I have a love/hate relationship with steakhouses.
I, generally, hate going out and spending money on something I can cook perfectly well at home.
On the other hand, I love going to a place that treats me well and provides me with other items that are well prepared that I most likely am not going to prepare for myself at home.
This is the story of my dinner at The Federal in Waltham, MA.
BF and I were reasonably frequent flyers at the bar of The Federal (and of Flank’s before that). We always had a great time - the food was good; the drinks and service were great. I tried Pappy Van Winkle for the first (and so far, only) time there when it was still Flank. The bar at The Federal turned out to be the last place we would eat out at in March of 2020 before everything shut down.
We are still getting used to the whole “eating out” thing in the “now times”. We’d been getting more comfortable with it last fall/early winter and then omicron came and rained on the parade and we holed up back inside the house. After our successful outing to The Gaff a couple weeks ago, we decided to venture forth once more and try to do an early dinner at the bar of The Federal.
We got there at around 6pm on a Friday. Our opening drinks - a filthy vodka (Tito’s) martini for me and a muddled Old Fashioned with rye (Michter’s) for him.
The drinks were well executed. While BF didn’t feel his approached the heights of the one he has memories of from The Vesper Bar in Las Vegas, it got the job done. My martini was as filthy as promised and I enjoyed the blue cheese stuffed olives that they made in house.
Our starters came out fairly quickly thereafter. A half dozen Martha’s Vineyard oysters for me and clam chowder for him. BF enjoyed the flavor and portion size of the chowder. The oysters were nicely briny and had a little minerality to them. I ordered a glass of chablis to accompany (St. Claire, Burgundy) which worked well.
For entrees, BF had the 16 oz. Delmonico and I had the 16 oz. dry aged bone-in sirloin. I also got the bone marrow add-on, which were 2 bone halves. They don’t come with toast, but you can get some baguette to go with it if you ask (I did). I also got a little tub of rosemary sea salt on the side for both the steak and the bone marrow. As a side to accompany our meal, we split the creamed spinach with parmesan croutons.
Both steaks were cooked to medium rare. The bone marrow was the star of the show for me; I ended up bringing about half my steak home. BF switched to beer with his steak (Wormtown Be Hoppy). I had a couple glasses of a Super Tuscan, Pievasciata Vallepicciola. I thought it went well with both the steak and the bone marrow and had some tannins that cut through all the fatty richness nicely.
We skipped dessert in favor of the bourbon list. The Federal is getting much of its bourbons from Heaven Hill Distillery currently. BF ended his meal with the Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel (not on the list, but it’s there if you ask). I got the Larceny Barrel Proof (which clocks in at 126 proof in this batch and was still somehow deadly smooth over ice).
Overall, this was and outstanding meal and the service by the bar staff was superlative. We’re looking forward to our next trip back.