What happens when a fancy casino steakhouse wants to make a less-expensive, more laid-back offshoot? At Encore Boston Harbor, the result involves decadent grilled cheeses, pigs in a blanket stuffed with wagyu beef, and a literal tower of junk food.
This week, the glittery hotel and casino, located in Everett, debuted Medium Rare Lounge, the little sibling of Rare Steakhouse, its white-tablecloth affair with a menu too fancy to list the prices online and baked Alaska that is set aflame tableside. At Medium Rare, there’s no reservations, no tablecloths, and no expectations of a three-hour dining extravaganza like at Rare. It’s still fancy — that decadent grilled cheese is $20, after all — but not as glamorous as its older sibling.
“This menu is definitely a little less expensive, and it’s shareable,” says Medium Rare’s executive chef Meghan Vaughn. Instead of high-priced steaks, there’s a dry-aged burger, cheeseburger sliders, and desserts like the junk food tower ($32), a plate stacked with a housemade take on the Hostess Sno Ball, Fruity Pebbles treats, cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, whoopie pies, and a pink cloud of cotton candy meant to feed up to four people. “It’s very much sort of a whimsical play on food.”
Vaughn is a recent transplant from Seattle, where she helped run celebrity chef Michael Mina’s upscale steakhouse Bourbon. Before that, career stops included working under another celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck, in an outpost of his high-end steakhouse Cut in Beverly Hills. Now, she’s finally running the show at Medium Rare. “This position is just that next step for me, and I’m really, really excited,” Vaughn says.
Medium Rare Lounge is open from Sunday to Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m., and Friday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. No reservations.