Ask for a steak recommendation in Boston and people will be climbing over one another to tout the virtues of their favorite steakhouse. From downtown favorites like K.O Prime and Grill 23 to slightly more out of the way options like the Capital Grille in Newton and Natick’s Metro 9 there’s no shortage of great steak options in Boston or the suburbs. Nestled on the ground floor of the Hotel Indigo, located just off I-95 in Newton, BOKX 109 is a fun steak house with a curious name. The first perk of trying this suburban gem is their free valet parking, simply let the nice gentlemen park your car and only worry about the tip. The restaurant is very comfortable, furnished in rich browns and oranges with soft lighting and lots of windows. The kitchen is open with a long, tall chef’s table located right next to it where larger parties can watch all the action. On the other side of the dining area is a small lounge and bar which provides access to the luxurious pool and patio. While BOKX 109 certainly maintains a sophisticated feel, the stuffiness that is often the trademark of a good steakhouse is happily missing. Instead, BOKX 109 offers a fun, chic option for people interested in getting their steak in the suburbs.
BOKX 109 has an innovative way of presenting their menus, printed on brown paper bag material and then folded around their napkins which are super-absorbent dish towels. BOKX’s starters come in three options, Snax, BOKX of greens, and sides. While the sides are clearly meant to go with the steaks, one side is more than enough for an appetizer. Among the actual appetizers, the crab cakes are the standout; three large crab cakes are served atop an apple and a celery root slaw which is divine. The salty, crispy crab cakes are filled with lots of chunky crab meat seasoned to perfection and topped with a light mustard sauce. The slaw was a pleasant surprise and its fresh, sweet taste was a truly different complement to the exemplary crab cakes.
The pear salad was a well balanced light starter with plenty of soft grilled pears served cold, which was surprising but quite good. The sprinkling of pecans added an occasional spicy crunch complimenting the simplicity of the greens and sherry vinaigrette dressing.
BOKX offers entrées in two ways, BOKX cuts with a la carte sides, and American Prime meals with meat and sides included in the price. For her BOKX cut this Bostonist tried the 189, a 10oz tenderloin with sides of truffled potato tots, mac and cheese, creamed spinach, and lobster risotto shared among fellow diners. The chefs at BOKX 109 really know how to cook a steak! A perfect medium, the juicy succulent steak arrived topped with delightfully crispy onion strings. Slightly crispy and salty on the outside and tender on the inside, this is one steak that doesn’t require extra sauces or seasonings; though BOKX 109 does offer a selection of additional sauces for two dollars each.
The sides are a little smaller than usual for a steak house, but at seven dollars apiece they are reasonably priced accompaniments for the steaks, and four sides is definitely enough to feed three people. The mac and cheese is very different; a stringy cheese layer on top conceals pasta sitting in a soupy cheese sauce underneath. This is not your traditional mac and cheese but this lighter version goes really well with the steak and keeps you from getting too full to finish your entree. The spinach was delicious, the shallots and fennel compliment the creaminess of the spinach to give it a very balanced and rich flavor. The lobster risotto was unremarkable, though filled with big chunks of lobster, the flavor is bland and the dish is very heavy. The tater tots, while an interesting idea and the side dish this Bostonist was most interested in tasting, were bland, not salty enough, and too hot to eat for most of the meal, additionally, the ratio of mushiness to crispiness was way too high.
For her second visit, this Bostonist tried the hanger steak with garlic butter and frites. The steak was tender and juicy and the addition of the garlic butter was amazing. Each bite was better than the last as the butter melted a little bit more to blend with the natural juices of the meat. But the real surprise on the plate was the frites. Instead of your standard thin fries, these were shoe string thin pieces of salty, crispy potato, like canned potato sticks only fresh and delicious; we simply couldn’t stop eating them.
Desserts are clearly not the strong suit at BOKX 109. The best things on the dessert menu are the shooters, and even they aren’t great. The dessert shooters are small shot glasses of desserts for three dollars each. It’s an interesting idea that allows people to finish their meal with a little something sweet without stuffing themselves or breaking the bank. The mud pie was by far the best of the four and the only thing we can really recommend on the dessert menu.
However, if you aren’t in the mood for dessert, just ask your waiter for your complimentary dish of cotton candy. The delivery of the cotton candy seems to be a little unclear, on one visit it was brought with our check like a giant fluffy after-dinner mint. Our waiter informed us that they do it every night with every table. However, the next time no cotton candy was forthcoming until we asked for it. We do highly recommend asking for it because BOKX 109 actually has a cotton candy machine on the premises and they make it fresh for every table. This novelty added greatly to our appreciation of this restaurant and their dedication to being a slightly different steak house.
If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience grab a bite at the bar/lounge and enjoy one of BOKX’s inventive and tasty cocktails. For example, the Pineapple Caipirinha is a delightful summer drink with imported rum and pineapple. For those of you who like your martinis, be warned they do have blue cheese stuffed olives, so be prepared to indulge.
For larger groups looking to indulge in a little outdoor dining, make a reservation at one of BOKX 109’s outdoor cabanas. You can enjoy the full menu in the comfort of your own private poolside cabana. The cabanas seat up to eight people and are open all summer long, weather permitting.
Finally, as a nod to these economic times, and in celebration of summer, BOKX109 is offering a three course pre-fix menu for $20.09. You can find the menu on their website, along with directions and some other summer deals.
Overall, while BOKX 109 is not our absolute favorite steakhouse, it is definitely worth regular visits for the food, the drinks, and of course the cotton candy.
This post originally appeared on Bostonist.com