Fresh Haddock at The Boynton on Highland Street in Worcester, MA

There’s a reason The Boynton is hopping on a Tuesday night: locals have come to expect consistently great service paired with delicious comfort food at a price that won’t break the bank. The tavern-like space is expansive and I was impressed to see nary an empty table on what is typically the slowest night of the week for restaurants.

The menu is equally as expansive as the space of the restaurant with staple American dishes that range from steaks to pastas to burgers. Eyeing our neighboring table’s order of fried brussels sprouts, I knew that would be my first foodie venture at The Boynton and I wasn’t disappointed. The presentation was adorable: a small wire fry basket filled with crispy brussels sprouts accompanied by a spicy aioli. The brussels sprouts themselves had a delicious burnt char, which was admittedly addictive. While the aioli was not quite spicy enough for me, it did have good flavor and the creaminess was a welcome compliment. I was further impressed by The Boynton’s french onion soup. I recently had a bowl at a different restaurant and was left disappointed so I was happy to have this dish redeemed. A piping hot, beefy broth chock full of tender onions and topped with a gratinéed mix of bread crumbs and cheese. This soup had a memorable depth of flavor with just the right balance of herbs and spices. Seriously, so good!

My main course consisted of fresh, baked haddock with a side of mixed veggies and mashed potatoes with gravy. This dish was a bit inconsistent for me: while the fish was undoubtedly fresh and cooked to perfection, it lacked flavor and needed a special touch to help elevate it. The mixed veggies, while fresh and not frozen, were over-seasoned and a bit limp. I did, however, love the mashed potatoes and gravy — they were flavorful, creamy, whipped to just the right consistency and the gravy was finger-licking good.

Our servers were pros at managing a large group — food came out fast and hot and drinks never ran empty. Our waitress even perfected the art of navigating multiple checks without flaw….something I have not seen many servers accomplish at a restaurant as busy as The Boynton.

I would definitely return to The Boynton, if not for the french onion soup, then for the fried whole belly clams that caught my eye on the specials menu. If they’re as good as the fried brussels sprouts, then they’re going to be exquisite. As I was exiting the restaurant, I saw waitresses bringing out six crock pots of french onion soup so, clearly, I am not the only one who thinks that appetizer is one of their winning dishes.