Blue Dragon

After being thoroughly impressed with my meal at Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger in Wellesley, I’ve been dying to get to his Boston based restaurant Blue Dragon. While both of Chef Tsai’s locations boast East-West tapas style menus, I found Blue Ginger to be more of a casual yet sophisticated environment, and Blue Dragon had more of a comfortable neighborhood  -joint atmosphere. I personally preferred Dragon’s decor, covered in wood and warm earth tones. We also dined early on a snowy Saturday night, which added to the cozy feel.

Matt and I were joined by our two friends for dinner, and we did the tapas menu right! We ordered from just about all 7 menu sections (Snacks, Dim Sum, Veggies, Plates, Rice + Noodles, Platters, Dessert), and were pleasantly stuffed at the end of the meal.

DRINKS
Let’s start with a mocktail, shall we? This one is a take on their Hurricane cocktail, which typically comes with Mt. Gay Black Barrel, passion fruit, bitters, and citrus. Mine was perfectly delicious without the alcohol.

IMG_6385


VEGGIES

Wok-Charred Cauliflower with Thai Chile Harissa
Grilled vegetables with a flavorful dipping sauce? I don’t really care what it is, I’m in. This wasn’t my favorite dish – mainly because we tried incredible plates, and how mind-blowing can cauliflower really be? – BUT it was good and a nice start to the marathon meal.
IMG_6366


DIM SUM

Pork and Scallion Wontons
These wontons were stuffed full of slightly spicy pork and still managed to be light. Granted I only had 1.5 pieces, but I could have easily had all 6 to myself.
IMG_6367
Mushroom and Garlic Chive Potstickers (left)
Braised Short Rib and Chinese Celery Potstickers (right)
I’ll eat some mushrooms in some dishes, but they still aren’t a favorite of mine. I definitely preferred the short rib version of this appetizer.

IMG_6368
PLATES
Indonesian Curried Lamb Shepherd’s Pie
Mmm, shepherd’s pie. What a lovely surprise to see that it was topped with both white and sweet potatoes! Covering the ground curried lamb, the potatoes were whipped and smooth. Comfort food at its best.
IMG_6376
Red Roast Pork Tail with Mango Sticky Rice
Now I know what you’re thinking, because we were thinking it too: a) what the hell did we order, b) something dirty. Luckily the waiter came by and told us what to do with this… thing. It comes on a soft bone and we were instructed to shred the meat off the bone, mix it around with the sauce on top, and eat it with the rice. Once we did that it looked more like edible meat and was actually quite tasty. The pork tail has a lot of flavorful fat so you really have to shred, mix, and combine all components well.
IMG_6371
Duck Confit Rillettes with Scallion Pancakes
At this point there were so many plates on the table that I don’t think I focused on this dish as much as I should have. I grabbed a crispy scallion pancake, topped it with some frisée, a mandarin orange, and a spoonful of duck. This dish was a bit out-shined by the shepherd’s pie and mini burgers…
IMG_6375
Teriyaki Bison Mini Burgers with Smoked Gouda, Caramelized Onions & Shiitakes
I’m a sucker for burgers, and who doesn’t love a mini-burger? These little guys were stacked with flavor, a favorite of mine for sure. We weren’t sure what the sauce was exactly, but it was amazing, tasted great on the burger and as a fry dip. We cleared the plate then kept the remaining sauce to put on whatever we could.
IMG_6370
Vietnamese Chicken Wings with Spicy Caramel Glaze
Chicken wings aren’t my thing, so I didn’t try these, but the general consensus was that they were worth the order.
IMG_6372


RICE + NOODLES

Dan Dan Noodles 
I was craving noodles, and to mix it with ground lamb? It’s a Asian bolognese! This dish had a nice kick to it all well. Definitely one of the top 2 dishes of the night for me.
IMG_6377 IMG_6378
Kimchee Fried Rice with Lobster
Unfortunately the fried egg had to be removed before we mixed up all these goodies (pregnancy problems), but everyone else was able to enjoy that part. Fried rice with lobster sounds so appealing, but this wasn’t a table favorite. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was the last plate of the night and we were all pretty stuffed (this was the only dish we didn’t lick clean). Each one of us also had a few bites that tasted a bit too fishy for our liking. It may not have been a crowd pleaser, but I certainly had no problem taking home the leftovers 🙂 
IMG_6379


DESSERT
The Cookie: Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Served Warm and Topped with Ice Cream and Soy Caramel Sauce
The largest chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever seen was served warm in a hot skillet, topped with vanilla ice cream and a soy caramel sauce. Parts of the cookie center weren’t fully baked, leaving a cookie dough consistency which I think was part of the point. Chocolate chip cookies aren’t on the top of my cookie list, and I typically say vanilla ice cream is a waste of time… but this dessert is a must try!

IMG_6382
The bathrooms were awesome and kept with the “lodge-y” theme and feel of the restaurant. There are 3 private bathrooms (men, women, unisex) which I love. The unisex one has a 1-way mirror over the sink that looks into the kitchen!
IMG_6380
I don’t repeat restaurants often but I hope to go back to Blue Dragon sometime this winter. If not for the incredible food, then for the great cozy atmosphere and friendly wait staff. It’s a bit off the beaten path in the Fort Point area, not directly surrounded by much activity. Perfect for a cold winter night. I hear it’s typically quite crowded, and they don’t take reservations so you may have to wait for a table. But trust me, it will be worth it.

The Perfect Bite: Between the Dan Dan Lamb Noodles and the Lamb Shepherd’s Pie.

http://www.ming.com/blue-dragon.htm

Advertisements

Church

I had heard mixed reviews for Church but wanted to try it out for myself before writing it off. Being a sister restaurant of Coolidge Corner’s Regal Beagle in Brookline I was expecting a strong culinary showing, but instead experienced a slightly disappointing meal and spotty service.

Bread: None. At least we didn’t receive any. I should have realized then that what was to come was nothing impressive.

Menu: Sliders, From the Garden, Grilled Flatbread, From the Sea, From the Farm, Dessert. There were a good amount of options, and part of certain dishes stood out but there wasn’t one that I was immediately drawn to (besides the rosemary duck fat fries, which I didn’t even order). I also need to mention the cocktail menu; it was broken down into two categories, “Seven Deadly Sins” and “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. I commend Church for being creative with their descriptions, but when they omit any mention of the alcohol involved it’s hard to determine what to order!

Food/Presentation:
Margherita Grilled Flatbread: slow roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil
The four of us started with this flatbread as an appetizer. It wasn’t bad but there wasn’t anything particularly memorable about it either. I love any kind of tomato (except maybe sundried) but I didn’t like the way these were prepared.

Warm Baby Spinach Salad: cranberry-thyme vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, molten gorgonzola, and beets
My salad came in a warm skillet, with the ‘molten cheese’ crisped to the bottom of the cast iron pan. It was a little strange that the lettuce was so warm, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The salad was lightly dressed, and a good combination of sweet & savory.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders: buttermilk-blue cheese dressing and celery slaw
Two sliders came topped with slaw; sandwiched between was a pile of fries. Before ordering I assumed the chicken would have been pulled or grilled, so I was pretty disappointed to learn that in between the buns was cubed, slightly fried chicken. The slaw was decent and I liked the sauce, but the square pieces of poultry really threw me off.

Bathroom: The ladies room was actually nice with earth tones, chrome faucets, and bowl sinks which I always find quite pretty.

Service: My friend Alana arrived about 15 minutes before the rest of us and said she waited at least 10 minutes before anyone came over to offer her a drink. Once we arrived and ordered cocktails it took another 15 minutes to receive those. Our waitress was either new, distracted, or just straight up not good at her job. Our salads came before we finished the flatbread, which isn’t a huge deal but I don’t like to be rushed! The rest of the evening was fine, although it did take a while to get the check.

Overall: I think Church is more of a bar / live band scene than a restaurant; I personally would never send anyone there for the food. The cocktails were just ok; I started with Vanity (a vodka & grapefruit concoction) and ended with Death (useless description is above – turned out to be a champagne cocktail). The prices were reasonable at least and the atmosphere was lively and comfortable. The location is so remote (Kilmarnock Street) that I don’t see myself returning any time soon.

Vanity

Vanity

The Perfect Bite: I guess I’ll say the warm spinach, melted gorgonzola, and beets.

 www.churchofboston.com