If you’ve never been to Lynn, MA it’s quite an interesting place. Like most urban cities, it has its good sections and its bad, but downtown Lynn seems to be a mix. We are starting to see a change for the better with old factory buildings being converted into large lofts, young professionals moving to the area and the city offering perks for people to start businesses in the city. To that effect a new restaurant has opened up recently called The Blue Ox, located on Oxford Street. The Blue Ox sticks out like a sore thumb in downtown among the hole-in-the-wall eateries that surround it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking these other establishments as some of them are fantastic (see more on Jamaica’s Flavor and Casa Molina in upcoming posts). But if you have ever walked by The Blue Ox, you’ll notice its clean exterior, wood finishes in the entryway and trendy ambiance just from peeking through the window.
Since its opening, I’ve had dinner there twice. On both occasions I had a great meal. My first meal included New England clam chowder, grilled hanger steak with fries, and a chocolate cake for dessert. For my second meal, I had the clam chowder again, the gnocchi bolognese and a few bites of the cheesecake. In addition, I had bites of the filet mignon and the pork tenderloin. The crispy calamari is probably the best I have ever tasted. It is not overly fried, doesn’t taste oily and the batter is has light flavor. The portions were definitely larger than you would see at a similar restaurant in Boston and the prices are comparable. The clam chowder had applewood smoked bacon and touch of tobasco which I thought was a nice variation on a classic. The pork was cooked perfectly and was juicy and soft. I felt that the gnocchi had a bit too much rosemary in it, but I don’t particularly like rosemary so it could have just been me. The cheesecake was delicious and I’m a pretty harsh critic when it comes to dessert. The cocktails and beer are very reasonably priced and the selection is surprisingly diverse.
If you find yourself on the Northshore, check out The Blue Ox. The weekends seem to be busy but if you make a reservation in advance, getting a table is no problem. From time to time the restaurant hold cooking demos for approximately $35 where the chef will show you how to cook a meal and afterward you get to enjoy a three course meal with the demoed meal as the entree. I have yet to attend a demo, but will soon.