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Feb 27, 2011 01:33 PM

Tryst in Arlington

I've enjoyed two very good meals at Tryst in the past couple of months. Previously, I'd overlooked the place, thinking it was just another ho-hum suburban joint trying to be sleek. But on both visits, I've been very impressed with both the food and the incredibly cheerful, competent service.

On my first visit, I wolfed down fried oysters with a spicy aioli and a crab and potato-leek soup, with crisp shards of apple. (Also got tuna tartare that was more filler than tuna, a disappointment.) Washed down with a pear martini, it did the trick on a Saturday night. Mr. Swankalicious got wild boar and enjoyed it very much, plus a very good sidecar. On my second visit, I enjoyed a very fresh beet salad with sweet nubs of goat cheese, plus a duo of generous, light, grease-free shrimp tacos with sturdy soft tortillas. Dessert was warm brownie ice cream. It was rich and soupy; a surefire sharer and not a single-serving by any stretch.

Dining room was booming on both occasions, and people seemed to enjoying themselves fully. As a metro-west resident who frequently laments the dearth of dining options out this way, I'm happy I discovered Tryst.

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  1. I'm a Tryst fan as well, tho regrettably I never get much further into the menu than their excellent bacon cheeseburger.

    1. That's really good to hear - I went there back in the summer and was thoroughly underwhelmed. Place seemed tired - food was really meh - the menu in the little box outside was old and stained...just seemed like a place well past its prime.

      Sounds like they have turned things around? New chef?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        We went there last night and were pretty disappointed. The fried stuff was ok (shrimp and calamari), but the sauces were pretty bland. My wife's salad was little more than iceberg lettuce with Kraft blue cheese dressing on it, and the duck tacos... Oh, the duck tacos. The duck tacos were not. good.

        The servers were friendly and helpful, and the beer was cold. But this meal just wasn't all that tasty. We won't be back.

        1. re: Indirect Heat

          Similar to our experience; we really wanted to like it, it is very convenient to us, but everything we ordered we could have made better ourselves.

          1. re: Indirect Heat

            thanks so much for this helpful update. we tried it long ago and were not impressed,though we live so close.

            i'm sure the arrows are being drawn as i write this, but i would be so happy if arl. had a restnt that appealed to me. i just love the flora space but the food has been consistently meh all these yrs and i so wish for the day when a chef will equal the glory of that space.i've tried most of the other 'good' spots and like ony a few, for occasional.(Actually i have had more CH wrong steers in Arl than anywhere else: nicola's pizza; franscesca's eggplant parm; scuzzi-worst meal of my life, next to dali,+++ )- but many have fan bases and are doing just fine as they are.I'm glad arlington has become that restnt draw that it was NOT before, and it certainly has some diverse dining ops for all the young families pressed for time. i'm going to try Acitron soon and we shall see.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              My wife had dinner at Acitron and enjoyed it. Can't dis Arlington too much - its got a Little Q Hot Pot..

        2. I'm glad to know this place is decent. Whenever I see it, all I can think is that it'd be very awkward taking a first date to a place called "Tryst".

          1 Reply
          1. re: Boston_Otter

            It's an easy name to remember. When I saw the title of the thread my thought was "Are you sure you want to brag about it in a public forum?"

          2. The Chef is Paul Turano. I've been a fan of his since he opened Olio in Canton, an oasis in a desert of SE Mass.

            689 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02720

            1. Thanks to restaurant week, I tried the brunch today and and had an excellent shrimp taco, perfectly cooked crispy shrimp, followed by an almost perfectly cooked Western Omelet brimming with country ham, peppers, onions, cheddar cheese and served with crispy potatoes. Not only was the omelet good, but those potatoes! Super crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and they were actually seasoned. The place looked good with neatly section off dining room and nice hightops in the bar area. Service was good and thanks to restaurant week, I'll be back.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Ferrari328

                sounds like an excellent brunch, ferr. We'll have to try it!