Not only was Wednesday Girl’s Night Out (GNO), but the title of this blog was written on the wall of a bathroom stall at Match Burgers & Martinis that night… making it a fitting title for today’s blog.
My girlfriend Ami (aka “The Hamster”… you may have seen her past comments) and I went out for a much-need GNO. Not really having a preference as to where to go this time… I looked for a place that was easy to get to, not to far from her place and that had a good “going out” atmosphere. We settled on Match Burgers & Martinis, located on Mass. Ave, between Newbury and Comm. Ave — in the space previously occupied by the Blue Cat Cafe. Granted, Match was not on my wish list… but I had heard some decent things about it so I chose atmosphere over cuisine.
We arrived at 6:30… 30 minutes before our reservation time… to a $16 valet charge and an empty restaurant, so we decided to sit at the bar for a drink first. The first thing I noticed was that the bartender was very attractive… and then I noticed that the waitstaff (mostly, if not all) female, was attractive too. Not only that, but they wear “uniforms” if you can call them that. Skimpy, little, clingy, flowy mini-dresses. I wondered if they would hire someone even a few pounds overweight, as you need to be anorexic to look good in this dress.
The bartender came over fairly quickly (the bar was almost empty) and asked if we wanted a martini menu. We accepted and I noticed an additional food menu listed with the martinis, which I assumed was the “bar menu” — as it was rather limited. There were about 12 to 15 martinis listed down the left side of the menu and most sounded really good.
I decided on the East Meets West Martini — a concoction of Grey Goose vodka and Elderberry Liquor muddled with Kaffir lime and lychee juice (all martinis are $12). Ami got a standard vodka martini w/ olives. I loved my drink… it was delicious and seemed to have a fair amount of alcohol in it (which it should, for 12 bucks a pop). Lychee is one of my absolutely favorite fruits, so I was pleased that I could easily discern the flavor from the other components of the drink.
We sat at the bar for about 45 minutes catching up. The place slowly started to pick up, but was still less than 50% full when we decided to sit down at our table. We specifically asked for a booth and got the last one. The layout of the place is very similar to when it was the Blue Cat Cafe. The bar is in the same place, the dining room is fairly open with mostly tables and a few booths and half-booths. New to room is an enclosed “fire display” and a glass wine room — both located on the back wall.
Our waitress came over and asked if we would like some water… and if so, still or sparkling. We indicated still, but should have also said “tap”… b/c she conveniently assumed we meant bottled water and brought one over. Thankfully, we were able to catch her before she opened it — and charged us god knows what for it. Once handed the menu, I realized it was the same one we received at the bar… containing appetizers, a few soups and salads, mini burgers and four entrees to chose from. I wasn’t impressed.
The thing I find funny, is that if you do a Google search for Match, the text that comes up (and appears in the title bar of the browser window) is “Match Burgers and Martinis: Fine Dining in Boston’s Back Bay”. A little misleading… considering it is really an app and mini-burger place with only four main courses to chose from.
Anyhow… I reminded myself that I chose Match for the vibe, not the menu — And the menu worked for me because I am on this crazy food elimination diet (to narrow down any food allergies or intolerances I may have) that prevents me from eating soy, dairy or wheat for the next three weeks (but that’s a whole different blog post). So mini burgers (minus the buns) sounded good (keeping in mind I also don’t eat red meat).
We started off by sharing the Gingery Chicken Satay with peanut sauce ($8.95) and the Steamed Mussels in a ginger and lemongrass broth ($8.75). We also both had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc ($8 each), though I forget which one. The chicken was good; nothing special and not really “gingery”. Just five chicken tenders threaded onto skewers, served with a thin-consistency peanut sauce. I thought the sauce could have been better. It didn’t even come close to comparing to traditional Vietnamese or Thai peanut sauces. It seemed watered-down with something and not peanut-y enough. The mussels were fine. A somewhat small portion (compared to other restaurants) for the cost. The mussels themselves were also on the small side… but that could be a seasonal thing, I have no idea. The broth they were served in was delicious.
Following the apps, we both shared Jako’s Favorite Veggie Burger ($4.75) and New England Lobster Burger with roasted red pepper aoili ($8). The “veggie burger” is actually a breaded and fried piece of fresh mozzarella and kudos to our waitress for warning us about this ahead of time — though I find it weird that it’s not mentioned on the menu. We decided to get it anyway (yeah… I cheated with the dairy), because the other 3 or 4 burgers they offered all contained some type of meat I don’t eat. It was good… it was fried mozzarella — not much you can do to mess that up. The lobster burger was good as well… and probably my favorite of the evening. Fabulous? No. But it was tasty.
Aside from the $24 bar tab before dinner, our combined meal and wine came to $48… pretty cheap. Though, if we hadn’t had the martini’s first and I wasn’t watching what I was eating, I would have probably still been hungry after… as the burgers are as big around as a the diameter of a soda can.
By the time we decided to leave (about 9:45) the place was much busier… but still only at about 70% of capacity. I can only assume that this place gets very busy on weekends and sports more of a bar crowd… attracted by the tasty martini’s (vs. a food crowd for the menu). I would probably come back for drinks on the weekend, but wouldn’t waste my time going for a Date Night.
On a final note, when we left… our valet brought the car around and opened the doors for us. Not thinking, I got in the driver’s side and shut the door… forgetting about a tip. Ami said something to me about it as she got in the car, so I turned to stop the valet so we could give him a few bucks and was very startled to see him standing inches away from my window WAITING for his tip (mind you, my window was closed). Not only was I completely put off by this… but I was also skeeved out. We only gave him $2 because I was totally annoyed by his assuming behavior.
Note to Match: Teach your valets some lessons in courtesy!