If you are looking for lots of flavors, go to Trade! Tradeis located in a really cool space (an old furniture store) on the waterfront, with high ceilings and open floor plan. The dishes served offer guests a variety of flavors from around the world. I would recommend going to a small group, 2-3 people and just ordering the small plates and sides. The entrees were good but the best part of the meal were the apps and sides. The small plates were exceptional and incorporated so many savory flavors and spices; I was blown away. The down side to amazingly delicious appetizers? You expect the entrees to be just as good, if not better, and that was not the case here. Now don’t get me wrong, my meal (Seared Blue Fish) was really good but the flavors failed to pop as much as they did in the small plates.
My boss took my co-workers and I out for lunch last week. We all started with a Cucumber Lemonade. It was very refreshing on the first 98 degree day of the summer. Not only refreshing but good! I have started doing this myself at home. The cocktail menu looks interesting with a honey-bourbon based drink, a tequila grapefruit concoction, and more. As good as some of them sounded, being on a lunch outing and having to go back to work after meant no drinks for me, but definitely next time!
We shared a bunch of appetizers to start. My co-workers ordered some of the non-GF small plates, which they enjoyed – and you could tell this to your boyfriend/husband/friend – but I am not even going to comment on those because …well…we can’t eat them! They have an allergy menu, noting each item that is GF, DF and NF (gluten, dairy and nut free). All you have to do is ask for it when you sit down.
The Pomegranate-glazed Eggplant with capers olives and pine nuts was my favorite appetizer. The sweetness from the pomegranate and a little crunch from the pine nuts were just delicious; such a great combination.
I also really liked the Spicy head-on shrimp with piri piri peppers. The small vibrant red peppers are not as hot as jalapeños but certainly had a nice little chick to them.
The table also shared the avocado with green mango-tamarind-peanut chutney. Although I did not try this (I don’t eat peanuts either remember?!), it was a favorite among the group. They said the avocados were perfectly ripe.
Vanessa ordered the gingered beets with ricotta salata, sunflower seeds and whole grain mustard and I was able to try a few bites. Ricotta salata(“salted”) is a variation of ricotta that has been pressed, salted and dried. It is hard and white and has a mildly salty, nutty and milky flavor to it. The salad had both golden and red beets, with a very strong and way too overpowering ginger flavor. (For the record, John, my boss, and Vanessa loved it.)
For my entrée I ordered the Seared Bluefish with smoked corn and tomato succotash, green garlic and basil. Bluefish is known for it’s strong and oily taste. This piece was not so oily and the fishiness was toned down considerably. I’m not exactly sure how they did this but it was very good. I wasn’t a fan of the smoked corn, I don’t know what I was excepting because I don’t usually like smoked dishes but I just pushed it off to the side. The garlic and basil were blended very finely into a sauce, just wish there had been more if it!
Vanessa, my gluten free co-worker, ordered the Grilled Farm Skirt Steak with fries. I did not try the steak but Vanessa said it was mediocre, at best. John had said the same thing; it’s what he ordered the first time he ate at Trade. (Aimee really liked it). The fries were too salty for my taste, so overall I’d say stay away from this dish, as there are so many other delicious menu items to choose from.
We ordered to sides to share. Let me make a correction, we ordered two of each because it was that good and we all wanted it! The Sautéed greens with chili flakes and garlic, and the Roasted Cauliflowerwith curry raisins and cilantro and a yogurt sauce were both very tasty. The side surpassed my entrée. The flavors are so pronounced, just unbelievably good. I absolutely loved the cauliflower and will be trying this at home very very soon.
For dessert there are three gluten free options. Vanessa and I split two. The Taza chocolate budino with sea salt, rosemary, without the hazelnut wafer ($9). Budino is Italian for pudding. The pudding was so thick and just so-so. The rosemary oil on top was too much for me and I did not like it. I’ve realized, I’m not a savory-sweet dessert mixing kind of girl. But we both really enjoyed Christina’s Ginger Ice Cream with pistachio nuts and chili-chocolate sauce, yum! The ginger was prominent but not overpowering and the chocolate had just a slight hint of chili.
As for the service? Not bad. Not overly exceptional, but our waiter was attentive despite being the middle of the lunch rush. As a huge – and very fast – water drinker, this would be my only complaint: More Water, More Frequently. I don’t think anyone else felt this way, but then again no one else drinks half a gallon of water at lunch, besides my boyfriend.
Location: 540 Atlantic Avenue, Boston MA (closest T stop – South Station)