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Review of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

March 6, 2014 by tablecritic in Restaurant Reviews

By Rachel Lebeaux – Fort Port. The Seaport. The Innovation District. Call the area what you will, but it’s hard to deny that Boston’s waterfront has come on strong the past few years, with a wealth of residential construction, office buildings and, yes, gleaming new restaurants up the wazoo.

One of the anchors among those up-and-coming establishments is Del Frisco’s, part of a nationwide chain of steakhouses with branches from New York to Texas to Las Vegas. And, like its location — overlooking the harbor, primed for sunset views — Del Frisco’s is intended to impress.

A lot of restaurants shy away from the “special occasion” label, instead positioning themselves as neighborhood hangouts you might visit any day of the week. Not Del Frisco’s:  The special occasion label is embraced here, and restaurant staff will indeed make you, as a guest, feel like a million bucks (more than likely with a bill creeping in that direction to match).

This is an old-school steakhouse with modern flair.  A cavernous, 409-seat second-floor space, to which you ascend via a wrought-iron staircase, features floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking spectacular harbor views (come when it’s light outside to really take advantage). There are 60 servers on staff, with 30 working any given night (including our server, Mikayla, charming and informed). The after-work crowd on the Tuesday night we visited, despite blustery wind and snow, was buoyant, loud and well dressed. Del Frisco’s clearly gets its share of business accounts, and we hear Celtics star Rajon Rondo took some of his development-league teammates here during his rehab process. We didn’t spot any celebrities, but no matter — Del Frisco’s makes any guest feel like a VIP.

On that note, from the cocktail menu, we started our evening with the VIP ($14), with pineapple that’s been soaked in clementine vodka for 14 days, served in a chilled glass with an orange twist. It definitely succeeded in mentally transporting us to Hawaii on a cold Boston night. There was also a complimentary sesame bread loaf, warm to the touch.

Appetizers: Del Frisco’s “bread and butter,” in addition to steak, is its seafood, and we got a veritable boatful during the appetizer course. The crab cake ($19.50) is baked, not fried, with a minimal amount of mayonnaise and bread crumbs — which often overwhelm the crab meat in lesser preparations — to hold the patty together. Woven through the lump crab meat are strands of basil and red pepper. Texturally, it was perhaps a little soft; some crunch would have been nice. The cake was bathed in a piquant Cajun lobster sauce that added a welcome, spicy element to this steakhouse classic.

The chilled shrimp cocktail ($19.50) lets you choose three sauces over a total of six jumbo shrimp. We selected the traditional red cocktail sauce, a garlicky Italian (a little too reminiscent of salad dressing for me, although my dining companion liked it) and a peppery creole mustard remoulade with bits of sour pickle (far and away my favorite). The jumbo shrimp themselves, assembled in three Jenga-like towers, were fresh and meaty.

Then, there are the jumbo stone crab claws — three for $52, and no, that’s not a typo (they’re apparently worthy of their own announcement under the “dining promotions” section of the restaurant’s website.) The black and red clampers, shipped up fresh from Miami each day, are eye-catching, to be sure, even if cracking them makes you feel somewhat inelegant. The meat inside doesn’t really need, nor does it benefit from, the accompanying dipping mustard. But the crab itself is meaty and fresh — at these prices, they better be. This is definitely a dish to impress.

Should you be inclined to go off menu, “the secret word is bacon,” our server told us. What will that get you? “A big slab of bacon,” she laughed. That’s exactly what arrived at our table: a long strip of bacon ($6), crispy and properly charred, with a sweet demiglace and a shower of microgreens.  Two seared jumbo sea scallops ($5 each) on either side of the slab, from Georges Banks (an elevated area of sea floor between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia), seemed a touch underdone for my tastes but were nonetheless delicious and well seasoned.

Entrees and sides: The centerpiece of our Del Frisco’s meal was the signature 26 oz. “Double Eagle” ($67). The bone-in strip, with a perfectly seared exterior and juicy inside, was the definition of a big hunk of meat, just what you imagine when you visit a high-end steakhouse. It was still a little red on the inside for our “medium” request, but nothing that prevented us from devouring it. This is an entrée meant to be shared and savored, for sure.

The two sauces on the side were out of this world, especially the cabernet goat cheese, with butter and garlic swirled into a lavish purple spread colored by the red wine. And the version with bacon, blue cheese, herbs and panko was a winner, too, although it felt heavy compared to the first spread, when the steak only called for a lighter accompaniment.

Want a fine quaff to accompany to your steak that you can’t get anywhere else? Then a glass of red wine from the Del Frisco’s label — made exclusively for the restaurant by Robert Fuller in Napa — might be for you. An earthy, Bordeaux-style cabernet with a bold, smoky character at the front, smells delicate but is very assertive — just right alongside our steaks.

At a steakhouse, half the fun is ordering sides. The sautéed mushrooms ($10-$11), buttons bathed in sherry, garlic butter and black pepper, hit the spot for me. The spinach supreme ($12.50), creamy with ample amounts of garlic and bacon, was tasty, if a little heavy. Two thick onion rings (they normally come in a tower as an order of eight for $10.50) were battered in beer from Seaport neighbor Harpoon Brewery. Finally, the lobster macaroni and cheese ($17), fontina and parmesan cheese with breadcrumbs and big elbow macaroni, was dreamy, with loads of fresh lobster meat; on a night when you’re not craving meat, this could be an entrée on its own.

Desserts: The six-layer lemon doberge cake ($12), a traditional layered Louisiana cake, is made in-house with two types of frosting: a sweet, lemon paste in between the layers and a lemon buttercream icing on the sides that is probably the best lemon frosting I’ve ever had. The lemon pound cake itself was light and moist as well. It was an appropriate end to the meal — chocolate, although delicious, would have felt too heavy, but the lemon cake struck the right balance.

Assessment: Del Frisco’s definitely brings a sizzle to the Seaport. You’d be best advised to have a sizeable business account at your disposal or a special occasion to celebrate when you visit here, but a seat at the bar, a glass of house wine and some steak can hit the spot any old night, too. The service is excellent and the steaks first rate. You’ll be hard pressed to find many restaurants in Boston with a better view, or a better overall experience.

Address: 250 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210

Phone: 617-951-1368

Website:  http://www.delfriscos.com/boston

Cuisine: American

Price: $10-$89

Hours: Lunch: Mon-Fri: 11:30am-3pm. Dinner: Mon-Fri: 3pm-11pm; Sat: 4pm-11pm; Sun: 4pm-10pm

Features: Harbor views, private dining, $49 prix fixe Sundays & rewards club.

Recommendations: The VIP, house-label wine, crab cake, shrimp cocktail, Double Eagle steak, sautéed mushrooms, onion rings, lobster macaroni and cheese, lemon doberge cake

Parking: Valet, street parking

Payment Options: Major credit cards

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