Mass Foodies – July 2016
“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.
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.
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.
By Luke M. Vaillancourt