Trade

The first time I visited Trade was back in May 2012, about 6 months after the grand opening. My friend and I split a few items, including the burrrata, tomato & fennel soup, Trade’s famous lamb & sausage flatbread, and a chocolate budino for dessert. I enjoyed everything we ordered but never found my way back to 540 Atlantic Ave. This is no way reflects the menu items, but has more to do with the fact that the Boston restaurant scene is booming, and I’m trying (and failing) to keep up with all of the new openings.

I was lucky enough to recently meet Meghan Brady at last month’s Helping Hands event, sponsored by the Columbus Hospitality Group. Meghan is Trade’s Events & Marketing Manager, and she invited me into Trade last week to chat with her and indulge in some of Trade’s signature fall favorites.

Pumpkin Soup with pickled apples, pepitas, and honey
I just adore soup so I’m typically a tough critic when it comes to this fall / winter staple. I prefer purées topped with some sort of added crunch or texture, and that’s exactly what I got with Trade’s pumpkin soup. The consistency was perfectly smooth without being too thin or watered down. The honey added a slight sweetness, and the apples and pepitas provided that level of texture I always look for.
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Chicken Meatballs with provolone, sage, and pine nuts
Three meatballs came in a cheesy tomato sauce. Not only were the meatballs surrounded by pine nuts, but they also contained pine nut purée, adding flavor and moisture to the meat. Chicken meatballs aren’t a menu selection I see often, so I’m glad we ordered these. Highly recommended!
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Farrotto with squash, raisins, and pecorino
I have never heard of Farrotto before, and that’s because it’s a hybrid of farro and risotto. Brilliant! This dish is exactly what I’m looking for on a cool fall day: packed full of winter squash, cheesy, buttery, and a great comfort food appetizer. I highly suggest ordering this as a starter or side to split; it’s decadent and a must try.
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Mushroom, Fig, Sage Pesto, Gorgonzola, Walnut Flatbread

I really wanted to try a flatbread, and this one sounded so tasty. Too bad I can’t have Gorgonzola cheese (damn pregnancy rules); so in its place I substituted ricotta salata. It was definitely good, but I’m pretty sure it would have been 10 times better with the Gorgonzola. You just can’t substitute that type of flavor!
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Ginger-Braised Beef Short Rib with turnips, curry carrots, and orange
I couldn’t leave without trying at least one entree, so we ordered the short rib. The picture doesn’t really do it justice since you can’t get a good view of the meat, but just as you’d hope and expect, it pulls apart easily and basically melts in your mouth. This dish had great levels of flavor with the curried carrots, tangy orange, and savory meat.
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And last but not least, I was kindly treated to a birthday Apple Cake, as it was the day before my big 30th. What a great way to end a ‘flavors of the fall’ inspired meal.
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Trade has a great menu for splitting dishes among a group, but also offers enough entrees so you don’t have to feel pressured to share. The restaurant space is an open concept, so the bar and lounge blend into the dining area, which keeps the entire atmosphere lively and energetic. Trade’s private dining room is separated from the restaurant by a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. When it’s not occupied by a large group, the space is available for every day diners.

Serving lunch and dinner daily, Trade has a variety of options that can please everyone in your crowd. Keep you eyes peeled, possibly next summer, for some potential outdoor patio space!

http://trade-boston.com

Temazcal

There are/were quite a few new waterfront restaurants on my list but I think Temazcal has been on it the longest. I’m not sure what took me so long – could have been the pricey apps, or maybe it’s the trouble I have pronouncing it (Tezmacal? no… Temzacal? no!) – but I finally made it to the upscale Mexican eatery, TEMAZCAL.

courtesy of the website

courtesy of the website

Bread: Chips served with 3 dips of salsa verde, refried beans, and salsa. The chips were crunchy and not overly salted or greasy. The red salsa had a small kick to it while the salsa verde added a sweet component.

Menu: This is the first time I’ve ever seen iPads for menus. Waste of money? Probably. Super cool futuristic addition to a modern restaurant? Yes, yes it is. However it’s tough to keep up to date with current technology; while I was impressed we also made comments about how the menus were the 1st generation iPads and were “heavy”, “thick”, and “out dated”. Still, I thought it was pretty neat, especially b/c they showed you photos of each menu item.

Also a plus, I already knew how to navigate the menu as it reflects the same layout as the website: Antojitos (apps), Ensaladas y Sopas, Entradas, Tequilas, Vinos, Cocteles (cocktails), Cerveza, Spirits.

Food/Presentation:
Guacamole Langosta: lobster, avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano chilies
I was debating if this was worth the $18 and was curious if it would even feed 5 people. It was definitely worth it and it more than fed the 5 of us as an appetizer. The guacamole was tossed with small chunks of lobster and topped with chopped tomatoes and larger pieces of lobster. How can this not be a winner?

Dorado Mojo de Ajo: grilled mahi mahi, roasted garlic sauce, chile de arbol, plantain mash
The mahi mahi topped mashed plantains & roasted peppers and was smothered with a potent garlic sauce. The fish was great and the dish was flavorful, but just a drizzle of the sauce would have sufficed. This was my first time trying plantain mash and I really enjoyed it.

Bathroom: Each restroom entrance door is paneled with unfinished wood and labeled with a silver “M” or “W”.  The women’s room has 4 stalls and 2 shallow white porcelain square sinks. Half of the walls are lined with small lime green tiles while the half is rough white laid stone. Really pretty!



Service: Our server was great and all of the food came out on time. I just had 1 small issue with a bar tender… I ordered the beautiful strawberry/watermelon Moijto I had been eyeing on the iPad and was confused when a regular plain Mojito came my way. I asked the bar tender why mine wasn’t pretty & pink and apparently the fancy Mojito has a specific name (Sueno Rojo). While this is technically my mistake he made no attempt to remedy the situation, essentially told me with his inattentive demeanor that I was shit out of luck, and went about his business completely ignoring my disappointment. Luckily I spoke with another (better) bar tender that easily remixed the drink to my liking. Now was that so hard?

Sueno Rojo: twist on the classic Mojito with strawberry & watermelon puree

Sueno Rojo: twist on the classic Mojito with strawberry & watermelon puree

Overall: Similar to other new hot spots on the Seaport/Northern Ave strip, Temazcal has incredible patio seating overlooking Boston Harbor. We had the perfect table for the evening, outside on the boardwalk watching the planes fly in and boats sail by. The menu is more authentic Mexican than Tex-Mex and is essentially all in Spanish (thank god for the English descriptions). The appetizers are a bit unreasonably priced – 2 tacos will cost you $13-$16 and 1 quesadilla is $14, however the America Style Quesadillas come 4 to a plate at the same price. The entrees were more standard running $18-$32 with decent size portions. Overall the atmosphere is perfect for the summer; with the large floor to ceiling windows open to the ocean you feel like your dining outside no matter where your table is located.

our table

our table


The Perfect Bite
: Chip with guacamole and lobster meat!

http://www.temazcalcantina.com

For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectBiteBoston

Legal Harborside

Legal Harborside sure does have a lot of hype surrounding it, and it should with its vast views of Boston Harbor and 3 expansive floors (1st fl-casual restaurant and raw bar; 2nd fl-fine dining; 3rd fl-roof deck and sushi bar). I’ve heard of celebrities and Patriot players frequenting the 3rd floor and just about every 20-something I know has had a cocktail at this new waterfront hot spot. With a revitalized dinner menu and beautiful patio space, it was about time I give this Legal establishment a try!

1st floor, view from our table

1st floor, view from our table

1st fl, showing the circular bar

1st fl, showing the circular bar

Bread: Typical Legal’s rolls (forgot to snap a pic!), served hot with packets of butter. Sure the whole Legal Harborside menu concept is different, but there’s no reason to change these simple yet delicious rolls!

Menu: On the Half Shell, Plates to Share, Starters, Chowders & Salads, Ode to Inman Square, Pasta & Sandwiches, Wood Burning Grill. As you can see there are many options to choose from and I couldn’t decide if I was in the mood for a lighter salad or more of a hearty meal like the fish (or braised short rib) tacos. Being we were at a seafood restaurant I went with the Crabmeat Salad as my entrée.

Food/Presentation:
Bruschetta (served on toasted crostini):
First off, I’m not sure why they even call it Bruschetta. Good thing there’s the disclaimer of “served on toasted crostini” or else there may be some unhappy campers.

Grilled Corn, Chipotle Cream, Cilantro
Fresh corn with a bit of a kick from the chipotle cream, really good. I would have loved to pour this onto a salad with some avocado and chopped tomatoes!
Whipped Gorgonzola & Fig Jam
As the description said “fig jam” I was pleasantly surprised to see whole figs on the crostini. I adore figs so I enjoyed this one but could have used a bit more whipped gorgonzola.

Crabmeat Salad: avocado, tomato, cucumber, egg, whole grain mustard dressing
A generous portion of crabmeat was piled onto ½ of an avocado, surrounded by tomato wedges, cucumber slices, and hard boiled egg. It would have been more salad-like if they chopped all of the items and placed the crabmeat on top, but that’s just me being picky (and lazy). The dressing was excellent, and the veggies appeared to be fresh… I just always forget that I don’t love crabmeat (unless it’s in sushi). This meal wasn’t bad, but I kind of wish I went with the fish tacos.

Bathroom: There are about 8 private 1-room restrooms, each indicated with a sign to be either a Men’s or Women’s room. I can only image that each one has a full toilet so I’m not sure why they aren’t unisex; the only reason I’m being critical is b/c there was a line of about 4 women waiting for a restroom while there were at least 2 “Men’s” rooms open. The one I used had cream colored tiled walls, and automatic sinks & hand dryers.

Service: I wasn’t thrilled when our entrees arrived while Matt was still finishing up his mussels. Let us enjoy our appetizers! Our waiter Scott did a great job though, warning us that a) the bruschetta wasn’t actually bruschetta and b) the Crabmeat Salad (and Swordfish Salad that my parents ordered) weren’t your typical Salads as they weren’t served with any greens – maybe they need to rethink the titles on their menu.

Overall: I’ve always thought the food at Legal Seafoods was good, but nothing ever really impressed me. I was anxious to try Legal Harborside as this location offered a brand new menu. Once again I walked away feeling as though I had a good meal, but I wasn’t overly excited about the cuisine. I only tried a couple of items so I can’t generalize, and I will note that my parents and Matt really enjoyed their Swordfish and Tuna. While I personally didn’t love the food, the atmosphere and location however cannot be beat. At 6pm on a Wednesday the place was packed; almost every table was taken and the bar was completely full. Each of the 3 floors offers outdoor space with incredible views of the harbor that you can’t find anywhere else.
After dinner we went to the 3rd floor for a drink (after waiting in a 15 minute line!) where there is a large bar, long high tops, and comfy couches where you can sip cocktails and snack on sushi. This is clearly the place to be and I’m looking forward to going back to the 3rd floor as soon as possible.

3rd fl bar (mirror reflecting view of harbor)

3rd fl bar (mirror reflecting view of harbor)

The Perfect Bite: This time it’s the perfect sip of the Yumberry Sangria.

http://www.legalseafoods.com/restaurants/boston-legal-harborside

For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectBiteBoston

Trade

I’m a big fan of Jody Adams’ Rialto located in Harvard Square. I’ve been twice and each time have had unforgettable meals. When I heard about the beginning stages of Trade I could not contain my excitment, espcially because this concept would be more casual and affordable than the sophisticated and elegant Rialto. It took a few months since Trade’s debut, but I finally made my way to the Waterfront…

Bread: We were not served bread. Which I found strange and disappointing.

Menu: Small (tapas plates), Soups & Salads, Flatbreads, Plates (entrees), A Little Extra (sides). The smaller shareable plates offer a far share of seafood, the 4 flatbreads all sounded appetizing, and the entrées feature at least one pasta, fish, chicken, burger, and steak. I saw a variety of options from each section so my friend and I decided to share the following…

Food/Presentation:
Local Burrata with almonds, dates and balsamic
Two large pieces of burrata were served next to 3 long crostini and topped with chopped almonds. Date spread was smeared on the plate for dipping. I enjoyed the textures and flavors of this Small Plate; the cheese was soft and creamy on the inside as burrata should be, the bread was crunchy & drizzled with oil, and the dates added a subtle sweet component.

Tomato and Roasted Fennel Soup with curried yogurt, honey and Asiago
The soup was drizzled with honey & yogurt (and some unfamiliar leaves); an Asiago cheese stick was placed across the bowl for dipping. I’m usually a fan of anything with tomatoes (especially soup) and this dish was no different. I missed the fennel flavor but enjoyed the slight curry taste.

Lamb Sausage Flatbread with eggplant, Manchego, peppers and garlic yogurt
An oblong thin crust flatbread was served on a wooden board, topped with eggplant spread, roasted peppers, shaved Manchego, mint leaves, and garlic yogurt drizzle. I failed to mention the lamb sausage for a reason as it was more of ground lamb and somewhat sparse throughout the pizza. While this was tasty I was underwhelmed and disappointed in the small amounts of lamb. I expect a lot from Chef Adams, and she never fails to impress me! I was just hoping for more with this flatbread.

Taza Chocolate Budino with sea salt, rosemary and hazelnut wafer
A small ramekin came filled with chocolate “pudding” and topped with sea salt and a single rosemary leaf. The hazelnut wafer was a great contrast to the sweet chocolate and strong salt presence. The pudding was dense, thick, filling, and delicious.

Bathroom: One of my favorite bathrooms in the city, mainly because of the three private stalls! I love the raised square sinks and the bright blue stall doors against the mainly all white restroom.

Service: Our waitress seemed uninterested at first, almost annoyed. We were undecided on drinks and dinner so we asked a few questions about cocktail ingredients and food portion sizes. While she was able to answer the questions, we were somehow more confused after hearing her answers. The burrata and soup came out together and before we were finished the flatbread was brought to the table. Since we were sharing everything it wasn’t a big deal, I was just expecting to have the flatbread after the 1st course. While our server seemed hurried at times, we never felt rushed. Overall an ok service experience.

courtesy of Trade website

courtesy of Trade website

Overall: My first impression of Trade is a great one: I enjoy the open bar/lounge area fit with free standing high tops & banquettes and plenty of standing/mingling space. The dangling bulb lighting gives the illusion of a starry night, while larger domed lighting fixtures decorate the dining room. Exposed ceiling piping gives it an industrial feel, and the wooden tables & chairs with accent primary colors add a modern tone. I enjoyed the food and wouldn’t hesitate to go back and try another flatbread and any one of the entrees. My work at Trade is not complete; there’s more food to try and more cocktails to taste!

Rum Trade and Study Abroad

Rum Trade and Study Abroad

The Perfect Bite: Oiled crostini, date spread, creamy buratta. There’s no cheese like it!

www.trade-boston.com

postcard presented w the check

postcard presented w the check

For more photos & descriptions visit my Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectBiteBoston

Miel Brasserie Provencale

I’m not typically drawn to French cuisine but I had heard good things about Miel and was excited to try it out. Matt & I originally planned on using our $50 Groupon to the Barking Crab, but they don’t take reservations on weekends and after calling ahead found out there was a “38 person wait for the 16 tables”. For whatever reason they couldn’t tell us what that meant in terms of hours, so instead of wasting time & waiting around we hit up OpenTable. Located in the InterContinental hotel overlooking Boston Harbor, Miel has a classic raw bar and a menu focusing on specific flavors such as herbs, lavender, honey and olive oil. Sounds refreshing!

Bread: Four slices of warm, soft focaccia bread were delivered with a side of creamy hummus; a bottle of EVOO was already at the table. At first I was confused about their bread plates with the ridges, but Matt compared this to how you use a paint roller & the paint tin to remove the excess paint. Perhaps we’re way off, but I bought it…

Menu: Seafood Raw Bar, Soups, Salads, Appetizers, Entrees, and Side Dishes. There were a couple of dishes that caught my eye, like the Parsnip & Chestnut Bisque, the Honey Basil & Scallops, and any one of those pasta options, but I was looking for a lighter meal so I went with a 1-course entrée option.

Food/Presentation:
Grilled Tuna Steak a la Marseillaise: medium rare tuna with tomato & olive sauce, creamy sun-dried tomato, basil polenta with mascarpone
I enjoy tuna but the driving factor for ordering this dish were the accompaniments, mainly the Basil Polenta with Mascarpone. What I received was tuna, tomatoes, green beans, artichokes and pesto, with a side of baked, dried, plain polenta. I have never been more disappointed! The description in no way matched what was put in front of me. Thankfully the meal was good, so I finished it without any complaints to the server about the menu discrepancies. The polenta however wasn’t worth 2 forkfuls, so I left pretty dissatisfied with the whole experience.

Service: The service was a bit spotty; we arrived to an empty, dimly light dining room where there was no one to greet us. If I hadn’t made a successful reservation on OpenTable I would have thought they were closed. We were eventually led to a table in the back part of the restaurant where everyone else was seated. Our waiter took our wine order and brought us bread, but there was a different hurried server who took our app/entrée order. Our meals arrived in a timely manner; too bad it wasn’t what I thought I ordered (see above). Matt asked for a side of asparagus that only came ½ way through our meal because we reminded waiter #1 that he had ordered it.

Overall: The food was fine, but we clearly didn’t have the best experience. The dining room seemed empty for a Saturday night at 8pm. The tables were so spread out and I was uncomfortable with the amount of bare floor space – it felt like something was missing! They have an outdoor patio overlooking the water that would be nice to have a drink on. I’d maybe go back for the other tempting menu items, but who knows if those are even accurate.

The Perfect Bite: The bread was really excellent, especially dipped in that creamy hummus.

www.intercontinentalboston.com