Top Boston Steakhouses for Lenten Dining
Lent is a time for sacrifice, which typically means cutting back on indulgences like doughnuts, cocktails and fried chicken. This is also certainly true of steak. But while the Lenten season may entail a brief beef break, that doesn’t mean steakhouses should go into hibernation. On the contrary, Boston steakhouses serve some of the most Lent-friendly dishes, what with their surfeit of wholesome seafood, fish and vegetable dishes. Here are some of the city’s top restaurants for Lenten dining right now.
Abe & Louie’s: One of Boston’s most revered bastions for beef is also a haven for healthy dining options that don’t diminish flavor. Start with savorous appetizers like pepper-seared ahi tuna or iced littleneck clams by the half dozen, or dig into their namesake salad, a hulking medley of Boston bibb lettuce, apples, pistachios, blue cheese and Dijon vinaigrette. Entrees are teeming with choices, too, like oven-roasted Chilean sea bass with heirloom tomato salsa, shrimp and scallop Louie or something called lobster Savannah, with mushrooms, peppers, Parmesan and sherry cream sauce.
Boston Chops: This contemporary newcomer in the South End is chock full of fresh ideas. This is perhaps most evident in their use of off cuts of meat and their inventive side dishes. The restaurant features a “Rarely Celebrated” section on its menu, outfitted with items like crispy oxtail croquettes, chicken fried sweetbreads, grilled beef tongue and braised tripe with soffrito ragout. A far cry from your typical steakhouse fare, no? Save room to stock up on some side dishes, too, like their poutine-style twice-baked “loaded” potato, eggplant rollatini, braised red cabbage, spicy broccoli and heirloom squash with cranberries and sage.
The Bancroft: Some of the best and most imaginative steakhouse-style cooking in the Boston area can be found at Burlington’s The Bancroft. The steaks are stellar, but you won’t miss them if you turn your attention to celery root-chestnut bisque, baked clams with bacon crumbs and iced tiger shrimp cocktail. And that’s only the beginning. Entree options range from charcoaled salmon with creamed potatoes and pressed beet vinaigrette to almond-crusted hake with roasted romanesco and squid vinaigrette.
O Ya: Equally renowned for its sushi as well as its beefier items, O Ya is a prime destination for Lenten supping. The menu is filled to the brim with novel seafood creations, and even some sushi that eschews fish for foie gras (try the lavish foie gras nigiri with balsamic chocolate kabayaki and claudio corallo raisin cocoa pulp). Examples include grilled salmon skin with smoked aioli and kizami nori, sea urchin with Russian Ossetra caviar, warm eel with Thai basil and kabayaki, yuzu-cured arctic char with sesame brittle and cumin aioli and even a roasted beet sashimi with myoga, wasabi white soy sauce and shiso.
Mooo: With a name like this, you can be forgiven for assuming it’s all about the beef. But Mooo is much more, with an expansive menu swimming with sterling seafood. Start things off with appetizers like oysters by the dozen, sushi-grade tuna tartare or cioppino loaded with calamari, shrimp and clams. In addition to a bevy of steaks, entree options include stuffed lobster with crab, grilled branzino with rice pilaf and grilled salmon with celery root puree, chanterelle mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and cider reduction.
Strip by Strega: For a Lenten steakhouse experience with a little Mediterranean accent, head to Strip by Strega. This slick hot spot features alluring bites like octopus with confit potatoes and salsa verde, delicata squash with balsamic, Burrata and prosciutto, and heartier chef’s specials like linguine and clams, Cornish hen with lemon risotto and salmon with baby carrots and cider sugo.