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Feb 22, 2007 07:23 AM

Bar Americain - Review

A couple days ago I was watching the Slam Dunk contest on TNT the night before the AllStar game. As they normally do, the camera was scanning the audience looking for celebrities that were in attendance and there popped up Bobby Flay. What in the world is Bobby Flay doing on the TV? Don't get me wrong... I love the Food Network and watch it religiously. And heck, I would definitely like to meet Bobby, Rachel, or Mario, anytime. But mainstream celebrity?

My answer to my rhetorical question: "Hell yeah!"

I bring this up only because later that night I had reservations at Bar Americain!

All little too pretentious and over the top, the decor at Bar Americain was as classic upscale New York as they come. I can't complain too much though, since I try and frequent these types establishments often. It wasn't too dark, but a good loud bistro-like environment. Actually, did you know that Bar Americain is labeled as an "American Brasserie." And did you know that a brasserie, as defined by American Heritage dictionary, is: "A restaurant serving alcoholic beverages, especially beer, as well as food." I didn't.

All in all, I had a pleasant experience. The service was top-notch. My cousin's wine glass had a little green speck in it, that the waiter immediately changed the glass and wine, and was very apologetic. And my glass of wine had really a lot of sediment in it (I mean I can handle a "normal" amount, but this was excessive), and while I didn't notice it until I was three quarters through my glass, he gave me a new one at no charge - I left a good tip. What do you think though, at a restaurant like that, is it bad service to even have to deal with that?

We started the dinner with the Three Shellfish Tasting - Lobster, Crab, and Shrimp. The shrimp was way overcooked; the crab, which had little-to-no flavor, was subtly sweet in its mango sauce; and the lobster was awesome - chilled, yet not too firm because it was cooked well, with a very subtle and savory vinaigrette tossed with some greens.

I had the pleasure of having dinner with my two cousins, who were amenable to me "suggesting" what they should eat and letting me try it (Translation: I ordered three entrees and ate off of my cousins' plates). Cousin 1 had mussels with frenchfries. The mussels were well cooked with big soft pieces in each black clutch (that's a small woman's purse that she holds in her hand, in case you didn't know what I was getting at), that highlighted a little red pepper spice that added just enough heat to make the dish memorable. French fries were not memorable, but definitely not bad.

Cousin 2 had the pork chop, which on first bite was succulent, juicy (which means succulent), briny, soft, and scrumptious. Bite 4-5, revealed an overcooked piece of meat, and we realized later the waiter had never asked us how we'd like the chop done. That made me very sad.

My BBQ ribeye steak was done absolutely perfectly. The inside was red (not pink), without even a hint of blood, but was juicy nonetheless. I have to admit, the steak wasn't as flavorful as I'd hoped, despite the BBQ sauce and excess amount of fat that was marbled throughout, a bit too though.

If you're a tea lover, get the early grey tea ice cream. Awesome.

Overall, you can't get away from the celebrity chefs. And why would you want to? Mr. Flay, can I get your autograph?

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  1. Bar Americain rates as one of the top places for me. I have been numerous times because I work close by. Lunch is always solid and a great place to take clients. I also sometimes go after work for happy hour with my colleagues and it's fun to eat at the bar with the lively scene and good bar food.

    Most times, I get the apps there: grilled pizza, seafood trio (as foodabee mentioned above), tuna tartare and some duck pancake.

    But what I never forget to do is order the souffle for dessert. Unreal.

    1. I love Bar Americain. I think its Bobby Flay's best restaurant. I also LOVE the seafood trio! The salad with asparagus and chedder cheese is great and I love the salmon! You have to have the homemade potato chips with blue cheese. They are decadent! I have never had dessert there but the cheese plate is really good! I thoroughly enjoyed it! The brunch there is also great!

      1. I've only been there for lunch...and that experience was average at best. Service was atrocious (hungover much?) and my grilled goat cheese on brioche was burnt. How hard is it to make that dish right? Other items like the onion soup were good but I would never go back on my own dime.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dkstar1

          I went for lunch once as well (on the company dime) and was not impressed. I ordered a salad with smoked trout that was lackluster (and it sounded really good), and a french onion soup that had no flavor. the service was awful as well. it took forever to just get a glass of water, let alone order any food. i think it is overpriced, and will not be going back.

        2. I'm with dkstar1 and twiggles. As I've written before on this board, it never ceases to surprise me whenever I read a positive review of Bar Americain since the food I had there was so poor. The lamb I was served was more bone than meat, and the side that was described on the menu as a sweet potato gratin turned out to be exactly two tiny pieces of potato with no gratin-like quality in evidence.

          We didn't have any problems with service. As for the decor, though it was attractive in a glitzy kind of way, I have no idea what the o.p. means by describing it as "classic upscale New York." However, when it comes to the cost, foodabee did get the "upscale" part right. Unlike dkstar1 and twiggles, we paid. Walked out feeling totally ripped off!

          1. I completely disagree. I thoroughly enjoyed Bar Americain. I have been on many occasions because I am a big fan of Bobby Flay's other restaurants (esp Mesa Grill). I feel that his food is consistently served with the utmost quality, flavor and precision. I especially appreciate the big and bold flavors. The service is hospitable and it's an enjoyable time whenever I dine at any of his restaurants, especially Bar Americain. I'm a fan.