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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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…
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 🙂 
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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!

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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!
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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

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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

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