Boy's Night Out at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House
By Mat Schaffer
Every night is boy’s night out at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House. Next to Legal Harborside in the old Jimmy’s Harborside location in the Seaport District, the Boston branch of the national chophouse chain boasts sweeping, second-story views of the Fish Pier and Logan International Airport, mini-skirted waitresses, white-linen tablecloths, and a menu of steakhouse classics beloved by both men and women. With a large, round bar area at the top of a long, windowed room the length of two railroad cars, Del Frisco’s is shaped rather like a Star Trek Starfleet ship, ready to take on any and all challengers—whether it’s Klingons or Morton’s The Steakhouse, just down the street. The lighting is deliberately dim. The cushy booths are leather and velour. The color scheme is gunmetal gray, earthy tans, and rust. The atmosphere is noisy and boisterously fun.
Sluggish economy? Not at Del Frisco’s, where they focus on details, expense be damned. For instance, your steak isn’t sheared from the loin until your order goes into the kitchen. The fish comes from Foley, which has been plying its fresh catch since 1906. You’ll never need to ask for more water or bread; the staff is so attentively pampering t hat t hey do everything but cut your meat for you (and probably would do that, too, if asked). It’s no wonder Del Frisco’s has attracted a clientele of hungry carnivores, local businessmen and women, and professional athletes since it opened in April 2011. Patriots Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Bruins Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic, and Celtics Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers all dine here. Indeed, when we stopped in for dinner, legendary Red Sox pitcher Dennis Eckersley sat at the next table.
Be advised that two of the most popular dishes aren’t on the menu. You have to request the shrimp platter, a sampling of the restaurant’s à la carte jumbo shrimp cocktail, shrimp rémoulade, and Italian-style marinated shrimp. And try the unlisted-but-always-available 16-ounce, bone-in filet mignon, which combines the delectable buttery-ness of the meat with the flavor and fat provided by the bone. Del Frisco’s is the only Boston steakhouse offering this daily. Steaks are seasoned with kosher salt and cracked black pepper before they go under the broiler, which creates a lovely, caramelized crust. Then they’re finished with a generous drizzle of clarified butter. Your cardiologist doesn’t need to know.
The crab cakes are almost entirely crab (as opposed to bread crumbs) and completely delicious. Regulars recommend Shanghai-style fried calamari, which is more accurately a Thai-style treat of toothsome squid, sliced cherry peppers, slivered scallions, crushed peanuts, and sweet chili sauce. You could happily make a meal out of side dishes like creamy lobster macaroni and cheese, sherry-scented sautéed mushrooms, and spinach supreme, a wickedly decadent blend of spinach, cheddar, bacon, scallions, and mushrooms that might be described as the hole-in-one of creamed spinach. Above all, servings are of Flintstone proportions. A single order of lemon cake—a six-layer wedge of cake, buttercream frosting, and lemon glaze—weighs 1.8 pounds.
The wine list is a 23-page, leather-bound tome featuring 1,500 selections. If you’re in the mood to splurge, a 1986 Château Lafite Rothschild will cost you $8,550. As befits an establishment with an inventory of more than a million wine bottles, Del Frisco’s employs four full-time sommeliers, so there are always at least two on the floor to help you choose the perfect vino. On a weekend night, the restaurant can feed as many as 700 guests. Lunch is becoming almost as busy thanks to an in-and-out-within-30-minutes menu that emphasizes sandwiches, salads, and light entrées. It’s designed for people who work in the neighborhood, many of whom will stop back in for a cocktail on their way home.
The best place to sit? It’s dead center in the middle of the room at Table 51, where you can see everyone and everyone can see you. At Del Frisco’s, it’s not about being coy, it’s about bigger is better is best. 250 Northern Ave., 617-951-1368; delfriscos.com
photography by andy ryan