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As of this past Monday, you can order dinner by the Puritan & Company team via the food delivery service Caviar. But don’t bother Googling the Cambridge restaurant’s menu — the delivery outfit is a separate entity under the name Puritan Trading Company.
Restaurants entering the delivery realm usually do so by sending their regular menus off in to-go containers, but chef and co-owner Will Gilson saw delivery as a new kind of opportunity.
“Some of the type of food that we thought would travel best, and eat the best, and be cost-effective served in delivery platform wasn’t the food that we were serving on plates in our dining room,” he said. “The actual creation of the dishes lends itself to the takeaway delivery format.”
With that in mind, Gilson and his team developed a new menu under a new name, one that does not have a brick-and-mortar location.
“You can’t come in and sit down and order that menu,” Gilson said. “The only way to get that menu is to order it through the delivery service.”
And straying from the swordfish pastrami and pan-seared monkfish of Puritan & Company’s menu, the delivery-only options are more Asian-inspired.
“Our food is very New England in its origin at Puritan & Company,” Gilson said. “We thought this would be a fun way for us to do a cuisine that would seem out of place on our menu, but we still had the ideas and the flavors that we wanted to achieve.”
The Puritan Trading Company menu is 15 items strong, ranging in price from $6 to $22. Some of the offerings are a grilled pork belly banh mi, red curry heirloom carrots, marinated salmon crudo, and a crispy chicken sandwich on a potato bun with pickles, iceberg lettuce, and finished off with sweet and sour sauce. But if Gilson could only pick one dish off the menu, he said it would have to be the double-fried chicken wings with jalapeno, cilantro-lime aioli, and Sichuan oil.
“Chicken wings are probably my favorite food, and we’ve created a dredge for the chicken wings that uses four different flours, and it’s completely gluten-free,” he said. “It’s pretty delicious. I think if you get the wings, there’s no way you’ll be disappointed by that.”
Although Puritan Trading Company and its sit-down sister are separate restaurants, the food for both projects is made in the same Cambridge kitchen. Gilson said there has been somewhat of a learning curve in the process, as preparing for delivery and preparing for a sit-down are two different experiences.
“Delivery food needs to happen very quickly and swiftly and get from our kitchen into a box into a driver’s hands into your hands in your home. Whereas at the restaurant, we have a bit more time to finesse the guest experience. Those are the two worlds that we’re sort of ping-ponging between,” he said. “At Puritan, we want you to stay and be there for a while and enjoy your meal, and be able to enhance your experience. Whereas in this realm, what we’re trying to do is give you great food at a reasonable price and have it brought to you.”
Puritan Trading Company is exclusively available on Caviar.
“If you go on the app or website, the dishes that they photograph and put on there are what your food looks like,” Gilson said. “I thought that was most important.”
Currently, the delivery-only restaurant operates on Mondays through Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. But Gilson said he’s “open to all options” in the future, from expanded days and hours to increased menu offerings.
“Our biggest thing was to figure out a way to do this that was the least impactful — not in a negative sense — on our guests and our staff at Puritan,” he said. “But our goal is to ramp this up.”
Puritan Trading Company; puritantradingcompany.com