BOSTON – A big bowl of bolognaise, a juicy double cut pork chop, a piled high burger, and a plate of fresh baked cookies. At Lucy’s American Tavern, they have all your comfort food cravings covered.
Brand new to the busy Adams Village section of Dorchester, Lucy’s is an impressive restaurant where owners Patrick Dillon and Shawn Ahern have transformed an old video store into a 170-seat prohibition-style spot with brick walls, reclaimed barn wood, and a huge bar at the center of it all.
“The whole thought process behind the restaurant was just to make it extremely comfortable; to make it that type of place where on that type of rainy day, cold day, people can come here,” Patrick said. “It’s warm, it’s comfortable, and they can get that hearty homemade comfort food.”
All that comfort food comes courtesy of Executive Chef Chris Bussell. It was important to him and everyone at Lucy’s to make sure that their take on comfort food didn’t take people out of their comfort zone.
“We want people to walk in and recognize everything that we are doing, but maybe we’re doing it a little differently than they’re used to, or they haven’t seen it before,” Shawn described. “There’s a different preparation or a different sauce, but it still resonates with them in some way.”
Lucy’s appetizes include Mexican Street Nachos, Artichoke and Jalapeno Dip, Salt and Pepper Calamari, and Hickory Smoked Wings that you can order with Memphis dry rub, or a Louisiana style hot sauce.
“It’s not a heavy, heavy sauce that sometimes you get with a Buffalo sauce,” Shawn explained. “Chef just really hit the marks on the flavor profiles where, definitely, that heat comes in because of those Louisiana cayenne peppers, but he does a nice lot of little subtleties to kind of keep it so it’s not just straight heat. It’s like flavorful with the heat.”
The comfort food really kicks in when it comes to entrees, like the Veal and Short Rib Bolognese with creamy tomato ragout and homemade pasta; Wood Grilled Sirloin Tips made with a secret marinade; and the Double Cut Pork Chop with Brussels and bacon, and warm corn pudding.
“It’s nice and thick. It’s juicy. It’s got an apple cider brine layered over the top of it,” Patrick listed. “You’re gonna think to yourself, ‘there’s no way I’m gonna finish this.’ Which is sort of the goal.”
Another showstopper is Lucy’s Corn Flake crusted Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffles, served with pecans and a grilled peach.
“You’re gonna have the crispiness on the outside of the waffle, but the kind of smooth creaminess of the sweet potato on the inside,” Chef Chris started. “You’re gonna have that super crisp coating from the Corn Flake, and then the really moistness of the chicken still on the bone. You’re gonna have sweet and charred on the peach, some pecans in there to keep that Southern thing going on, a little whipped butter to kind of melt into all the crevices of the waffle, and we also make a nice homemade bourbon maple syrup. It really is like the perfect dish.”
Another Southern favorite served here is some real deal, slow smoked barbecue. First and foremost is the Chef’s Barbecue Board, an eye-popping assortment of Ribs, Brisket, Texas Beans, and Charred Corn on the Cob.
“We actually got these really awesome wood boards, so as our staff is walking through the restaurant it is definitely a visual,” Shawn said. “It’s a crowd pleaser and it’s a head turner.”
You can get a slightly more manageable taste of some barbecue with the Burnt Ends Sandwich, featuring hunks of sauce-smothered brisket on a buttered bun. If you really want something on a roll, Lucy’s Burger Royale is great, and their Shepherd’s Pie Burger is even better.
“What we wanted to do was kind of deconstruct the Shepherd’s Pie and put it back together as a burger,” Chef Chris explained. “So, we grind Colorado lamb in house; we top that with mashed potatoes; I make a sweet corn relish, and then that gets served on a nice brioche bun.”
With so many hearty choices for dinner, saving room for dessert is almost impossible, but then you would miss excellent options like a mason jar filled with chocolate hazelnut mousse and Chantilly cream; Peppermint Ice Cream and warm Chocolate Cake with a pudding center; or a nostalgically delicious plate of warm cookies with a mini milkshake.
“The whole idea behind it is to sort of bring them back to being a kid, being at home when their mother makes cookies,” Patrick said. “They’re warm, they’re fresh, they’re new. You can tell they were made in our kitchen and it’s sort of like a nostalgic thing that we wanted to bring to the end of everybody’s meal.”
You can find Lucy’s American Tavern at 15 Granite Avenue in Boston, and online at lucysamericantavern.com.
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