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Sep 13, 2007 06:23 AM

Wonderful meal at Flat Iron.

I work about three blocks away, so I really don't know why I haven't tried Flat Iron before. But I did yesterday evening.

It was really quite delicious.

Bountiful bread baskets and accompanying olive oil, along with Mojitos for me and the girlfriend started the meal.

It's a tapas place, so we went for five plates and shared.

The sea bass ceviche combined the best elements of this deceivingly simple dish: tartness and heat. The bass itself was luscious.

The charcuterie plate was good, although not great. Surprisingly for a tapas place, Flat Iron's dishes are fairly substantial. But the sausages and cheese on this plate were somewhat meager, although pretty damn delicious. (Maybe that was the problem: I just wanted more!)

The grilled octopus and chorizo salad was absolutely fab. The octopus was nicely seared/grilled, roughly chopped, and added with chunks of chorizo in a lightly-dressed frizzee salad. I could have eaten a bucket of it.

Then came the hot dishes. First, a large piece of pork belly confit that was utterly unctious. The fat was butter-tender, the meat hearty and flavorful. Superb.

But the highlight of the meal was the braised short ribs over sinfully silky Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.




Daniel Boulud-worthy short ribs.

I would actually seriously consider going back to Flat Iron and ordering four or five plates of this single dish. (Of course, I'm a sick puppy, but still.)

All in all, a wonderful meal with good cocktails, friendly, attentive service, and even a tableside visit by the chef (who was dumbfounded that my girlfriend had never had shortribs before; after visiting Flat Iron, she tells me that will assuredly change).

This place gets very little press, and almost no mention here.

It should. It's (pardon my Phantomeeze) a hidden jewel.

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  1. Just want to second the above. I went there on a Friday night a little over a month ago and it was fantastic. A few sources had mentioned that it had great food but wasn't very busy. There were a good number of people there, but not a lot for a Friday and it certainly quietened down by 10ish. The sea bass and short ribs were indeed delicious. A notably generous pour of wine by the glass which doesn't hurt either. Very good and well paced service which is often not the case with small plates.
    I hope it's not so hidden that it doesn't survive.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jonship

      And this is located ?????????????

      1. re: Buddernut

        In the time it took you to type all those Q marks, you could have done a board search (or a Google search) for previous posts (there have indeed been a few)/location. It's in the Bulfinch Hotel near North Station.
        I agree the short ribs and pork belly are terrific--and the cheesecake lollipops divine. I also really like the bar manager, an affable and earnest guy.

        1. re: Buddernut

          BostonBob, do they still have that sea bass with the cinnamon sauce? That was an outstanding special that they seemed to have put into the regular rotation when I was there. Thanks for the nice report - it's a good reminder that it's time for me to go back. They have excellent cocktails too.

          Flat Iron Tapas Bar & Lounge
          107 Merrimac Street, Boston, MA 02114

          1. re: Rubee

            Rubee, didn't see that on the menu (or eventually, the specials board). But it sounds great.

      2. I have to agree with your post. Flat Iron was really good. When I think of Tapas, I think of places like Tapeo where portions are small, which is what one should expect given that it is tapas, after all. Flat Iron’s portions were very generous.

        Braised short Ribs was a first for me, and wow…. for a first they won’t be my last. They were spectacular. I’d never had Pork Belly either. It basically melted in my mouth – I’m also a huge lentil fan, and it was served delicious lentils. I cannot lie, I want to return tonight specifically for those two menu items.

        Though the wait staff was attentive, the frustration that I have is that the “Specials” board was never pointed out to us, and we didn’t notice it. They had some yummy looking items such as Oysters that may have been fun to try – but we didn’t notice in time. When you go, be sure to look for the board b/c it may not be pointed out.

        1. I reported on Flat Iron a month or two ago as well. I really enjoyed the place, though I wouldn't call it a Tapas restaurant, but rather a small plates restaurant. It doesn't really matter, the food is good, the portions are substantial and the drinks are great.

          I went on a Saturday and it was literally myself, my fiance and a couple (of tourists staying in the hotel) in the restaurant. This place deserves more buzz... my guess is that they subsist on a large lunch crowd during the week and a drag-in audience during Celtics and Bruins games.

          Either way, if you haven't been, it's worth a visit for sure! And Bob, if you work a few blocks away let me suggest the thick cut bacon salad for lunch sometime. It's big enough to fill you and just $7 I think. It came with an almost pornograhpic serving of bacon!

          2 Replies
          1. re: heWho

            I was contemplating that bacon very seriously.

            BTW, I don't think they do lunch anymore. Chef said something about people coming in, ordering one $7 plate, and staying for an hour. Can't make money that way in a place that small.

            They do serve breakfast.

            Oh, and "tapas restaurant" is what they're calling themselves. It's on the menu, sign, etc.

            I found the plates more the size of appetizers, and certainly not strictly Spanish. Although the Serrano ham was also calling my name last night.

            1. re: Bostonbob3

              I also really enjoyed Flat Iron the one time I visited. The Sea Bass and octupus salad were my favs, but now I have to try the short ribs. Also those Mojitos are definately the best in the general area which has some pretty bad bartending.

          2. My man and I went to flat iron for dinner last evening, based on the raves in this thread, and we had a wonderful meal!

            Between the two of us, we tried the Charcuterie, Ceviche, and Grilled Octopus salad from the every day menu, and we tacked on the Cinnamon and Chili coated Sea Bass and the Short Rib Sliders. All were absolutely outstanding in their own ways. The sea bass was especially unusual - super rich and extraordinarily flavorful. The sliders were served on wee brioche buns - angioplasty never tasted so good!

            Desserts were not as strong, but still tasty. We tried the burned flan and the churros with chocolate dipping sauce. The flan was kinda warm when it arrived, and the sugar crust was not crisp at all. This led to problems digging in, but it tasted good. The churros offered great texture, but overall it was way too sweet. The dish would have been perfect if the chocolate dip were more in the the bittersweet direction.

            We were also impressed with the wine offerings. They have a good variety of wines by the glass, and they even offer half glasses. We ordered the half glasses and were astounded to see the pour on these is very generous - 4 or 5 oz easily. The full glasses were twice the size - outlandishly generous if you ask me. The pricing was $4-$6 for half glasses, double that for full.

            In all the experience was something like a flexible tasting menu - just great.

            5 Replies
            1. re: lisa13

              Good to hear. I'd hate to see this place go under. It's really damn good.

              BTW, I'm tailgating at the Pats' game Sunday, and my usual raspberry-Korean chili paste marinade/glaze is going to have a dash of a secret ingredient this time:


              What the hell, how bad could it be (famous last words, I know.)

              I'll have Coach Bellichick videotape the grilling for you all. :)

                1. re: marthayou

                  Not unless this thread is generating lots of biz. :))

                  We just walked in. The bar was full, but we were seated at a table immediately. This was about 6:45.

                  1. re: Bostonbob3

                    great. i think we are gonna try it tonight. Never mind the North End.


                    1. re: marthayou

                      Back with my review.

                      Decor: Lovely in that hip, clean, NYC , modern way.

                      We walked in and found no Hostess. so we kinda peeked around and found a lovely server who gave us our seating options. They had a large party that took up all but two tables and those tables were reserved. however we found a nice spot at this kinda random bar that looks on to two flat screen tv's.

                      Our server came over and we order a glass of wine and a cocktail from the list. one made of whiskey, black cherry and one other ingredient. I loved it but felt it should have been served in a rocks glass or like a Manhattan, not served straight up in a martini glass. It was mighty strong too!

                      Food: I think we order over half the menu. LOVES: short rib, tuna tar tar, calamari, Fries, shrimp(but HATED the Aoli)

                      So so: salted cod, tuna skewers(although everything else besides the tuna was great. the tuna had little taste if any)

                      Had the cheesecake lollipops are great! I didnt care for the pink one but the dark choc is awesome!.

                      Overall I liked it alot. Our server was very nice and very attentive. When she was unsure of one of our items she checked back with us.

                      All over I liked!