I can hear you now, saying ‘New? Tryst has been around for years.’ That’s true, and it has maintained a great reputation with dining cognoscenti the entire time.
Until a few years ago, Chef Peter Capalbo and his wife Amy Trabucco offered the only game around for diners seeking a certain level of cuisine. But in the past couple of years, the restaurant scene on the North Shore exploded. We’ve been busy trying to keep tabs on all the newcomers and hadn’t had a chance to check in on Tryst. Until this weekend, that is.
Saturday night, we were in the mood for a bar-side meal and had heard good things about Sean, the bartender at Tryst. A small, warm space with a bistro feel, the room was more welcoming than we had anticipated.
Snagging the last two stools, we were greeted not by Sean, but Ingrid, who was tending bar that night. She was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and didn’t bat an eye when I asked for a sidecar (this sounds like a simple request, but I can’t even count the local bartenders who don’t produce a proper one). The drink arrived perfectly made and extremely tasty.
We started with a roasted beet salad ($9) and the Hudson Valley foie gras ($14). The salad, with arugula and goat cheese in a red wine vinaigrette was good, but pretty standard. The fois gras, however, was excellent. Served with bits of grilled bread and slices of roasted apple, it was rich and savory.
We decided to forgo wine for another cocktail, although the wine list is nicely appointed, and we were interested to see that when our neighbors ordered a bottle of red, the bartender used an aerator and decanted the bottle it into a glass carafe.
The bar carries a good variety of spirits, some nicely obscure, and features Gloucester distillery Ryan & Wood’s Knockabout gin and Folly Cove rum. We chose a specialty cocktail on offer that evening made with the Knockabout, basil simple syrup, and mint. It was lovely, one of those drinks that tastes light and well blended but packs a punch.
The best tipple of the evening, though, was Sean’s manhattan. The house-made infused bourbon involves letting dried cherries steep in Knob Creek for six weeks. The results make the classic cocktail complex and layered without being too sweet.
Ordinarily, we never order roast chicken when dining out, because it’s one of those meals we make at home for a fraction of the cost. But after seeing several plates of the rosemary roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach, and herbed pan sauce appear in front of other bar diners ($23), we gave into curiosity and decided to share the entrée. Brilliant decision on our part. Beautifully crisped on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside, and complimented by lush sauce, this is roast chicken you dream about. While pricey for a chicken dinner, we would absolutely splurge on it again.
Despite not being huge fans of aperitifs and digestives, we toyed with the idea, and Ingrid joined the conversation with a wealth of information and an offer of a comparison taste-test of Aperol, Fernet Branca, and Carpano Antica. Although we found the beverages interesting, we opted instead for a brownie tart ($8) to end the evening, which arrived fresh and warm with a dollop of whipped cream. Homemade tasting and not too dense, it was tasty but not as memorable as the rest of the meal.
Tryst may not be one of the hot newcomers to the North Shore, but it surely remains among the best of the local dining scene.
282 Cabot Street, Beverly
(978) 921- 2266