Comfort Food with a Twist

Posted on September 27, 2009

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If only there were more places in downtown Lynn like the Blue Ox, I would probably visit more often. The place was packed Saturday night, people all dressed up, walking by outside our window table and coming through the door in a continuous stream. The food was excellent; the decor and ambience just right. The wait staff was excellent. The moon grew brighter over Munroe lofts as the sky grew darker. I would come here again, even if it was just to sit at the bar and watch the ballgame. Yes, there would be more people walking the streets of downtown if there were places like the Blue Ox to attract them.

The Eating-out club of the East Lynn Neighborhood Association met for the second time at the Blue Ox on Saturday evening at 5PM. A lot of the talk during and after revolved around politics in Lynn, the way things are in city and the way we would like them to be.

According to the Lynn Restaurant Group, “We have designed a restaurant for the Lynn community to gather for a great time and also become a catalyst for bringing people into the downtown area. The Group has as its main goal, to attract friends, family, neighbors and business associates by offering great food at affordable prices all served in relaxed and comfortable environment.” Lynn Attorney Matt DeJoie is the principal owner of the Lynn Restaurant Group. I’d say he has succeeded but time will tell–two  other establishments at this location have tried and failed.

What makes the Blue Ox different is its decision to cook “comfort food with a twist.” Chef Matt O’Neil, who graduated from the American Culinary Institute of America and has been chef at Prezza in Boston’s North End and the former Copia in Charlestown, thinks it’s a winning concept for downtown Lynn, and I would agree. Comfort food such hamburgers, ravioli, and clam chowder are given decorative presentations and interesting flavors.

The Blue Ox Burger is the restaurant’s signature dish, and let me tell you, it is delicious. It consists of two ¼ lb blue cheese stuffed burgers, topped with applewood bacon, tomato, lettuce, & mayo and served with herbed french fries. For $11, you could share this dish with a friend or significant other and not go into the red.

After tasting the fries, we talked about them as if they were a fine wine, detecting hints of various flavors such as thyme and lime. I tasted the squash stuffed ravioli, and it too was phenomenal. The clam chowder had a smoky flavor and was served with a drizzle of tabasco on the top. The prices were not outrageous. For drink, I recommend a Lobster Ale.

The Blue Ox is a winner. Next month, we are eating lunch at Pho Lynn on Munroe St. on Halloween. Let me know if you would like to join us. And please check out the 350 Project and support local businesses.

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