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“Surf & Turf” Isn’t Just A Catchy Phrase for Chop House This July

Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin & Grilled Atlantic Salmon during One Eleven Chop House's Surf & Turf Promotion.

“Surf and Turf” is a dining concept that combines the best of two worlds: food from the land and food from the sea. Although many restaurants often have seafood and meat as options, it almost seems haphazard if there is an item that combines the two; quite often because the price can become prohibitive or the restaurant may specialize in meat but not fish, or vice versa. This is why one should always look forward to when One Eleven Chop House does their surf and turf promotion.

To begin with, it’s a well-known fact that the One Eleven knows their meats. Steak aside, their chicken, lamb, and pork dishes could hold down the menu in in their own right. Additionally, while many diners tend to look directly at Chop House’s “land meats,” the seafood entrees deserve special attention (my favorite “off the menu dish” is the grilled peppercorn swordfish which is both colorful as it is flavorful).

After years of going to One Eleven, I would often find myself creating my own “surf and turf” by starting with the chilled seafood platter to share and then dive into a filet or lamb. But One Eleven’s Surf and Turf promotion offers the flexibility to try several options for land and sea without breaking the bank.

Bang Bang Shrimp (Lightly Fried Baby Shrimp in a Spicy Sweet Thai Chili Sauce) during One Eleven Chop House's Surf & Turf Promotion.
Bang Bang Shrimp (Lightly Fried Baby Shrimp in a Spicy Sweet Thai Chili Sauce) during One Eleven Chop House’s Surf & Turf Promotion.

To start with, I chose two of the six offerings: the “Bang Bang Shrimp” and “Grilled Lamb Riblets.” Riblets, as many know, is when a full set of spare ribs are cut in half—partly for presentation (by removing the curved rigged part) and partly to allow the meat the cook differently. The grilled lamb riblets did not disappoint. The flavor was rich and deep, and the preparation resulted in the meat easily pulling from the bone. The “Bang Bang Shrimp” (which is a menu staple) was the perfect complement to the riblets as they were lightly fried with a spicy sweet Thai chili sauce topped with cilantro microgreens. The texture of the shrimp married the bed of shred lettuce and the cilantro (which often can overpower a dish) allowing the flavors of the Thai chili sauce to freshly linger.

Grilled Lamb Riblets (Garlic and Mint Marinated, Served with Lamb Reduction) during One Eleven Chop House's Surf & Turf Promotion.
Grilled Lamb Riblets (Garlic and Mint Marinated, Served with Lamb Reduction) during One Eleven Chop House’s Surf & Turf Promotion.

The memory of this appetizer assortment would be short lived, however, as the Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Salmon took center stage. To begin with, the Pork Tenderloin’s size and cut resembled that of a perfectly cut filet. The fat not only delivered a great flavor profile—partly from the absorption of the sweet bourbon glaze—but it insured that the meat was succulent throughout. The salmon, with perfect grill marks appeared to be overdone, but once the fork flaked the meat it revealed it was cooked perfectly. Its non-seasoned, suprêmes cut was perfect as to not compete against the nature of the bourbon glaze. A masterful combination of textures, flavors, and proteins.

The two sides, thin cut French Fries and Cole Slaw, were served in a paper bowl. The juxtaposition of the casualness of the sides—not unlike what you’d be served in at a summer clam shack—and the formal entrees was fun and intentional. By bringing together great sea and land meats, with the nostalgia of summer in New England it’s no wonder that 111’s Surf and Turf continues to bring its diners back again and again. While the One Eleven Chop House is often seen as the restaurant “for life’s big moments” you are missing out if you don’t stop to celebrate the little moments this summer.

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Boynton’s Whiskey, Beer, and Cider Dinner

Charcuterie board from Boynton in Worcester

Charcuterie board from Boynton in Worcester

Whiskey and Beer and Cider dinner at the Boynton? Say no more, I am there.

Drink pairing from Boynton in WorcesterI am always up for something new and when I the invite came out for the most recent Fall Equinox Whiskey and Beer dinner at the Boynton, I didn’t have to think twice about going. It also wasn’t hard to get some friends to come along for the night and no one left disappointed.  There was a good crowd of about 40 or so people attending the dinner which was held in their upstairs side function room.  It was a cozy fit but I was glad to see smaller tables for 5-6 people so my friends and I could still feel like we were going out to dinner together.  It’s not something you see all the time but it was nice to have the chef come out before each course to describe the food and the pairing while being supported by representatives that could speak to the Whiskey, beer and cider.  I think the excitement in the room grew when one the beverage representatives highlighted there were “freebie” take away items (e.g. glasses, t-shirts) for guests to take home – people started strategizing on what they were going to get.  But that was easily forgotten for a short bit as the opening course was set on our table.

Opening Course

Large charcuterie board of home cured meats and cheese – good sampling that we could all share and still leave some on the board.  Hard to do but when you have more courses coming you have to stop yourself.  Paired with a Maine Brewing beer called  “Zoe” – a darker than normal Amber Ale and a little heavier for me for the kick off drink.

Pastrami Cured Gravlax Salad from boynton in WorcesterFirst Course

Bright Orange Carrot Leek Soup with bacon chutney and crème fraise garnishing the dish, served with a Cider Creek Hard Cider.  Loved the soup – how can you go wrong with bacon in it.  Normally, I am not able to eat a lot of soups like this due to them being cream based but this one was perfect without the need for cream for the flavor.

Second Course

The surprise dish of the night – Pastrami Cured Gravlax Salad – the taste of pastrami but we were eating salmon.  Good pairing served with our first whiskey beverage – Jameson cocktail over ice.

Algonquin served with beef skewer from Boynton in WorcesterIntermezzo

This one stumped a few people – a shot sized glass of Algonquin served with beef skewer laying on top. The Chef instructed us to dip the beef skewer into the drink for the best effect.  Many were nervous to try something so unusual. While it seemed like a cool thing to do I think it failed as it made the drink oily and not a pleasure to drink.  Thankfully it was only a shot size.

Stir fry of local cherrystones from BoyntonThird Course

Described as stir fry of local cherrystones, this was the big hit of the table. The spice meter of the broth was high but not too high you could not eat it.  I think everyone at our table couldn’t get enough of the broth as there was nothing left behind. Served with a double IPA  – Southern Tier Unearthly.  Note the glasses of beer got smaller as the night went on.. which was probably good with so many courses.

Rack of lamb, polenta, crispy Brussel sprouts with pan jusFourth Course

Considered as our “Main” dish – rack of lamb, polenta (more like polenta fries), crispy Brussel sprouts with pan jus. A friend at my table suggested the best way to eat the dish was to take a small piece of each of the items – and all agreed it was the best for flavor tasting.  It was a good balance for the main dish but I was so full I ended up taking most of the dish home to enjoy later. Accompanied by a American Strong Beer – Coronado Red Devil.

Fifth Course

Finally another whiskey beverage, Jameson Black to balance the Whiskey Glazed Cider Donuts.   I am not a sweets person, give me savory anytime, so was glad to see the donuts were balanced with a touch of whiskey flavor in the glaze.

This dinner had a lot of components to it and the wait staff at the Boynton did a great job keeping the food and drinks flowing and ensuring all at the table were eating at the same time. By the end of the night it felt like everyone in the room knew each other – might be due to the casual atmosphere, the # of beverages or just a fun crowd.  All at my table agreed that we had a fun time, food was great and a good balance between whiskey, cider and beer beverages.  Though some of us might have preferred more whiskey beverages versus beer. I have been to many similar dinners to this but I have to say this was one of the better ones for fun, value and food.  Be sure to check out their next dinner as I bet it sells out fast.