steak house

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Boston’s restaurant scene is growing at a pace I can barely keep up with, and while trying out new spots is a favorite pastime, there’s nothing I love more than a classic steak house, especially when it sits right on the water.

Last week, on a gorgeous spring evening, I attended the most incredible blogger dinner at Smith & Wollensky Atlantic Wharf, where we indulged in course-after-course, paired with cocktails, their new international wine flights and great conversation.

Aviation Cocktail

The violet hue of this Aviation cocktail, a blend of Sipsmith Gin, Crème de Violette, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, and lemon juice went perfectly with the spring weather, and I loved the acidity and slight peppery notes of the drink. Smith & Wollensky always pleases when it comes to cocktail cravings, which is just another thing I love about them. They are incredibly consistent with their quality.

 

wine dinner

Smith & Wollensky Atlantic Wharf has a fantastic waterfront location, and while the inside gives you that gorgeous old steak house vibe, with modern twists like a giant photo of a young Paul McCartney (swoon), the patio is breezy and elegant with lovely views of Boston. While it draws crowds, it doesn’t feel crowded like other patios can.

Our table was set with all of the wine glasses, and as we settled in we started to learn about and taste the white wine flight. 

 white wine flight 

  • Bodega Colomé Torrontes – a light, refreshing wine with Muscat notes redolent of jasmine and orange blossoms.
  • Schloss Johannisberg Gelblack Qualitatswein Feinherb Riesling – a single-vineyard German Riesling wine that is firm and fresh on the palate, well-balanced and crisp acidity. The nose is young with white flowers, grinded lemon peel and pears.
  • Louis Latour Montagny 1er cru “la Grande Roche” Chardonnay- this wine reveals delicious floral aromas of honeysuckle.  Full in the mouth with notes of almond, apricot and pepper, the finish is fresh with a hint of mint.

Wine flights are perfect for discovering new favorites, and for a chance to taste grape varieties with a fresh approach. For example, some people think sweet when they hear the word Riesling or super oaky when they think of Chardonnay, two preconceptions thrown out the window with the above wines.

They were all balanced, refreshing, and most importantly delicious and food-friendly, especially with all of the seafood we devoured. Each also offered something very unique in its flavor profile, making tasting, then going back to taste again really fun.

wine tasting

I didn’t think it could get better after the flight of white wines, but this rosé flight was simply heaven. Long a fan of “Whispering Angel” I savored every sip before being introduced to Domaine De Cala rosés, which were simply gorgeous.

  • Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel” – a Provence rosé with a lovely bright pink color and crystal clarity to the berry flavors.  Powerful yet elegant with plenty of minerality and balanced spice notes. The long finish lingers with white pepper and wisps of red peach.
  • Domaine De Cala Classic – blending Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache red varietals with Rolle white grapes, the French wine greets the nose with aromas of white flower followed by those of exotic fruits- lemony, with notes of peach.
  • Domaine De Cala Prestige – a more exclusive, elevated take on its original rosé. The shiny, clear, salmon-pink color with brilliant reflections entices the palate, and the wine exudes initial aromas of grapefruit and citrus and secondary notes of cherry and strawberry.

Flights are $25 and are available at Smith & Wollensky locations in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Houston and Miami Beach through June.

seaood tower

Smith & Wollensky is as known for its seafood as much as it is its beef, and we were treated to the freshest raw bar platter with yummy sauces, along with signature dishes, the Angry Shrimp with spicy lobster butter sauce and their tuna tartare, which is my favorite tuna dish anywhere.

 

angry shrimp 

Give me this tuna and one of the spring wine flights, and you basically have my dream lunch.

In fact, I am taking summer Fridays this year, and I will most likely make this happen.

 tuna tartare ribeye carpaccio

Even before our main courses, we were also treated to Smith & Wollensky’s famed beef in different forms, including a delicate Ribeye Carpaccio and the Spring Steak Feature, Snake River Farms American Wagyu New York Strip, presented on a Himalayan Salt Block.

This meat was like butter, and it picked up the salt and mineral flavors of the salt block. This was the ultimate indulgence.

 

wagyu beef 

And there was still more food to come! My coffee and cocoa rubbed filet could have been cut with a spoon, and the flavors of the rub added a little sweetness and earthiness to the meat’s natural flavor. I could only eat a few bites before wrapping this up and bringing it home. . . it made the most delicious dinner the next night!

 

coffee and cocoa rubbed filet mignon

Entrees were enjoyed with a wine that is made specially for Smith & Wollensky. I couldn’t stop breathing this wine in; it reminded me of a place I love so much. Spice, earth, bursts of berry flavor; this is a big, bold, yet elegant Napa Valley red, a perfect pairing with Smith & Wollensky’s food and personality.

Napa Valley Red Wine

Our final course before we said our goodbyes was a colossal dessert plate that, despite being full, I could not say no to. The Chocolate Layer Cake at Smith & Wollensky is worth visiting for alone, and it could easily feed a group. I didn’t make it to the Coconut Cake, so I will have to bring my appetite and a few friends to enjoy that on another occasion.

 

chocolate layer cake  

Smith & Wollensky generously rolled out the red carpet for us and treated us to the food and hospitality they are known for. It definitely was not my first time here, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Whether you are looking for a flight of wine or a perfectly crafted cocktail after work or a place to celebrate an occasion, this is a very special place to do it.

 

Dinner was kindly provided by Smith & Wollensky; all opinions are my own.

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Tags: Boston, steak house, wine, wine dinner, wine event, wine flights, wine tasting

Even back when I was a vegetarian, I loved going to steakhouses. We spent my husband’s 30th birthday at Morton’s, and I’ve always been a fan of stopping at Smith & Wollensky, Ruth’s Chris, or the like for cocktails and sides. I love leather banquettes, dark wood, strong cocktails, and great service. So when I started working in the South End this past December, I also started counting down the days until Boston Chops’ opening. Every day on my way to the office, I would see workers coming in and out, and I would tweet at Chef/Owner Chris Coombs to check in on the opening. Maybe too often.

We’ve been fans of Coombs since before we moved to Dorchester seven years ago; really his dbar, a favorite to this day, was one of the signs that we should move to Dorchester. He never steered us wrong. dbar continues to be a date night and brunch  favorite; it’s always just so good and such a happy, fun place. Then came Deuxave, another favorite for food and wine perfection. Clearly with such a track record, Coombs’ Boston Chops would be nothing short of amazing.

And it is; even on day two everything was perfect. Dangerously located less than a block from my office on Washington Street in the South End, Boston Chops has it all, from an old school chic yet relaxed vibe to strong cocktails to a real variety of food options all in the old steakhouse style but with some modern twists.

Boston Chops

Boston Chops dining room

We kicked our visit to Boston Chops off at the bar where I ordered an Old Town, consisting of rye, fig, and black walnut. The nuttiness of the black walnut came through in this very strong yet balanced cocktail, the perfect way to end a work day.

Old Town Cocktail

After a short while, we decided to get a table and were each brought popovers in measuring cups. The popovers are divine – light yet rich, airy, warm and buttery.

popover

The menu at Boston Chops offers a real variety of salads, starters, and sides, in addition to steaks and other entrees, and we were definitely in the mood for sampling. We shared a grand seafood platter which easily could have fed us for dinner with its oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, and lobster.

seafood tower

One of the sides that caught my eye instantly was the mac and cheese with pork belly. Sorry, former vegetarian self. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, surrounded by an entrée-sized portion of cheesy macaroni. Leftovers will be enjoyed for lunch.

pork belly mac and cheese

The one entrée we could agree on was the short rib with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The short rib was so tender it could be cut with a spoon, and it was full of flavor and richness. The mashed potatoes were buttery and perfect, and the vegetables on the side provided a nice, fresh element to the meal.

short ribs

The Brussels Sprouts au Canard were our other must-have. I don’t think I can be in a restaurant with Brussels sprouts without ordering them. I think you can probably tell how good these Brussels were just from the photo. Bonus points for all of the Staub cookware.

brussels sprouts

True to form, we debated skipping dessert, but I wanted to at least see the menu, the restaurant being new and all. A hazelnut tart called out to our stuffed bellies, and we somehow finished off this chocolate-y treat but just barely. When you visit Boston Chops, be prepared to walk around for awhile after. It might be one of those stick-to-your-ribs sort of meals. Or you could order some fresh seafood and a salad and stay on the light side; that’s one of the best parts about a restaurant like this.

hazelnut tart

Two other steakhouse favorites are service and wine. Boston Chops’ service was impeccably attentive, professional yet warm. We loved the high-backed booth that closed us off from other diners as well as the space our server gave us to peruse the menu and wine list. The wines by the glass list offered a great selection of grape varieties, regions, and price points while a gorgeous walk-in wine cellar at the front of the restaurant made me dream of our someday wine setup at home.

From the beautiful, classic décor to the expertly crafted menu, to fantastic food and wine, down to every second of service, Boston Chops delighted us and quickly became a new favorite, just as I expected it would.

Boston Chops on Urbanspoon

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Tags: Boston, cocktails, Restaurants, seafood, steak house, wine

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