It's round three for Chris Coombs. The baby-faced chef who brought dbar and Deuxave to culinary prominence is already packing in diners at his third restaurant, Boston Chops, which opened mid-March.
Located in the South End in the onetime Penny Savings Bank, which once housed Banq and then Ginger Park, two restaurants that failed despite having most ducks lined up, Boston Chops is Coombs’s “simplest” venture yet: Boston Chops echoes a classic American Steakhouse.
Banq’s gorgeous fanciful wood interior is swapped for sophisticated, austere dark woods, black upholstery and bold 1930s-esque fittings. The sturdy design is echoed in good size portions that sit well on the plate. The frisée salad, for instance, isn’t a mere dribble of leaves swamped in white plate space, it’s a grand mound of well-dressed leaves with mushrooms and a breaded hard-boiled egg.
Those two ingredients turn the cavatelli, a ricotta enriched pasta, into a superbly satisfying pasta entrée loaded with porcini flavor and comfort from a gooey soft-poached egg.
Steaks range from the behemoth 22-ounce bone-in rib eye to a range of eight-ounce “steak frites” choices. Other meats include a hunky beef short-rib balanced by delicately sweet carrots, sour cream mashed potato, and piquant cippolini onions. The “Rarely Celebrated “(or Hannibal Lector) section includes braised tripe, or stomach, heart, tongue, and crispy croquettes stuffed with flakey, densely flavored braised oxtail.
Maybe Boston Chops is pricey, but if you want grass-fed beef and free range veal (and animals that perhaps live short but less tortured lives), well, it costs a bit more. Unarguably, it tastes better and without such quality, a steakhouse is just fancy fast food.
Sweet Somethings: The sticky toffee pudding is a surprisingly light sponge loaded with caramel flavor and finished with a golden raisin ice cream, nicely dosed with rum. A gianduja tart is also less OTT than it sounds: its light crumb base is topped with a bittersweet riff on gianduja – a classic Italian chocolate and hazelnut ganache – and paired with hazelnut praline ice cream.
Boston Chops: Entrees -- $21-$58.
1375 Washington St., Boston