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.
IMG_5891
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!
IMG_5879
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.
IMG_0004


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!
IMG_5892
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.
IMG_5886
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.
IMG_0006

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

Advertisements

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

Forum

 

My first Restaurant Week Lunch experience! Forum was chosen because of their outdoor seating, their presence on OpenTable, and the menu looked delicious!

Bread
: None was served during lunch.

Menu: This was my first Restaurant Week Lunch, and the menu looked excellent with 3 options in the first course, 4 in the second, and 2 for dessert. I opted for the Light Lunch for $15.12 and ordered an appetizer and entrée.

Food/Presentation:
Fish Tacos – local cod, red cabbage, pico de gallo, chipotle aioli
Three fish tacos were served in soft tortillas in a taco holder. I guess it’s my fault for not asking, but I assumed the fish would be grilled and not fried. After getting passed that initial disappointed I did end up enjoying this course, especially the chipotle aioli, yum. Not the best fish tacos I’ve ever had but certainly not bad at all.

Flatbread – roasted garlic, butternut squash, ricotta, fontina, basil
Sounds amazing right? Well it would have been had I been in the kitchen. I’ve made a butternut squash flatbread 5 times better than this mess (granted I was following a recipe, but still). The squash seemed to be haphazardly thrown onto the dough, as was the random shreds of basil. The cheese was also a bit overwhelming; the ratio of squash to cheese was way off for me. Maybe it’s my OCD kicking in, but I like flatbreads to be even with each piece consisting of all ingredients. Sub-par 2nd course.

Bathroom: Really nice, with a pretty flower display (I have a thing for branches in arrangements). Two stalls, two sinks, large wide mirror.

Service: I found myself looking around for our server every now and then, wondering where our 2nd course was, and why it was taking so long to bring the bill. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so critical; I tend to have a “hurry up and go” attitude and need to learn to relax every now & then!

Overall: A bit of a disappointment overall. I’m glad I went for Restaurant Week, otherwise I wouldn’t have been happy paying the regular prices for the dishes I ordered: the fish tacos are normally $13 and the flatbread around $15. Salads and Sandwiches run $12-$16 for lunch, and dinner Pastas and Entrées range $26-$38 – kind of steep. Their menu items sound incredible, but then again so did my flatbread. I sat outdoors but the interior had a contemporary yet elegant vibe. Cocktails are a normal city price ($10-$12) so I’d consider returning to sit at their long rectangular bar, which is equip with at least 8 TVs on either side and comfy stools.

The Perfect Bite: Honestly, nothing about this meal was perfect. The fish tacos weren’t bad, I just wish they weren’t fried…

http://forumboston.com

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

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