with a lot of cult favorites, but real geeks should inquire about the secret tap. Known in-house as “the other one,” it’s a rotating keg of hard-to-find quaffs. Speaking of rare offerings, Bancroft & Co.’s by-the-glass wine list includes a “Coravin List.” A Coravin is a unique wine preservation gadget that makes it possible to pour a glass without removing the cork—allowing the restaurant to offer wines like a 2014 AntinoriTignanello by the glass.
For dessert, pastry cook Aimee Clark makes grown-up ice cream flavors such as espresso mascarpone gelato in-house, as well as creative treats like the white chocolate s’mores tart—a graham flour crust filled with a white chocolate and sour cream ganache, giving it a nice balance of sweet and tangy, which is topped with house-made vanilla ice cream and toasty burnt marshmallow. Once again, elegant and slightly quirky are balanced to perfection.
ON THE MENU
Starters/Small Plates: Romaine Caesar Salad, Lamb Kofta Kebab
Mains: Kurobuta Pig Chop, Prime Steak Au Poivre
Sides: Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Leaf Spinach
Dessert: White Chocolate S’mores Tart