When I arrived with my dining companion at Trina's Starlite Lounge recently I noticed that look on his face that seemed skeptical. We are used to visiting some fine dining establishments in and around Boston and this, to him, seemed like a dive bar. We'd been invited back to try the new menu items and I promised him that it would be an adventure and a pleasant one at that.
Our first adventure was this Southern Wedding Soup. With collards, ditalini, endive and alligator meatballs it did not disappoint. Yes, I said alligator meatballs and I loved them. For anyone who has dared to try alligator you know that it is a tough meat. Ground up, however, it was almost an even richer taste. Boldly served with a boozy drink called The Expatriate (scotch, Carpano Antica, nocino, and black walnut bitters) it was a heavy cocktail to begin a meal with and some thought it was far too stiff a drink to start. To me, it was a chance to throw all conventions aside and just have some fun. I liked the mix.
Next up was a Blistered Beet Salad. Pumpkin agro dolce, Carpone's ricotta, hazelnuts and honey, the dish was paired with a Clarendelle Blanc, Bordeaux. I love a beet salad, rarely make one when cooking at home and always try to order it when I'm dining out and it's available. This was far more of an easy sell to dinner companions and most agreed that it was as good as any served in what might be considered fine dining establishments.
Shooting Star Blue Franc, WA, was our next pairing. The typical reaction to a wine that receives little or no oak aging is that it has a tinny taste and I heard this comment at our table. I thought it had a clean, crisp taste.
The wine was served with this Duet of Crispy Duck and House-Made Cavatelli. The duck was very good. I advised others to try the wine again, after tasting the duck. Somehow, it seemed to improve their first impression.
The cavatelli was very rich, salty, cheesy and satisfying. Not on the menu, I asked a server to bring out a slab of their famous cornbread which seemed to make the dish even better and was passed around and devoured to the last crumb by everyone.
Dessert was Q's Apple Delight served with a sweet Cocchi Vermouth Torino. Basically, an apple crumble sprinkled with crushed ritz crackers for a homey throwback to the kind of comfort food that is unpretentious yet delicious. Exactly what Trina's is all about.
Suzi Maitland, the real star of Trina's, stopped by the table to say hi as we finished our meal and headed out into the snow after a thoroughly satisfying meal.
Trina's Starlite Lounge
3 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA 02143