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

Stephie’s on Tremont

OpenTable (yet again) led me to this 1,000 point reservation at Stephie’s on Tremont in the South End. I’ve been to its sister restaurant Stephanie’s on Newbury a few times, many years ago, but haven’t returned as it tends to be typecast as the (expensive) “place to be” on Newbury. The menu style remains the same between the two and the food items are actually quite similar; what sets these two apart is the atmosphere & ambiance, type of clientele, and (slight) price different.

Bread: This sliced loaf of warm bread was wrapped in paper and smeared with herb butter. It was a bit messy as the top of each piece was covered in melted butter, but it wasn’t overly buttered so I wasn’t complaining.

Menu: The dinner menu consists of Appetizers, Signature Salads, Comfort Food Classics, Dinner Specialties, and Sides. A couple of the entrees looked enticing but I wanted to dabble in a few different plates so I went with an app, salad, and side to share.

Food/Presentation:
Duck Confit Spring Rolls: tender duck, shredded vegetables, noodles, peanuts, lemongrass, fresh ginger & sweet chili wrapped in rice paper and pan fried, served with hoisin barbecue sauce
Four spring rolls came next to diced scallions and what I believe was shredded pickled beets. Matt & I were really excited for this app but it was just ok; the sauces weren’t bad but the actual rolls lacked flavor and needed more duck meat.

Roast Turkey Club Goes Salad: house roasted turkey, aged cheddar cheese, thick sliced tomato, ripe avocado and brioche croutons served with romaine & iceberg lettuce, whole grain mustard vinaigrette
What a salad! From what I first saw, the lettuce was topped with thick slices of roasted turkey, ½ an avocado, croutons, and was drizzled with mustard vinaigrette. After slicing and chopping away this salad really came together. The vinaigrette was amazing (I’m obsessed with mustard – except yellow mustard, waste of time!) and I could have bought a case of the dressing on the spot. The salad itself was large, hearty & healthy, with a lot of flavor and substance. Really excellent. I know “salads” can be boring but I’d order this again in a heartbeat. FYI, this salad is originally served with bacon for all you piggie lovers out there.

Rosemary Parmesan French Fries
A pile of thin cut hot fires came in a cast iron dish topped with sprinkles of parmesan. I didn’t really see or taste the rosemary, which is the part I was most excited about. But I adore thin cut fries and these were pretty good with the perfect amount of crisp & crunch!

Bathroom: The restroom was nice with a marble countertop, trough-type sink, oversized mirror, subdued earth tones, and 2 stalls. Nothing necessarily stood out but it was clean and had automatic faucets!

Service: One thing that Matt loved is that our bread came out before we placed our order. Typically most restaurants wait to deliver the bread until after people have decided on food; I figure they want people to remain hungry and order appetizers, so they wait to bring the bread until after everyone has chosen their apps/entrees etc. Either way doesn’t matter to me, I just want the bread, and I want it to be warm & delicious!

Overall: Stephie’s on Tremont certainly has a more casual, laid back vibe compared to its sister spot on Newbury Street. Prices are moderate with apps & salads ranging $8-$19 and entrees $15-$27. Stephie’s has a long bar with multiple TVs and a dining room with a majority of banquette seating. I may not rush back (since I’m always looking to try something new) but with their outdoor patio and great food I’d suggest you give it a shot if you haven’t already. They also have a decent cocktail list, including this Spiced Pear Martini.

The Perfect Bite: Salad with turkey, avocado, and mustard vinaigrette. The leftovers were amazing as well!

www.stephisontremont.com

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

B Street

 We tried B Street recently for brunch, and after drooling over the dinner menu I knew we’d be back soon. Bonus: B Street is on Restaurant.com which offered us a $50 gift card for $25. Small catch, you have to spend $100. But with this incredible menu that wasn’t a problem!

Bread: Three slices arrived for the 2 of us with a side of EVOO. When I saw the bread being delivered earlier I wasn’t too excited but it was actually better than it looked. The EVOO was plain which was a tad disappointing, but the bread was soft and filling.

Menu: The winter menu features Soups & Salads, Starters, Entrees and Additions. It may sound simple but I’ve never been more overwhelmed with mouth-watering options! I wanted 4 out of the 6 Soups & Salads, 6 out of the 8 Starters, and just about every entrée had something special that was calling my name. They also have a fun cocktail list, although only a couple caught my eye (like this Ruby Slipper).
Matt & I were torn on our food decision, so decided to order tapas style…

Food/Presentation:
Salmon Tartar: Asian Style Spices, Ginger, Sesame & Sweet Pepper with Baked Wonton Crisps
The tartar was cubed perfectly and I was happy to see it was salmon instead of the usually tuna. It didn’t appear to be that great of a portion at first, but it was more than enough for the 2 of us to share.

Grilled Flatbread: Fig Jam, Duck Confit, and Gorgonzola
No picture can do this justice! I love almost anything with fig, but pair it with duck & gorgonzola on a flatbread? Amazing! I would order this again in a heartbeat and urge you to try it ASAP.

Turkey Chili: Butternut Squash & Tomatoes, topped with Vermont Cheddar & House Baked Tortilla Chips
Served in a small cast iron bowl, the chili came topped with the melted cheese and tortilla chips. While there were plenty of pieces of squash, I was expecting more of a butternut squash flavor. This dish was good & hearty, and I wouldn’t discourage you from trying it but it wasn’t my favorite of the evening.

AND FOR MATT…
Sweet Corn Bisque with a Polenta Crouton
The soup consistency was in between a broth based and a thick puree. It was so delicious that I completely forgot about the lack of the polenta crouton (which I was truly looking forward to).

Arugula Salad: Poached Eggs, Grape Tomatoes, Shaved Parmesan & Cracker Pepper Vinaigrette
I don’t love runny/poached eggs, but I tried a bite anyways. Not bad, but it wouldn’t personally be my first choice of salad.

Bathroom: A 1 room/stall unisex bathroom. The bright red walls and square flat sink gave it a little edge, and I particularly liked the giant photo of a 1950’s housewife eating pie.

Service: I don’t fully understand why restaurants don’t take reservations, which is probably my only issue with B Street. We waited about 20-30 mins in a cramped hallway, but the hostess checked on us a couple of times. Jackie was our server for brunch a couple of weekends ago and luckily for us we sat in her section again this evening. The place was jam-packed and she could have been understandably over-whelmed and frantic, but she was the opposite. She gave us plenty of time to enjoy our starters before we ordered our 2nd course. She was really friendly and I’ll be requesting her for our next visit.

Overall: B Street is small in size but mighty in offerings and flavor! They have a cute bar and have optimized seating with some booths, banquettes, and high tops. The menu is outrageous in a ‘I want everything I see’ kind of way; the entrées really do sound excellent, but they can wait! The Winter Menu will only be around for another month or two, so I’m going back soon for the Braised Short Rib Quesadilla and the Pumpkin Hummus with Grilled Naan Bread.

photo from B Street website

photo from B Street website

The Perfect Bite: I’m still dreaming about the Corn Bisque and the Flatbread. If I must choose… it has to be the Fig Jam & Duck Confit Flatbread with that strong Gorgonzola – amazing flavor!

http://www.bstreetnewton.com