Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chopps American Bar & Grill: A Hotel Restaurant Not To Overlook

A couple months ago, I mentioned that: "Burlington has become a suburban mecca for restaurants, and plenty of new spots have opened during the last few years, with more to come in the near future. Though you'll find plenty of chain restaurants there, you'll also find a number of independents as well,.." Another one of those independent spots I heartily recommend is CHOPPS American Bar and Grill, located in the Burlington Marriott.  

Chopps has been open for less than two years, having replaced Summer Winter and an Irish bar. It is a medium-sized restaurant, with a function room and large bar/lounge. The bar/lounge is very comfortable, a great place to hang out with friends, and there is entertainment from Tuesday through Saturday nights. The dining area has three separate rooms, as well as a special Chef's Table area overlooking the open kitchen.

Daniel Bruce, famed for his work at the Boston Harbor Hotel and Meritage Restaurant, brings his expertise to Chopps as its Consulting Chef.  Chopps also recently brought on a new Executive Chef, Jeff Williams, who brings seventeen years of culinary experience, having worked in restaurants on Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and San Diego. With this new Chef has come a new Fall menu to the restaurant.

I was recently invited as a media guest to check out the new Fall menu. I have previously attended a few other media events at Chopps, as well as having dined there on my own at least a half-dozen times, for both lunch and dinner. During all those visits, Chopps has remained consistently good, providing quality food that would please any palate. Hotel restaurants sometimes get a bad rap, but Chopps is one of the stand-outs and worthy of your patronage. It is a welcome addition to the Burlington area and is a restaurant you should explore.

Chopps is a steak house but with plenty of seafood and other options, from burgers to pizza. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and the menu changes seasonally. On their Dinner menu, you'll find Appetizers ($9-$17); Soup/Salad ($6-$10), Small Plates ($11-$18); Steaks ($27-$59); Other Entrees ($24-$26), Pizza ($13-$16); Burger ($18), Seafood ($29-$35) and Sides ($5). The Lunch menu primarily adds a variety of Sandwiches ($13-$18), from a Lobster Roll to a Fried Chicken Sandwich..

Some of the prices are comparable with other high-end steakhouses, but it should be noted that Chopps is using high quality ingredients too. For example, their "Beef is Antibiotic and Hormone-Free, Fed a Vegetarian Diet, Raised Humanely on Sustainable Farms" and the name of the specific farm is mentioned on the menu. Other prices are very reasonable, such as their pizzas, sandwiches, salads and more. Their Dinner Burger is $18 but it also uses Dry Aged Beef and at Lunch, they have a regular Bacon Cheddar Burger that is only $13. With most restaurants, you get what you pay for, and the quality and taste of the food at Chopps makes their pricing fair.

They have a full bar, serving cocktails, beer and wine. Their reasonably priced Featured Cocktails ($8-$13) include old classics as well as inventive twists. They have a Barrel Rested Spirit, which they have aged for 90 days, and it varies as to what they have at any specific time. For example, it might be a whiskey or even a tequila. They carry about 30 beers ($4-$9), with 8 on draft; Their wine list has about  24 wines available by the glass ($7-$16) and the list is California heavy. You will see lots of familiar faces on the wine list, though I would prefer to see a larger portion of wines from different regions.

On this visit, we began the meal with a couple drinks, including a White Sangria ($9), which was fruity, refreshing, and not too sweet.

I chose a Manhattan, using their Barrel Rested Makers 46 Bourbon, which was savory and delicious, with a nice depth of flavor to it. I've previously had several Manhattans at Chopps, with different whiskeys from bourbons to ryes, and they make an excellent cocktail.

I would later try a Blood Orange Paloma ($11), which is made with Patron Tequila, line and Blood Orange Juice. It was another tasty cocktail, with a nice tequila bite, the fruity taste of the blood orange, and it wasn't overly sweet. Refreshing, it highlighted all of its ingredients in a well balanced drink.

Before your food begins to arrive, you'll be brought a small, cast iron pan with four warm, soft and buttery rolls, with a touch of salt and herbs. For a bread lover as I, this is a great way to start your dinner.

We began with a couple Appetizers, including the Lamb Lollichopps ($17), which come with a chimichurri sauce. Tender, meaty and delicious, the lamb chops were prepared perfectly, with a nice char, and the chimichurri added some nice flavors to the plate. The lamb basically melted in your mouth, filling it with a blend of harmonious flavors.

The Scallops & Shrimp ($16) are flash fried and come with lime and tartar sauce. The Scallops were amazing! The tasty crunchy coating was clean and light while the scallops were tender and sweet, some of the best fried scallops I've had in some time. The shrimp were also very good and I was pleased to learn their shrimp comes from the U.S. Gulf, Not enough restaurants avail themselves of domestic shrimp, which are a sustainable option and taste great.

The Boston Clam Chowder ($6/cup & /$9/bowl) comes with a mini corn muffin.  It is smoky and creamy, with bacon, corn, and potatoes. It's consistency is just right, neither too thick nor too thin, and its taste is a pleasing blend of flavors. It's a nice way to start a meal.

One of the Small Plates, the Duck Confit:($11) has a mole sauce and a local apple salsa. The moist duck has a great crispy skin, enhanced by the compelling mole. The apples add some sour notes to the dish, helping to counteract the richness of the mole. For duck lovers, this is a must order dish, and may also persuade others to embrace the duck.

Also in the Small Plates, though it comes in two sizes, is the Lobster Tagliatelle ($16/$24), with comes with Chanterelle, Kale, & Hazelnuts. There was plenty of sweet lobster in this dish, and the pasta was cooked to a nice al dente, with just the right amount of chew. A very good choice if you don't want a steak

Another good choice instead of a steak is the Yellowfin Tuna ($32), which comes with sesame soba, thai basil, tomato and ginger soy sauce. Each slice of seared, raw tuna was silky and meaty, enhanced by the ginger soy. Exactly what you want in tuna. The soba noodles were tasty, with a rich, salty flavor which was cut by the acidity of the tomatoes. A hearty dish, I was extremely satisfied with it, and would highly recommend it.

For Dessert, my favorite was the Banana Brulee, with a creamy brulee topped by caramelized bananas which enhanced the dish. Some brulees, topped with a few berries, can be rather plan but the addition of the bananas elevated this dessert over others. And some ice cream just put this dessert over the top.

The current Fall Menu at Chopps has plenty to offer and my most recent experience was impressive. In previous visits, I've tried much of the menu and have essentially enjoyed everything I've eaten. The Steaks are delicious, high quality beef  which will please any carnivore.  The Chopp-Lover's Pizza, with ground sirloin, pepperoni, bacon and spicy sausage, will also please carnivores.  The Lobster Mac N' Cheese is excellent, with lots of cheesy goodness, and I've eaten it on a few different occasions. The Chopps Tots are huge tater tots, filled with lots of soft potato goodness. You're probably not going to go wrong whatever you order.

Don't let the fact that Chopps is inside a hotel keep you from enjoying its culinary delights. Make a trip to Burlington and check out their offering from a thick steak to silky tuna, from a dry-aged burger to a meat-covered pizza. Chopps is one of my favorite restaurants in Burlington and hope that you enjoy a great meal there too.


Jeannie from Malden said...

My husband & I, along with friends sometimes, dine here frequently!! I agree. Chopps is a "hidden jewel".

Cath Brookes said...

Great appetizers and friendly staff, highly recommended Toni was a great mixologist
I really enjoyed the stay it was sitting with old friends.

Cath Brookes
The Best Real Thin Brick