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The New Del Frisco's

There is a new contender in Boston for Best Steak in town, and a clear cut winner for the best overall steak house.

The experience of Del Frisco's is unmatched in Boston.

We dined with a party of ten on opening night, and the service and food was nearly flawless. One diner chose the lobster, and they did not bring out the drawn butter to accompany it, however it was quickly rectified. Other than that the service was fast, efficient, fun and friendly. They are seeming always there when you need them. Ant there is a lot of them. No trays and tray stands at this restaurant, an entire platoon of staff hand delivered everything at once.

The steaks are unnecessarily served with knives which resemble Excalibur. A butter knife would more than sufficient for thier tender cuts. The bone in rib eye was tremendously flavorful, but in my opinion the 12 oz filet mignon was the star of the show. Juicy and tender, may be the best steak I ever had.

The Chateau potatoes are the best starch side. The potatoes au grotton were only ok. For apps the oysters on the half shell were up to par, the fried oysters excellent, and a few people on the table said the crab cakes were the best they ever had.

Although every chop house in Boston has refined decor, Del Frisco's has an element no other can match. The entire back wall is floor to ceiling windows providing an unobstructed vista of Boston Harbor across to the airport.

It combines a sleek, rich and refined decor with and ocean side location, including an outdoor balcony with table dining.

Joined by Remmy's, Temazcal Mexican Restaurant, and the new flagship Legal Seafood. The entire Liberty Warf complex is the new destination in Boston.

If you have a big event or celebration, Del Frisco's is the place to go.

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Temazcal
250 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

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  1. Oh yay! An overpriced chain steakhouse! There weren't nearly enough of these in Boston!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

      I wouldn't decry the addition of another high-end chain steakhouse. We're not a great steakhouse town, and Grill 23 (the only worthy "local" game in town, IMO), as good as it is, deserves every challenge it gets from the competition, to keep it on its toes.

      Also, some of the best steakhouses in America, IMO, are high-end national chains—the Cut and BLT Steak properties, for instance. Not that I'd put Del Frisco's in that high of an echelon, but I'd argue that having a very good chain (for instance, the Morton's location on the seaport) around helps keep the homegrown steakhouses on their A-game.

      Finally, I have to ask: What are these mythical local steakhouses where you can get prime/aged cuts of beef—cooked expertly—for less than what the so-called overpriced chains are charging. I would argue that they don't exist. Good steakhouses are expensive.

      -----
      Grill 23 & Bar
      161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

    2. Hey,
      I am not a PR flack, I am a sales manager at a tech company.

      Generally, I am not big on steakhouses as I am a pretty good cook and always felt I could cook a steak as well as an overpriced chophouse for a fraction of the cost. Spend the big bucks on the food that would take me more time to cook than I have.

      That being said, I have 20 years on the road on an expense account, and have some perspective on restaurants.

      We were there for a celebration, so we needed a restaurant that would please diverse palates. The room is fabulous and the steak was too. There was energy and motion in the room.. L'espallier may be the best dinner in town, but better suited for an anniversary with your spouse than a group. I stand by my reviews, but of course, if you are a vegan, it is not the place for you.

      1. I've been to almost every Del Frisco's in the country, have dined there for many years, and their food quality, service and decor is consistency is excellent. I like the menu, wine selections, the sides and the bread loaf is a killer.

        7 Replies
        1. re: treb

          Agreed. I posted similar comments about the food and service which were deleted earlier for some reason. I have only been to the NYC, Las Vegas and Dallas locations, however they are all consistent and excellent. Their prime steaks are top quality beef which has always been cooked a perfect MR for me. The service is professional, friendly and enthusiastic. Regardless of industry kvetching about hiring practices, if the end result is excellent outstanding customer service, then they must be doing something right. Anyway, I thought these boards were all about the chow?

          If the food and service from the other locations translates to Boston, DF will be my go to steakhouse in Boston. While this is an over saturated market segment, there are a lot of sub par steakhouses. If DF can raise the bar and possibly thin the herd, more power to them. I am looking forward to trying it out for myself. The space looks fantastic for the waterfront location and views alone.

          No one is claiming that steakhouses are haute cuisine. However they do have their place and obviously appeal to many people (including lots of hounds even though may not be hip to admit it).

          1. re: treb

            Treb, have you been to the Del Frisco's in Orlando? I heard it's not part of the chain (it's connected to the origal Del Frisco's) & wondered if their steaks are better than the Boston location - or any of the other chain locations. Hope to be going to the Orlando one in November & was wondering if it's that much better than what we have here.

            1. re: southie_chick

              That one is not on their website, it may be a franchise. The menu looks the same as other Del's, USDA Prime etc. From what I see, I'd go, it may be a new addition. Here's the website:

              http://delfriscosorlando.com

              1. re: treb

                It's one of two franchises that founder Dale Wamstad sold. The Orlando one was given to Russ Christner who ran a food delivery business in Dallas. This is before Del Frisco's was sold to Lone Star for $23M and thus became a chain. If you notice it's not a Del Frisco's "Double Eagle", It's Del Frisco's "Prime Steak and Lobster". It remains independent of Lone Star Steakhouse.

                The other operator didn't fare as well as Russ. Del Frisco's in Houston, subsequently renamed Kelly's Del Frisco's (sounds like a Ruth's Chris kind of story) had a 10 year naming rights only agreement with Dale and when that lapsed (technically over lapsed by 6 years) she (Kelly Resa) was sued by Lone Star and lost.

              2. re: southie_chick

                My understanding was that the Orlando restauraunt was not prt of the chain...and maintained higher quality.

                Haven't been but curious.

                I know the Palm in NYC dry aged their steak>branch offices do not...at least that was the case.

                Treb, the Orlando branch not on the DF website would indicate that they're NOT part of the franchise, not the opposite.

                1. re: 9lives

                  Treb, the Orlando location has been there for years - have you tried it - or Boston - yet?
                  T. Clark & 9lives, that's pretty much why I was asking about Orlando. From my understanding, the Orlando branch is the only "independent" Del Frisco's, besides the original. They uphold the "original" standards, & is family run, & are supposed to be superior to the rest of the "chain" Del Frisco's.

                  I try going every November when I'm down in Florida but get outvoted by my in-laws who like to go to ....... P.F. Changs. What makes matters worse, we drive by Del Frisco's as we head to P.F. Changs in Winter Park, with me staring longingly out the window as we drive by.

                  The thing that makes it worthwhile is the smiles on my in-laws faces at P.F Changs - they LOVE that place so if they're happy, I'm happy. And, the Dan Dan noodles are pretty good there too.

                  1. re: southie_chick

                    I believe, in my travelling days though a blur now, I did go. If threre was a DF's in the area I was there. My picture is on the wall at the Denver location. Maybe after keeping peace with the in-laws, you can sneak over to DF's. I plan on hitting BOS real soon.

            2. Haven't tried it yet, so can not comment on the food. As a resident of Boston, however, I am appalled that our city planners can not come up with more imaginitive uses for such prime waterfront property. Another steakhouse??? (Not discounting how good it may be) right across from Morton's??? Another Legal's??? An ugly brown building called The Whiskey Priest??? Why can't we take a page from San Fransisco or Seattle and develop our beautiful waterfront into something that is in keeping with our history, our connection to seafood and provide something unique and distinquished.
              Just my two cents.

              4 Replies
              1. re: snowcone

                City planners... I haven't found many places where money doesn't play a significant part in the process. Glad for DF, they made the deal, now maybe they'll their neighbors some good competition..

                1. re: snowcone

                  Legal/DF/Temazcal/Remy's > a courthouse. At least they're moving in the right direction.

                  1. re: Beachowolfe

                    Contemporay art museum, working fish pier, 1 of the largest working drydocks in the country high end clothing, Barbara Lynch's top restaurant and dozens of new biz, hotel rooms and housing, marina and many boating events, public boat rentals and harbor tours

                    Maybe SC preferred it in the when there was Anthony's, Jimmy's, Daily Catch, a Chinese place and 1 block of mostly marine supply shops....and acres of open land with a few wholesale fish markets that you couldn't get into.

                    I think I prefer the newer version.

                    -----
                    Daily Catch
                    323 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

                  2. re: snowcone

                    Here, here, Snowcone! Excellent point.

                  3. It's a lovely notion, getting something on the Waterfront that is not underwritten by some very deep pockets, and therefore is not doomed to addressing a very broad audience with unchallenging food. It's a pipe dream, of course.

                    I am just bored by the format, and wondering what any of the Liberty Wharf restaurants could possibly do to make them exciting and noteworthy, when by definition they are tilted at a mass audience that generally doesn't want to be surprised.

                    Is there a way to elevate the luxury steakhouse category above its current level in Boston? I'd like to think so. I haven't been to the Puck place or BLTs that Jolyon cites, but I wonder what makes them extraordinary. I'd love to see someone try: the current crop seems pretty samey to me -- in most cases, only the wrapper seems to change.

                    Might new competition elevate the game of existing steakhouses? Maybe from a service perspective, but it's hard to imagine the food changing much. I think it's likelier that Del Frisco's will suck just enough oxygen out of a zero-sum fancy-steakhouse market to kill off one of the lingering runts of the litter, say, Smith & Wollensky. I wouldn't shed a tear over that, but the prospect of a slightly different lineup of 13 high-end steakhouses -- most of which are flogging the same commodity-producer beef and very similar a la carte menus-- hardly thrills me, either.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    -----
                    Smith & Wollensky
                    101 Arlington St, Boston, MA 02116

                    51 Replies
                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      The so called "highest end" steak houses will offer Japanese Waygu beef, dry age for 45 days +, or have more extensive wine lists.

                      In a blind taste, I doubt I could tell the difference between a steak from the Palm, Mortons, Del Frisco, etc. All are going to be good, but not overly exciting.

                      Steak houses are great for entertaining groups of businessman/women...when you don't know people's taste for adventurous eating...and if you're out for a biz dinner, anyone who makes a big deal about choosing a restaurant runs the real risk of facing the question "Are you here to eat or to discuss business?..Not put so bluntly but I know..:)"I had the nickname "Gourmet Dave" for my elaborate lunches brought to my desk. It wasn't a compliment..:) The thinking sort of was, if you care so much about your next meal, you probably don't care about making $ for the company.

                      1. re: 9lives

                        I am well familiar with this particular hell! It's how I got to be bored by the format in the first place. I just grit my teeth when a client from somewhere else in the US opts for one of several steakhouses with an outlet in their home city. At least it's never on my own dime.

                        I don't think my food nerdiness is seen as a professional liability, but having a reputation for it does mean I get cornered for ten minutes every other day at work for suggestions for this dinner, that lunch, etc. Once upon a time, these conversations were long but went nowhere; I'd end up making recommendations that clearly confused and frightened my colleagues. If your favorite place is The Cheesecake Factory, you're probably not going to love a lot of my top-of-mind suggestions. Now I always start with a few qualifying questions up front: it saves everybody a lot of time.

                        It just now occurs to me: I need to come up with the restaurant equivalent of the eyeglass-fitting test: "Which is clearer: this, or this?" My version could be something like: "Which do you like better: P.F. Chang's, or Dumpling Cafe? Okay, Mary Chung, or Dumpling Cafe?" And so on. If I got sophisticated with it, I could narrow down to a cuisine, and then go vertical to hit a price target: "Okay, Mooo...., or Sizzler? Okay, Mooo...., or Frank's?"

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: 9lives

                          "The so called "highest end" steak houses will offer Japanese Waygu beef, dry age for 45 days +, or have more extensive wine lists."

                          This is what I mean, basically. And I should have added Craftsteak. Plus a staff that can navigate the better wine list and why you might try the 45-day-aged cornfed ribeye versus the 56-day-aged grass-fed strip without resorting to memorized blurbs. Or when you see an ambitious non-steakhouse-sounding app and you don't assume it will be executed like the Boston Smith & Wollensky would: i.e., top-tier, trendy ingredients in a tone-deaf mashup.

                          That's what I think makes them extraordinary. I *want* to watch the kitchen jump the hurdles, rather than ordering like I'm in a diner playing it safe with the BLT (the sandwich).

                          1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                            To support your your point, take a look at the menu of Cut..http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restauran... The apps, beef from 7 different farms. Would you prefer your steak from NZ, Austalia, Snake RiverFarm in Idaho, some little farmer in st of WA? 28-38 days, I've seen 50 days+ of dry aging on menus at the top tier.? I really don't know how the customer decides

                            The menus at Palm, Mortons, S&W are virtually interchangeable.

                          2. re: 9lives

                            I doubt you could as well. That's because the steaks from Morton's, the Palm, Del Frisco, Abe & Louie's, Fleming's, et al are all wet-aged prime commodity beef from the same cattle pool. And they all cook them the same way. S&W might seem a bit different - same beef, but they dry-age.

                            -----
                            Abe & Louie's
                            793 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

                            1. re: almansa

                              The original Palm/NY used to also dry age..may still do..

                              I used to eat in steak houses more but my tastes have changed from NY strip (was fave) or porterhouse..PL.

                              I've changed most of my beef consumption to bavette, which I learned about from you, hanger, skirt. Lesser cuts but more flavorful.

                              Just a change in my eating habits...and the basic mid/upper steakhouse normally offers strip, ribeye, or PH, or heaven forbid, the tasteless filet..as the ultimate steak..:)

                          3. re: MC Slim JB

                            One factor that would compel people to go will be the view. Remember, that was Anthony's draw back in the 70's.

                            1. re: treb

                              Draw, back or drawback? i remember the harbor in the 70's, it was vile.

                              1. re: hyde

                                Not talking about the aroma just the view of the skyline and airport across the harbor. Agree, wouldn't think of the harbor quality, in the 70's, as a draw!

                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                              As for runts of the litter, I'm betting we see Fleming's die before S&W, which at least has the castle thing going for it...Fleming's has literally ZERO going for it as an alternative to its nearby competitors...

                              1. re: tamerlanenj

                                I haven't popped my head into either for a while, but I think historically, business at the Park Plaza Fleming's has been much brisker and steadier than at the nearby S&W.

                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                Smith & Wollensky is taking a large space in the new building at Atlantic & Congress, so they're going to at least put up a fight.

                                -----
                                Smith & Wollensky
                                101 Arlington St, Boston, MA 02116

                                1. re: Ruprecht

                                  I assume that means the Castle location is going to be shuttered, yes?

                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    I read somewhere that the original is remaining open, but have no particular info (the reason I came across it is that that my office is also moving into that building)

                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                        atleast s&w has wollenskys grill too...like that there is a more casual option for burgers, etc.

                                        1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                          Are they doing the Wollensky's Grill format on the Waterfront, or will it be another iteration of the more formal S&W steakhouse? The former would make a tad more sense.

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                            s& w grill concept on russia wharf. castle location will remain open as well. they have a lease that saunders is unlikely to let go unless out of his cold dead hands.

                                            i had drinks at del frisco's last night and the bartender couldn't tell me if the steaks were dry- or wet-aged. that 3-week training really took hold, eh? (i know they are wet-aged, how could he not?)

                                            there were 6 bartenders behind a 30-seat bar, and even so, one of my companions was very long with an empty glass. typical opening overstaffing and i could easily pick out which ones won't last the month.

                                            the menu is same-same-same, although the space is breathtaking, and the patio, when not wind-challenged, will be a nice spot in summer.

                                            while none of these new places are boundaries breaking, the more commerce there is on the waterfront, the better it will be for everybody, and the city too. now if only the anthony's heirs would let go that parcel, lol.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              If the Anthony's Pier 4 kids keep forgetting to pay their tax bill, the IRS may liberate that parcel for them.

                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                              -----
                                              Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurant
                                              140 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                Anthony's kids could forget and pay taxes in perpetuity. LOADED! Selling one of their "other" properties would pay taxes on Pier 4 for 10 years.

                                              2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                I think they have some sort of movable plexi wind screening system for the patio which they will attempt to use to cut down on the wind while maintaining the view.

                                                1. re: Gabatta

                                                  I'm reading some bashing on corporate steakhouses and I have a very different perspective (as a corporate steakhouse vendor).

                                                  I can only attest for Morton's steakhouse purchasing of seafood as I'm very involved in the shellfish side. They go far and away to source the best seafood they can find.

                                                  The head of purchasing treats each project like it's a child. I'm sure if they put that much attention to the seafood that the meat (from Allen Brothers) is not far behind.

                                                  I was once in Chicago meeting with the head of purchasing and there was a crisis with tomatoes. Something happened with a freeze or frost on the tomatoes in some region of the country and there was a major crisis while we sat there.

                                                  Back on topic, I can't wait to try Del Friscos.

                                                  1. re: typhoonfish

                                                    That may well be true, and if so, that's fabulous. Morton's still bores the piss out of me, and I think the Back Bay restaurant is a depressing basement space.

                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Every Morton's location with the exception of Boston Seaport are in a basement or lower level with no front windows. The first location was in a basement and it worked so they've never changed the format.

                                                      1. re: typhoonfish

                                                        Yeah, knew that, still hate the room. The Newbury Street Capital Grill is another one that sucks, with that cramped low ceiling. I also loathe the D-list celeb caricatures on the walls of The Palm.

                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          Newbury Street Capital Grill (owned by Red Lobster) we agree on. The worst.

                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            capital grill is relocating to the hynes auditorium site by august.

                                                          2. re: typhoonfish

                                                            Stubborn? Stupid?

                                                            The food at Mortons is fine, but the space is so off-putting that we go elsewhere

                                                            CG is terrible, we all agree. Plus they can't cook properly!

                                                            1. re: typhoonfish

                                                              Morton's DC is on the second floor with windows and a patio that overlooks Connecticut Ave

                                                          3. re: typhoonfish

                                                            Typhoon, as a seafood vendor and enjoy your posts,,please take my post as nothing personal.) and I hope you feel the same. You're a seafood guy. You can't be too thin skinned..:)

                                                            Afaik, the Palm alway paid the same attention to quality.

                                                            IMO, NY had the Palm and PL, Chigotown had Morton's and Gene and Georgetti. Del Frisco of Dallas came later..and Cap Grille came later, out of Providence.

                                                            Some built bigger chains.......some didn't,,but a high quality overall has been a charareistic consistency.

                                                            Skip the tomatoes at PL...but..:)

                                                            A higher bar s been set, Cut, etc" but I haven't tried it. I still like the old school steakhouse; ready to order, no menu..:) Not every day but from time to time.

                                                            The world has changed....a great steakhouse can't survive with a shrimp cocktail and a great steak

                                                            You' may read this is in2 or o 3r hours when you get up///Cheers!

                                                            1. re: 9lives

                                                              I get called names you can't even imagine. :D 4:45 am in to work this morning.

                                                              I have been to Cut in Vegas and yes it's a higher level. It's almost a pilgrimage now for steak lovers.

                                                              Still excited to try something new in Boston. (Del Friscos)

                                                              1. re: typhoonfish

                                                                I agree, looking for something new in Boston that has the potential to be at the top of the steak house heap. However I DF isn't really the same type of place as a Cut, so I don't even make that comparison. Also, there is no proxy for a PL dinner, however it sure is nice to be able to use a credit card and write the meal off to business. Those cash PL dinners can hurt.

                                                                I think the location of the Cut in Vegas is terrible in the concourse space between The Palazzo and Venetian. There really isn't great life in that space, particularly for a meal which costs $$ in Vegas.

                                                                The Cut in LA however is definitely worth a visit. Do dinner at Cut one night and then hop across the street for a mind blowing experience at Urasawa the next. As a fish man that is something you might enjoy very very much.

                                                                1. re: Gabatta

                                                                  ko prime had the potential to be something more cutting edge, but has succumbed to being a hotel restaurant. one that ironically only serves choice meat, and many of the dishes (like the short ribs that mcslim wrote up recently) are recycled clio items.

                                                                  there is a fairly large segment of the dining public which loves high-end steakhouses and having worked for 2 of them, i can attest to the fanaticism over product quality. the companies are keenly aware that dinner at their tables is an obscenely pricey evening, for what's basically meat and potatoes. whether each unit can execute to corporate standards is another matter entirely.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    I thought KO Prime was much more interesting when Jamie Bissonnette was there. Most of the great offal dishes he introduced are gone; they have a few offal dishes one night a week now, I think.

                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                    -----
                                                                    KO Prime
                                                                    90 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                      Plus it was one of the few places to get true Japanese wagyu cooked by someone who knew what they were doing. No longer.

                                                                      I still like the bar there (KO Prime).

                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                        i have only been a few times, but wondered how well they could be doing when i saw a chalkboard on the sidewalk all last summer for "all you can eat prime rib." gross.

                                                                        my understanding is that it was actually oklahoma "wagyu". sorry.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          At the beginning, I was pretty sure they were getting Japanese A5, but I could be mistaken. It was really, really, good, tho.

                                                                          1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                                                                            the real stuff wholesales over $200 per pound and only a very limited number of animals are slaughtered each year. it's most often from australia, new zealand or oklahoma/texas.

                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                              O Ya serves genuine Japanese Wagyu.

                                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                              -----
                                                                              O Ya
                                                                              9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                I can get the real stuff for about $65 per pound, snout-printed birth certificate and documented heritage included. The final yield is around $10 per ounce, but you can render the fat and it's delicious in itself. That's for tenders, ribeyes and strips. There are cheaper cuts like sirloin caps. It's true that most of the wagyu consumed in Japan comes from Australia. Domestic wagyu took off here when Japan banned US beef in 2003. Prior to that US wagyu producers sold primarily to Japan as well.

                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                  Yes, I'm actually fairly well versed in the subject. I thought that, for a while, the only places in town serving genuine Japanese wagyu were O Ya, KO Prime, and the Met Club out in Chestnut Hill. Again, I could be mistaken, but it's not from not-understanding the differences.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  O Ya
                                                                                  9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                                                                                  KO Prime
                                                                                  90 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

                                                                                  1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                                                                                    I know you knew. Mooo.... was, too; they may still be. They portioned the steaks, froze them and used the fat from butchering to flavor their meatballs.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Mooo
                                                                                    15 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108

                                                                                    1. re: almansa

                                                                                      Mooo.... used to serve Japanese Wagyu, if memory serves, but now they only have a $36 steak from some Texas hybrid.

                                                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Mooo
                                                                                      15 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108

                                                                                      1. re: almansa

                                                                                        Oops, that wasn't to you, almansa. Funny, now that we're used to the organization of Facebook and Twitter, the Chowhound chat-board format seems so imprecise!

                                                                                        Also, regardless, I didn't mean to sound so snotty—I'm just such a geek that once Tim Cushman brought out the noseprint certificate so that I could admire its loveliness. :)

                                                                                2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                  See, me, I saw "all you can eat prime rib" and thought YUM! But then I realized I can only ever eat one slab at my fave guilty pleasure, the Mt Vernon, so the real AYCE thing would be lost on me.

                                                                                  They still feature it on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. $35. And a free ride to Mass General. ;-)

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Mt Vernon Restaurant
                                                                                  14 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

                                                                            2. re: Gabatta

                                                                              I really liked the Cut—Las Vegas dining room. Funny!

                                                                  2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                    Got confirmation that it will be a Wollensky's Grill...

                                                                    1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                                                      The multiple signs outside say "Smith and Wollensky", no mention of "Grill".

                                                                      1. re: Alcachofa

                                                                        The word from developers is that it will be a Grill. Of course nothing is definite till it opens but it seems like it would certainly make the post sense given the after work crowd that will be there.

                                                                        1. re: Alcachofa

                                                                          i know people who work for the company, including the person now hired to be beverage director for both locations. the new spot will be the more casual grill concept.

                                                        2. Well, as expected with such a large restaurant that bypassed any sort of soft opening, the Boston SF has LOTS of work to do to get up to speed if they want to deliver service and food on par with the NYC location. There was some staff from NYC and the DFW (or so they claimed) working the floor, so I suppose that is a good thing. However there is a lot of green staff not at all ready handle for the rush of a full dining room.

                                                          I liked how they worked the tabs at the bar. One could order from any of the bartenders or a waitress all on the same tab, without getting an attitude (in fact they encouraged it). They did a good job of keeping the drinks coming and the tab straight. I didn’t ask about transferring the check over to the dining room, but there were very quick to settle the check when our table was ready (right on time).

                                                          The room is very nice, if a bit loud (but not nearly as loud as in the pit at G23). The floor is tiered down from back to front (by the windows) so everyone has a decent water view. There were plenty of booths available and there didn’t seem to be too many bad tables in the house. The hostess, who was very nice, took us on 1.5 laps of the entire dining room before locating our table. She apologized several times and asked me not to say anything to the manager. I thought she was kidding, but her face told me otherwise. I think they are grinding the staff hard without a lot of training and it’s not working. The outdoor patio looks like it will be fantastic in the warm weather. These could be the best waterfront tables in Boston is DF gets its act together, though friends who dined on DF’s patio commented that they could hear the games blaring in the Jerry Remy’s space below.

                                                          The waiter was a complete joke. Saying the service was JV would be too kind. This would have held true no matter where he was working, but it killed me to think of the tip he would be getting. There seemed to be a lot of canned pitch they were required to deliver regarding specials, upsells, etc. While this speaks more to how the restaurant is being ran than our particular waiter, he had the knack of interrupting conversation. He just charged into the table every time and seemed surprised when he didn’t get immediate rapt attention from everyone. At least he only dumped a full glass of water in one persons lap.

                                                          My biggest disappointment is that my porterhouse was WAY over seasoned, and this is coming from someone who has a very heavy hand with the black pepper and salt on my own grill. The salt overpowered the taste of the meat and ruined my palate for the evening. I left half the steak on the plate, which I typically never do when beef is in front of me. The steak was at least cooked a perfect medium rare. However, one of my DCs ordered his steak medium and it came out bloody. The shellfish tower (ordered the lg version supposedly for 4) consisted of 4 oysters (good), 4 shrimp (good, not huge), 4 stone crab claws (watery and cracked improperly) and 4 king crab legs (meaty and delicious). Overall not a lot of shellfish for the price. The skillet potatoes and onions (ordered well done) were excellent, as was the creamed spinach. I didn’t think the chateau potatoes were anything special.

                                                          The wine list has an impressive selection, heavy on domestic cabs and blends as one would expect. Markups were typically high for a steakhouse relying on a captive business audience whose clients expect wine. However the drive to pour the wine and upsell additional bottles (both from the waited and Sommelier) were above and beyond. We ordered several bottles to start and asked for them to be decanted. The waiter brought one and started pouring it immediately. I reminded him we wanted it decanted and he scurried away. The sommelier came over and let us know that that particular bottle was fine to drink without decanting as it didn’t have a lot of sediment. My DCs seemed thirsty and seemed not to care, so we let him pour the wine. After that one of them came by the table every few minutes to dump more wine in the glasses filling them almost to the brim and asking if they should get another bottle. We eventually moved the bottle away from the service corridor and told them we would pour for ourselves and let him know when we needed additional bottles. This instruction had to be repeated to the sommelier a minute later.

                                                          At lease 5 different people kept stopping by to ask how everything was. It got a bit annoying and we did let the GM know. I appreciate they were going for more rather than less, but it was just not well coordinated. They sent over some sub par port on the house as a thank you/apology at the end of the meal.

                                                          I am sorry to say that at this point there are several better options for a good steakhouse meal in Boston at this point. Even accounting for the recent opening, DF has a LONG way to go and doesn’t come close to measuring up to the other locations.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                            thank you, excellent review. i will not be attending.

                                                            1. re: Gabatta

                                                              Thanks for the thorough review.

                                                              That decanter nonsense is one of my pet peeves, As though sediment is the only reason you want a wine decanted—or that a sommelier should countermand a request to do so. If I want a premier cru shaken with ice, I'd like to hear, "How many cubes, sir?" You can ridicule me over at the ice machine.

                                                              I'm still interested in trying it out, though maybe I'll wait until the patio is open!

                                                              1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                                                                Yeah, the wine program is a bad joke (other than selection of certain varieties). It's not like we were drinking the cheapest or youngest bottle available (not even close actually). Some of those cabs are better when they can open up for a bit. Once they saw the high price point they tried to sell as many bottles as possible and decanting would have slowed this down...bottom line. I was disappointed that the aggressiveness was on par with a place like Umbria Prime. I guess we are lucky they didn't serve the wrong vintage or overcharge for the wine.

                                                                The patio was closed the night our party was there, however friends ate out there another night. If you hit a warm night it should be open. There were also heat lamps between each table.

                                                                1. re: Gabatta

                                                                  I don't believe I've ever eaten a steak outdoors.. interesting.

                                                              2. re: Gabatta

                                                                The first time some dope pours more than 4 ounces or so of a still wine in my glass, I commandeer the bottle, and I might remark, "Who taught you how to pour wine?" That's an unconscionable wine service error in a high-end restaurant, and beyond looking incompetent, it smells like a clip-joint tactic, sleazy.

                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                              3. So as a fan of steak houses in general, my wife, I and a dining companion hit up Del Frisco's last evening. I would characterize the experience, as good, bad, indifferent, and ultimately OK. First, drinks, oysters, and apps were served quickly in the extremely busy, large and LOUD room. I have a voice that can cut through most din, and the waitress haad a hard time hearing me. After our apps were cleared, the waitress dropped of the swords they call knives and we waited. And waited, And waited some more. About 35 minutes after we got our knives, our DC went out to take a phone call and have a smoke, He came back to no food. Finally at the 50 minute mark since we finished the apps, I corralled a waiter (hadn't seen our waitress sinnce she dropped the knives off) and asked him to look into where our food was, and to get a manager for us. The steaks arrived minutes after I asked the waiter, and the manager followed soon. He asked what the issue was, and I explained the long wait between courses, and that we hadn't seen our waitress in 40 minutes. My wife was out of wine -we'd ordered a bottle, I was saving my last glass for dinner (I was driving and didn't want more), and our DC had finished his beer. All water glasses were empty. The manager apologized, comped us a beer and a glass of wine for the wife, and we started in on dinner.

                                                                The steaks were very good, the asparagus very good, the onion rings, OK, better than the dessicants they serve at Smith & Wollensky, but not my favorite style. After the plates were cleared, the manager came over to me and told us (though neither my wife or DC heard him) that he was comping the entire bill since it had been so long, and since he wanted us to return and not judge the restaurant on that night's preformance. I told him that wasn't necessary, and that I hadn't complained to get a free meal, but to just get our food, and let them know what had happened. He insisted, and even asked if we'd like dessert wine, port, or some desserts boxed up to go. We declined, thanked him for the meal, and left the waitress a $55 tip (though she didn't entirely deserve it - since she disappeared for 40 minutes, but I didn't want her to get no tip). As my DC said as we left the restaurant lighting his smoke, "Well we worked for it, but it ended up OK in the end."

                                                                I would consider going again, but wouldn't have had the meal not been comped. I feel if the restauant goes to that extent to get me to come back, I owe them another chance. We figured the bill at about $325 before tip. Normally my tip would have been larger, but I was trying to add stuff in my head to figure a tip, and forgot about the cocktails (probably since it seemed like we drank them on a different night!).

                                                                1. Have you heard about this gimmick at Del Frisco's?

                                                                  When you order side dishes, they are served by a brigade of attractive, provocatively dressed female servers dedicated to that function. This is a genius way to push high-margin sides; they're not making a lot of profit on the beef, but $8 baked potatoes and $11 creamed spinach sure are balance-sheet fluffers.

                                                                  You know this will wow the boys-club business entertaining crowd. It also makes the place about as tacky as Hooter's.

                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                  29 Replies
                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                      Perhaps I am confused but if you order side dishes from your waiter or waitress, how is having those sides dishes served by scantily clad, attractive female servers going to make a difference in how many sides you order? Hasn't the decision of which sides to order been made long before any eye candy comes over to serve them? Is the theory that you will order even more sides when the eye candy brings them out?

                                                                      1. re: Gordough

                                                                        That's only a problem on the first visit.

                                                                        1. re: Gordough

                                                                          Businessmen who use the same restaurant often to entertain, other regulars, word of mouth, seeing them deliver to other tables, the inevitable professional reviews, Chowhound.

                                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                          This has not happened either time I've been in the past month. (And on one occasion we ordered just about every item and side on the menu, so there was plenty of opportunity! :)

                                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                            We were commenting on how the black mini skirted servers were obviously all hired purely on their waitresssing skills. I said to my wife and DC as we were leaving that it was exactly like a high end Hooters, with more expensive food, and fancier dressed eye candy for men.

                                                                            1. re: kimfair1

                                                                              Have I ever mentioned my GREAT idea for a companion restaurant to Hooters...for the ladies...
                                                                              Continuing the ornithological theme, but switch out the owl for a woodpecker....

                                                                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                Would it serve "Weiners" (sic)?

                                                                                Sorry, couldn't resist.

                                                                              2. re: kimfair1

                                                                                the tacky of having the females dressed like that, in a fine dining restaurant, floored me my first time in. steakhouses bring in businessmen, and expense accounts, no matter what. the male staff is all in vests and uniforms and the females are dressed like bimboes in fishnets and miniskirts. gross.

                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                  Didn't even notice. Been there a few times. Service was quite good. Not sure what the women were wearing, but they were all friendly and provided excellent service.

                                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                        Expensive and fine dining are not always synonymous.

                                                                                      2. re: Gabatta

                                                                                        Regardless of the tacky trappings, I think Del Frisco's has to qualify as fine dining. It's a function of the formality/training level of the service, style of the menu (multiple set courses), quality of accoutrements (crockery, tableware, glassware, linens, etc.), wine list quality, ambiance, and so forth. The next step down in the taxonomy would be casual dining, which it certainly is not.

                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                          Semantics I suppose, but there isn't a steakhouse in Boston I would consider fine dining (G23 and Oak Room come closest). I suppose you could say I view steakhouses as their own phylum, and one which isn't very refined despite the prices. I am neither surprised nor particularly offended by the outfits at DF.

                                                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                            I'd suggest there's more of an industry-recognized taxonomy at work here. There are always exceptions and category straddlers, but I think luxury steakhouses clearly belong in fine dining.

                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                              I must not be an industry insider then.

                                                                                            2. re: Gabatta

                                                                                              I think you're answering your own question, sort of, they're Steak/Chophouses with a focused menu. I consider fine dining to have ambience, service excellence, and preparations with a diverse superior menu selection

                                                                                              1. re: treb

                                                                                                I think that the clientele (unfortunately) help to identify, or at least redefine, the genre. In 1999, when folks actually wore sport coats and ties to dinner, a steakhouse qualified as fine dining. But when I'm surrounded by meat heads who dress like they're on the way to a MMA fight, it's hard to accept that I'm in a fine dining environment, even amid all the Riedel crystal.

                                                                                                1. re: almansa

                                                                                                  Yah, it's hard to understand how picnic attire is the baseline for 'dining' out, not 'eating' out which is a whole other topic. I think part of that delima is, with this economy, restaurant owners can't allow any customer to escape them.

                                                                                                  1. re: treb

                                                                                                    Reminds me of the Bob and Doug MacKenzie commercial a few years back, for Pizza Hut I believe.

                                                                                                    "Hey, you take in, take out, eat in or........take in or take out."

                                                                                                    It got pulled almost immediately...

                                                                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                      I remember that...especially this line: " I like to call in for a take out, then eat it there....that way it's a surprise"

                                                                                                  2. re: almansa

                                                                                                    There isn't a single restaurant in town that requires a jacket anymore: does that mean we have no fine dining?

                                                                                                    Since L'Espalier moved to the Mandarin Oriental (which made the restaurant drop its dress code), I've seen idiots wearing head-to-toe Ed Hardy (including the trucker hats, in the dining room), hoodies and sweatpants, ripped jeans and t-shirts. I think it's pretty clear that L'Espalier is still fine dining.

                                                                                                    Americans have become absurdly lazy dressers with no sense of occasion. I stand by my earlier set of attributes of what defines fine dining, and it doesn't include what the customers are wearing. These days, it can't.

                                                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    L'Espalier
                                                                                                    774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                      Better than a suit coat and tie. I don't see a need for that anywhere, especially a restaurant. Whoever invented the suit should be dug up and re-killed.

                                                                                                      1. re: Guinness02122

                                                                                                        Agreed. One nation, in sweat pants, with expandable waistbands for all. It's our God-given right to wear the same thing everywhere, regardless of the venue or occasion.

                                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                          Wait, what? Sarcasm, MCSJB?
                                                                                                          Can't we all just get along. How about nice pants and a button down shirt for the boys, and a nice outfit for the girls? Will that keep you both comfortable and happy?

                                                                                                          1. re: justbeingpolite

                                                                                                            Not me. I've ranted on this topic at length elsewhere. Too bad it's a fallen world.

                                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                            Glad you came around. So far, I have only heard of one place you can wear your pajamas, and that's a place in the South End for brunch. People don't realize just how much better food tastes when your comfortable.

                                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                              david sedaris, who now lives in france, became quickly aghast at how american tourists dressed while visiting paris and such. "i am all for comfort, but please don't visit other countries like you are dressed to mow the lawn." that's from quite few years ago and the lack of dressing for occasions has only gotten worse.

                                                                                                              even locke-ober has abandoned the dress code.

                                                                                                              my b/f lives in shorts and sandals all summer yet would never consider going to anyplace that charges this much for dinner dressed his usual way, regardless of how other people may choose to dress., or that it's "just a steak."

                                                                                                              if we'd like to put high-end steak houses in their own special little group, apart from the clio's and l'espalier's, well, fine then. most in this city use silver flatware, reidel crystal stemware and heavy linens on the table. there are captains and sommeliers on-hand as well as several tiers of service staff for each table, including your primary server. that the dishes lack creativity does not detract from the excellence of the raw product.

                                                                                                              my few forays into del frisco's have allowed the anecdotal observation that on weeknights they do seem to be getting more than their share of the ed hardy crowd, vs/ say, the fidelity and hancock suits at morton's right across the street.

                                                                                        2. When I read threads like this about these ridiculous lux steakhouses, I'm reminded of how damn good the flat iron steak frites at Vlora is for like $20. I hope that's still on the menu there, anyway.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Vlora
                                                                                          545 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                                            Haven't been back to Vlora in ages, though I notice they have much better street-level signage these days. I do appreciate the fact that Grill 23 still offers a $29 prime skirt steak frites, an excellent deal.

                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Vlora
                                                                                            545 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                            Grill 23 & Bar
                                                                                            161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                          2. I went last week with the wife...definitely, a guy's night out place...it's a scene with the female waitstaff dressed like they are in Vegas...steaks OK, sides weak, drinks very good, NY prices...very loud room...after the novelty wears off, will be just another chain, steakhouse.

                                                                                            Going back to Grill 23, my mainstay for 20 years...Jason and staff are still the ones to knock off in Boston!

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Grill 23 & Bar
                                                                                            161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: hydraaa

                                                                                              steak is pretty easy to make at home, and as has been noted several times, you can dry age steak yourself in the refrigerator. But, i understand, chacune son gout.

                                                                                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                                                I would have to say steak houses are not fine dining. In the end you are getting meat, seared on the outside with lavish piles of carbs on the side.

                                                                                                The culinary expertise and creativity required from a steak house is nearly nil, beyond the ability to accurately judge the meat's cooked level.

                                                                                                Can it be an expensive and somewhat refined experience, yes. I would not call it fine dining however. Steak houses have their own classification.

                                                                                                Del's still has the best room I have been in, in Boston. Although I hear the new fine dining room next door at Legal's is spectacular.

                                                                                                1. re: munchandcrunch

                                                                                                  It is a nice room, with a great view, but the oppressive noise of the room offsets any pleasure I may have gotten from the view.

                                                                                                  1. re: munchandcrunch

                                                                                                    I'd disagree. There are plenty of flip flop casual restaurants with very talented chefs. It's hard to call that fine dining. I think the accouterments help to define the concept. Garden at the Cellar has very nice cuisine (or did), but the cheap plates and glassware make it a gastropub. The Bernardaud china at BLT Prime Steakhouse, on the other hand, say fine dining. I'd say that some steakhouses fall under the fine dining category, while others don't, and to my earlier point, the customers do help to define them, regardless of the restaurants' intent. The feel I get from many Boston steakhouses lately is suburban pretend mafioso, but when I go to Porterhouse in Manhattan, I get a much different feel.

                                                                                              2. I've been there twice now, once for lunch and once for dinner. At lunch, I simply had the tuna. Great piece of tuna, rare, and nicely seasoned. That being said, $26 for a tuna and no sides at lunch is a little steep (especially where you can go next door and get a similarly good hunk of tuna with a choice of two sides for a few bucks cheaper at Legal Harborside).
                                                                                                For dinner, the apps, entrees, and desserts were overall very good. The sides were nothing overly impressive, but I did thoroughly enjoy the calamari with sweet chili and the steak tartare apps. For my entree, I had a very nice filet mignon trio special (3 4 oz. pieces with 3 different sauces). Cooked perfectly, and awfully tasty. For dessert...OH MY LEMON LAYER CAKE. Though I ordered the chocolate mousse and it was nothing but delicious, but the several bites I enjoyed of my friend's lemon layer cake were unbelievable!!! (and I am not usually fond of citrus desserts).
                                                                                                In all, it's definitely a solid restaurant, but it can get a little pricey if you're footing the bill. If your off the hook for the bill, then you should have a very good meal. (Oh, and the view is great!)

                                                                                                1. Just to bump this thread up, went last week, got lucky and grabbed a parking space directly across from DF's on the street, score!

                                                                                                  Tried the Summer Prime Pix Fixe Special, started with the classic wedge salad, excellent presentation great blue cheese dressing adorned with real thick cut bacon lardons, next an 8 oz tenderloin grilled to a perfect med rare and charred on the outside for me with a crab cake and a football sized baked potato, nice jumbo lump crab meet lightly seasoned, you could really taste the sweetness of the crab meat. The tenderloin was as expected, cut with a butter knife and melted in your mouth. The potato came loaded with all the fix'ins but, was getting too my capacity so, it came home. All of the wait staff were very professional and there but, not there if you know what I mean. The manager and asst mgr stopped to check on our experience. I've been to many Del Frisco's across the country and the quality is very consistent. I thought the Summer Prime Special was a good value.