Boston Chops’ Executive Chef Tells Us How to Eat Healthy at a Steakhouse
Be it a burger, filet, or tower of onion rings, steakhouses are the perfect kind of restaurant for indulging in a delicious, hearty meal; especially when dining alfresco during the summer season. Since a trip to a place packed with rich food can quickly derail any diet, we reached out to Chris Coombs, Owner and Chef at Boston Chops in Boston, Massachusetts, to get the scoop on how to order healthy fare from a menu that’s full of salivating options. Read on for a handful of insider secrets that’ll help make your next steakhouse visit a healthy eating success.
- Pick your protein. “The key to eating a healthy meal in a steakhouse starts with your protein choice,” Coombs says. “Typically, I suggest sticking to tenderloin in its various forms. Tenderloin is the leanest muscle with a much lower fat content than most other steak cuts. At Boston Chops, we have a variety of tenderloin options, including our 8 oz filet mignon, a 14 oz bone-in filet, and our exquisite chateaubriand.”
- Make the most of a raw bar. Though refreshing, delicious and chock full of veggies, salad isn’t always the healthiest choice on the menu; especially if your pick is decked out in cheese and dressings. Coombs agrees. “When it comes to appetizers, my favorite salad at Boston Chops is our Equatorial Iceberg, but it’s not very healthy, seeing as it is covered in blue cheese and bacon.” Instead, he says to go for a raw bar selection if it’s available. “I suggest going with a raw bar selection, whether it be oysters, shrimp, or clams. Shellfish tends to be very high in lean protein, giving you a light and healthy first course. Skip the cocktail sauce and go for a squeeze of fresh lemon.”
- Ask about the specials. Don’t see anything that stands out on the menu at first glance? Ask if there’s anything you might not know about. For Coombs, he points out what they call the “Chef’s Special” at Boston Chops and tells us it’s his go-to when in training. “The ‘Chef’s Special’ is an 8oz filet with a side of our spicy broccoli, kale, and an arugula salad,” he says. “I’m particularly partial to our spicy broccoli side dish; the flavor profile comes from spices as opposed to butter and salt, which is usually the norm at a steakhouse.”
- Try a non-meat dish. It might seem slightly unconventional to order anything other than meat at a steakhouse, but Coombs tells us doing so is a great trick if you’re watching what you eat. An example, Boston Chops offers a popular Seared Tuna plate that Coombs tells us people love. “For people who aren’t looking to eat steak, tuna is an excellent option. It’s served with whole wheat soba noodles in a light soy dressing. Soba is a great lower calorie alternative to most starches, and tends to fit in with any diet or carbohydrate count.”
- Nix the butter. “Fine dining restaurants put butter in places you never expect,” Coombs shares. “So, when I go to any steakhouse, I inform my waiter that I have a dairy allergy (even though I don’t) so I know for sure that no butter will be used to cook my steak or sides.” How brilliant.