Here are a few things that Newbury Street is: beautiful, touristy, fancy, bricky, and the only place in Boston to get both a 19th-century Dutch clock that finally brings your solarium together, and a new pair of All Birds. Here’s what it generally isn’t: cool. There isn’t a single cocktail bar on the whole street, the art galleries are being replaced by retail stores that have other locations in airports, and most of the restaurants cater to people whose hobbies include opposing zoning changes in Belmont.
That’s why we’re glad Puro Ceviche exists. It’s a lively little small plates place with colorful drinks, a fun patio, and graffiti pop art on the walls. It’s the rare Newbury Street place where you can be a little loud, linger at the table too long, and be welcomed even if you never had a picture of yourself at a charity gala published in The Improper. The only explanation as to why it’s here is that it must have gotten lost on the way to Central Square.
When you come to Puro, you might initially assume that it’s the type of place where the food is beside the point. And for many of the people taking selfies in front of the black-and-white mural of - we’re not exactly sure what it is, a “sexy” police officer smoking a cigarette? - that’s probably the case. But while you can certainly have a good time here even if your primary goal is to order just enough food so that you can legally drink your pisco sour outside, you’d be missing out on a fun Latin tapas menu that doesn’t disappoint.
You’ll probably want to start with the ceviche. They serve at least six different kinds every night, made with things like shrimp, tuna, sea bass, and red snapper. The red snapper is our favorite thanks to a nice kick from some jalapenos, and while it probably won’t be the best ceviche you’ve ever had (check out Celeste in Union Square for that) it’s good enough that they don’t have to change their name.
They have a few large entrees too, but you should skip them in favor of the expansive selection of small plates and tacos. The food here is heavy on aioli, but it’s all flavorful and great for sharing. Come here with a couple of friends or a date who won’t mind seeing your face covered with the cheesy aioli from the corn.
When you’re done, you can go explore the rest of Newbury Street and use it for its intended purpose: playing a game of Which Cashiers Of A European Chain You Can’t Pronounce Will Look At You Like You Don’t Belong Here First. Some people probably think that’s cool, even if we prefer cava cocktails in a restaurant that feels like an underground art gallery.
Sea Bass Ceviche
Jalapenos make almost everything better, as proven once again here.
Red Snapper Ceviche
It’s pretty mild and marinated with onions, chili peppers, and passion fruit. Not a bad starter ceviche if this is your first time at Puro.
If someone circulated a petition to make cheesy street corn the official snack of movie theaters instead of popcorn, we’d sign it. The pen would be covered in aioli and too slippery for the next person to use, but still.
Pulpo a la Plancha
Puro was opened by the same people who run Kava Neo Taverna, one of our favorite Greek restaurants in the city. If you’re thinking that might mean they know a little bit about octopus, you’re right - it’s got a beautiful char to it.
Mejillos con Coco
It’s a big bowl of mussels simmered in a sweet mix of coconut milk and cilantro. If you don’t like mussels because they look like weird beach parasites in the wild, give these a shot and see if they can change your mind.
Costillas de Cerdo
Braised pork ribs topped with guava sauce and red chimichurri. It’s a sweet and saucy dish, and since those are two pretty good adjectives, it’s not surprising that it’s pretty good.
Hamburguesa de Carne
Thanks to salsa, truffle aioli, and avocado, it’s one of those messy burgers that requires a spoon to finish. It’s not bad for a few bites, but skip it and order something that won’t end up on your shirt instead.