LYNN – Chinese Pork Belly Bao. Lasagna Bolognese. Soba Noodle Ramen with a poached egg. The menu at District 45 in Lynn is as diverse as the city itself, and that’s because Executive Chef Corey O’Shea has created a menu reflective of his hometown.
This local legend has been wowing palates all over Boston for most of his career, but when given the opportunity, he decided to get back to the city where he was born and raised.
The space itself is casual and fun with pop art paying homage to the city and what it is known for.
“We have the old Fluff factory, the old shoe factories, leather factories, stuff like that,” Corey explained.
“That’s my father over there in the corner,” he said, pointing to a piece of art on the wall. “That’s him actually in Vietnam. He’s local. He worked at GE. He went to Vietnam. He went to Classical.”
The menu would make Corey’s dad proud, with a little bit of something for everyone. Starters include Buffalo Wings, finished on the grill and served with blue cheese; and housemade Mac and Cheese Fritters, encrusted in panko and fried to perfection.
There’s Korean BBQ Pork Belly Bao, topped with pickled greens and served on a soft steamed bun; and Oxtail sliders with gorgonzola and pickled radish, served on brioche for a flavor explosion in your mouth.
“It’s got the creamy, the salty, the vinegar, the acidity. The meat is super decadent. It’s very rich at the same time,” he said. “It’s like short rib on steroids.”
The comfort food continues right through the District 45 menu, with Dry Aged Steak Burgers topped with Tarragon Compound Butter; and nostalgic Grilled Cheese stuffed with short rib and served with Tomato Soup.
“It’s three different types of cheese – Gruyère, Fontina and cheddar – and then the blueberry braised short rib,” Corey described. “We just slice that thin, put that in the middle with some caramelized onions. Get it nice and ooey gooey and then serve it with tomato soup.”
That same nostalgia is well represented on the entree section of the menu, with Slow Roasted Chicken Pot Pie, and a massive slice of Lasagna topped with Bolognese, combining two of Corey’s favorites. There is a hearty 14-ounce pork chop served with Herb Roasted Vegetables, and slow cooked Blueberry Braised Short Ribs that are the definition of fork tender.
At Brunch, try some of District 45’s over-the-top eats like the French Toast Bread Pudding, swimming in Vermont Maple Syrup with Vanilla Whipped Cream. For a southern spin on a breakfast classic, get yourself the Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Bread Benedict, smothered in an avocado hollandaise. For something that will really fill you up to face your day, order the District Popover.
“We stuff it with homemade chorizo sausage, cheddar cheese and egg, throw it in the oven, and then top it with chorizo gravy,” Corey explained. “It’s eggy, it’s fluffy, it’s flaky. It’s everything you want in a popover.”
There is no better way to end your meal than with the sinfully delicious Deep Fried Banana Fluffernutter.
While that dessert may be sugary sweet, there is nothing sweeter than being able to cook for the ones you love, according to this chef.
“When you work in Boston you get a friend every now and again coming in town to see you. But when you’re right around the corner, I get all my friends, all my family and I can kind of show off a little.”
You can find District 45 at 45 Lewis Street in Lynn, and online at district45lynn.com.
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