Chopps American Bar & Grill, located at the Burlington Marriott.
For the last three years, Chopps has been on my annual list of Top 50 Restaurants, and throughout my multiple visits, for both lunches and dinners, it has remained consistently excellent, for the quality and taste of their food, as well as the quality of their service. I think that part of the reason Chopps is ignored by numerous people is that is it located in a hotel, and some people have a negative bias against hotel restaurants, believing the quality isn't as good as a stand-alone spot. Yes, there are some hotel restaurants which fail to deliver but that is insufficient reason to believe they are all the same. And Chopps will prove to you that hotel restaurants can excel.
Recently, Chopps hired a new Executive Chef, Steve Zimei, and he introduced some new menu items. Steve, a Johnson & Wales University graduate, began his culinary career working for Chef Daniel Bruce, eventually becoming a sous chef at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille. Steve would also work on the opening teams for spots including Aquitaine, Harvest and XV Beacon Hotel. In addition, Steve moved onto executive chef positions at places including Gallia, Hotel MIT, The Worcester Restaurant Group, the Papa Razzi Group, and most recently Trails End Café in Concord. Now, he has returned to work with Chef Bruce at Chopps. I was invited, as a media guest, to visit Chopps, meet Chef Zimei, and experience his new menu creations.
The restaurant has several dining rooms, including private rooms for business meetings, celebrations or such. There is also a large lounge and bar, with a number of comfortable booths, and this area is often quite busy as hotel guests and others hang out, have a drink, and grab a bite after work or for dinner.
We began with the Autumn Spice Sangria ($10), a pleasing, fruity concoction that tasted like the fall and wasn't overly sweet. Hints of cinnamon and apple, with juicy red fruit flavors.
Before your food begins to arrive, you'll be brought a small, cast iron pan with four warm, soft and buttery Parker House rolls, with a touch of salt and herbs. For a bread lover as I, this is a great way to start your dinner, and you might be tempted to ask for more.
Though Dessert sounded tempting, especially the Adult Sundae, I was just too full to get anything else. Our server, Lisa, was excellent, personable and attentive without being obtrusive. In addition, though she hadn't served us in nearly a year, she still recalled the type of drinks we preferred. The quality, quantity and taste of the food were impressive and as consistently good as usual. Chef Zimei is continuing to deliver a stellar experience and more attention should be paid to Chopps. It isn't the stereotypical hotel restaurant and is worthy of your support.