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Oct 9, 2008 09:19 AM

Chops Lobster Bar Review

Last night I had the most deeeee-licious birthday dinner at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Florida. I knew nothing of this place, so dinner was a surprise... A decadent and indulgent, phenomenal, surprise. I wanted to share my experience and encourage everyone to go, if they have a chance.

The restaurant is close to the Mizner park area, in a kind-of upscale shopping area (kinda like a mini Las Olas). There is valet parking, but we easily found parking on the street. The decor is contemporary steakhouse-rich... with dark woods, dark carpeting and creme walls. Very chic and very rich. The bar was well-stocked and there was a pianist and singer in the lounge area- on a Wednesday night. The service staff were clean-cut and well-dressed- most wore tuxes or nice suits. The clientele varied- some in suits and nice dresses, others in fine casual wear. Altogether, the environment was warm and attentive.

The service was impeccable. Truly, other than a previous experience at The Forge, we have never had better service. Our drinks were never empty, the staff was accomodating and if we even looked up from our food or each other, a service person was there. The manager came over halfway through the meal just to check and make sure that our needs were being attended. That kind of service is hard to find.

We had drinks to start... he had a hard-to-find scotch and I had a mojito. My mojito was brilliantly made- not too sweet and not too sour. However, I wonder if I missed out by not ordering the Prickly Pear Margarita, the Blueberry Martini, the Pomegranate Martini or any other number of delicious-sounding cocktails. Bread was served before the meal- an array of fresh white bread, fresh raisin bread, some homemade wafers and some brilliant mini-loaves stuffed with carmelized onions. Yummy!

For apps, the waiter claimed that the jumbo king crab leg ($15) was the best that he had ever tasted. We ordered it... the meat was separated from the shell and it was served with drawn butter and (I think) a remoulade. It was, as promised, phenomenal. We both agreed that it is the best king crab we have had in our lives (and we are not spring chickens!). We also ordered a jumbo shrimp cocktail ($17) that was, again, phenomenal.

For dinner, we both got the surf and turf ($50) because we didn't want to miss either the lobster or the steak. We joked about getting the 44-ounce porterhouse on the menu and we agreed that the fish selection was amazing. They also offered a three-course menu (apps, main, dessert) for $49- which seemed well-worth the price- but it didn't include their "signature" lobster or steak.

Before bringing out the plates, they brought out a drawn-butter set-up... a votive candle in the bottom of a metal frame, with a small metal (tin) pan (shaped like a frying pan) that contained clarified butter. We thought the contraption was brilliant, as it was small (only 2 inches in diameter) and it kept the butter warm throughout the meal.

The meal, itself, was decadent. The steak was good, although I have had more tender cuts at Capital Grill or other steakhouses. The 1/2 pound lobster was to die for. They shell the lobster and then lightly batter it- in a sort-of tempura batter- before flash frying it. It was decadent- no grease, just clean and delicious. They served it with a honey mustard sauce, but it was incredible with the butter. We cleaned our plates. :


For dessert, we had planned on the James Beard award winning White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie, but I recieved a complimentary Chocolate Molten Souffle Cake with the Pistachio Ice Cream. The souffle was decadent and we had no room, at all, anywhere for the pie. We will have to go back.

In retrospect, I think about the meal and wonder whether or not my arteries will be exploding later today... and I cringe at the thought of what I ingested. Yet... as it was going down and directly after we left the table, I would have been content to never have another meal for as long as I lived...

Some folks, who are more interested in novelty with respect to flavor and food, might find this place a bit boring or stuffy. But, if you are looking for a memorable evening of decadence, this is definitely the place to go... I would put it in league with all of my Miami favorites... a true gem. :)

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  1. Glad to hear of a positive experience. I unfortunately have had three unremarkable meals there, which was very disappointing considering the decent job they do at the same restaurant in Atlanta.

    It looked odd to me that they had a "James Beard Award" winning dessert as I was under the impression that JBF awards were given to individuals or restaurants. A quick search on the JBF website returned no results for the restaurant or its banana pie. Are there awards for dishes?

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockysobe

      No clue... I just assumed that if they were going to claim it to be a winner, it must be a winner. And we all know where assumptions get us... LOL

      You know, a good friend of ours (whose taste I trust implicitly) also said that he was not astounded by the lobster... I guess that makes two of you (at least). I wonder what the inconsistency is about?

    2. You have never had that butter warmer presented with shellfish before?

      2 Replies
      1. re: rhnault

        Never. Freakin' marvelous. Everyone should have one. :) LOL

        1. re: QTWO

          You should find a restaurant supply store and buy some. Lots of fun things you can use at home too and way cheaper than a "gourmet" store.

      2. Was it really a 1/2 pound lobster or was that a typo. If so, was it a lobster tail?

        1 Reply
        1. We have been there twice and the first time it was 3 women and we were very underwhelmed, especially with the service. Never came back to ask if we needed anything and I couldn't get their attention to order another drink. Food was "okay". Second time we went with a group and the hostess was embarassed by the quality of the food. Service was wonderful but then, she knows the owners. Glad to hear things are looking up but with all the competition we haven't been back.

        2. In my opinion, and that is what this is.... My opinion!
          I had a great experience at the Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton Florida. I have eaten at great places not only in the US, New York ,San Francisco, back woods of where-ever. But I have also had several great meals in Europe and Asia. Of course I could name several restaurants that may differ from Chops in Boca Raton. But that is the point, if I wanted something cookie cutter I would hop over to the Outback. However, when I eat I want something memorable and great. I want something that makes my mouth water when I read the menu and also when I eat the food. I got that and more at Chops in Boca Raton. And yes I have eaten at the Chops in Atlanta and also several of the Buckhead Life restaurants in Atlanta. I want to keep this short and "sweet" because with the election coming up I find it strange that people over analyze a steak. And write sarcastic remarks about unremarkable meals. Maybe just maybe your life is unremarkable and you shouldn't try to find the missing link in a dinner. But to keep on point my meals at Chops have been great the service is nice. I look at the little things and the big things. I could cut my steak without a knife and I've tried every side because like the person that started this thread of conversation I had to go back. And the dessert well, it’s spectacular. Regarding the award, yes it is true Chefs can win but also dishes have won awards. I've been to several ceremonies and although they can tend to be a little long and somewhat inflated, people still value the James Beard award. I have to end with saying that Chops is not only plush and luxurious but the food is remarkable and decadent. Yes truly decadent.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fuzzybutterflies

            Originally I had asked the question of whether a menu item could win a James Beard award, based on the menu description from the original post.

            So I Googled combinations of "James,Beard,Chops,Lobster Bar,Boca,Atlanta,Banana Cream Pie" and nothing comes up linking JBF to that menu item, at least through the first ten google pages. Also referring to the JBF website, awards are given annually to people and restaurants but not individual recipes.

            To make sure, I called the restaurant and spoke to a manager who told me that, "We received the award in the late 80's, I think in '87, at the Buckhead Diner(Atlanta) , it's a company recipe."

            That seemed odd seeing as how JBF started its award program in 1990.

            Or maybe it seemed remarkable, help me out fuzzy

            1. re: rockysobe

              You piqued my curiosity. I googled White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie and James Beard. I found a recipe included in the book Pies, which proclaims the James Beard Foundation voted it the "Best Dessert in America in 1994". The book credits the award winning recipe to the Buckhead Diner.

              I'm sure that that Scott Joseph could lend more clarification, since he's got JBF connections.


          2. Thanks for the review Winechic. We have been to Chops in Atlanta and we will have to try the one in Boca. The Lobster tail sounds fabulous!