First Look: Encore Boston Harbor’s Acclaimed Steakhouse Gets a Little Sibling

Medium Rare Lounge opens on April 12 with a menu that includes a dry-aged burger, wagyu pigs in a blanket, a raw bar, and a giant dessert platter.

A thick cheeseburger with tomato and lettuce is accompanied by thick steak fries.

Medium Rare Lounge’s steakhouse burger features dry-aged beef with peppered bacon, aged cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, on a brioche bun. It’s shown here with Medium Rare’s “BDF”—”best damn fries”—with truffle, parmesan, and béarnaise. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Maybe it’s been a winning day at the casino, and you’re looking for a celebratory feast—a seafood tower, a fancy steak, the works. That’s where Encore Boston Harbor’s Rare Steakhouse comes in, complete with Kobe beef aplenty. But for something a little more casual, a little less spendy, Encore opens the steakhouse-adjacent Medium Rare Lounge on April 12. Here, you’ll snack on wagyu beef pigs in a blanket, an over-the-top grilled cheese sandwich, steak frites, and a towering platter of sweet treats.

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“We want to give you the same experience [as Rare], but in a less intimidating type of environment,” says Robert Ash, executive director of culinary operations at Encore. “Grab some great food at the same quality as Rare. It’s coming from the same kitchen.”

A glass plate is full of hummus and a colorful array of raw vegetables. Crispy crackers are visible in the background.

Medium Rare Lounge’s hummus comes with vegetables and chickpea crackers. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

In a few cases, you’ll even find the same dishes on the two menus—the prime cheesesteak bites, for example, are available at both spots. But for the most part, Medium Rare is its own thing, a welcoming lounge full of dark wood and dark liquors. (The selection of spirits is meant to be approachable and fun, says Ash, with a focus on bourbon and other whiskeys. The team is even bringing in custom barrels through partnerships with distilleries such as Whistlepig and Maker’s Mark.)

Interior of a classy bar, empty of patrons. Lots of dark wood tones and elegant lounge seating.

Medium Rare Lounge. / Photo courtesy of Encore Boston Harbor

Despite the eye toward approachability, the lounge still feels elegant—but touches of whimsy keep things grounded: caviar-topped salmon and tuna cones look like little ice cream cones; the dessert menu includes a big platter of cookies, cupcakes, and more. “Who doesn’t love junk food?” says Ash.

“Another fun dish is a play on escargot,” says Ash: “steakcargot.” Think cubes of steak in rich, garlicky butter, topped with Gruyère and lemony breadcrumbs, with garlic toast on the side.

Two small cones of caviar-topped seafood are held in a metal stand.

“The Cones” at Medium Rare Lounge: Ora King salmon tartare with pink peppercorn-lemon vinaigrette, chives, avocado, and caviar; Maine lobster salad with celery, tarragon aioli, avocado, and caviar. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Ash’s duties involve overseeing culinary operations throughout the entire resort, so Rare and Medium Rare have their own executive chef—Megan Vaughan, who is new to Boston but brings an extensive resume of steakhouse experience, including time as executive sous chef at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut in Beverly Hills and as executive chef at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak in Seattle.

Vaughan is particularly excited for customers to try the Medium Rare burger, which is topped with peppered bacon, aged cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. “A lounge or bar should always have a good burger,” says Vaughan, citing the dry-aged beef as a distinguishing feature of Medium Rare’s take on the omnipresent dish. “That flavor, that nuttiness, makes for a great, great burger.” (Try pairing it with Wild Wood, Medium Rare’s spin on a whiskey sour, featuring an Encore-exclusive barrel from Maker’s Mark.) The burger comes with standard fries, but smart diners will upgrade to the “best damn fries,” which the Medium Rare team affectionately call “BDF.”

Big wooden doors open to reveal a classy bar with elegant dark wood features.

Medium Rare Lounge. / Photo courtesy of Encore Boston Harbor

“Oh man, those fries are a process,” says Vaughan, “but they’re worth it.” Their preparation is a lengthy procedure that includes hand-cutting the potatoes into jumbo wedges, washing multiple times to remove starch, blanching twice, freezing, and frying. They’re seasoned with parmesan, parsley, and truffle salt and oil—“a lot of truffle,” says Ash, and served with ketchup and béarnaise. “Just decadent.”

Three mini lobster rolls are lined up on a glass plate on a wooden table.

Medium Rare Lounge’s mini Maine lobster rolls dress up lobster with celery and tarragon aioli, served on toasted brioche. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

It’s easy to see the various ways Medium Rare will fit in at Encore. Tasty fries and a bacon trio before a night out at Mémoire, Encore’s nightclub? Check. Hearty steak frites at a comfortable bar after a day of gambling? Check. Late-night warm chocolate cake with whiskey ice cream and bacon caramel popcorn before retiring to your hotel room? Check.

Medium Rare is set to open on Wednesday, April 12, serving dinner nightly. No reservations.

A cone of pink cotton candy is the centerpiece of a plate full of treats.

Medium Rare Lounge’s “junk food tower” includes coconut Sno Balls, cupcakes (currently Black Forest, but flavors will rotate), Fruity Pebbles treats, chocolate chip cookies, birthday cake whoopie pies, and cotton candy. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Encore Boston Harbor, 1 Broadway, Everett,