Anita Lo - bar Q
so, i went last night with friends...
first thing first...we checked in with the host and they said 'you're the first to arrive in yr party,' so we waited at the bar. 20 minutes later, we finally get in touch with our friends who have been sitting down the entire time. the host apologized but you can tell from there that it wasnt going to be good.
we split 3 starters and 3 entrees for 4 people. the starters were pretty horrible. the 'tuna ribs' were quite disgusting and were ridiculously spicy. the 'meat' was mainly peppers on the ribs...total throw away. the grilled squid salad was okay...served with hijiki seaweed. nothing outstanding but good enough. the pork belly with the buns were pretty gristly pieces of middlewhite and had no flavor whatsoever.
entrees fared a bit better. the best of the bunch was probably the stuffed sparerib...tasted like some pork tenderloin and had some nice asian flavors to it. the australian lamb was mediocre and was poorly coupled with some other spices. the tea smoked duck was a hit. very nice flavor.
portions were ridiculously small but i knew that going in. we had a pretty bad chenin blanc from new zealand for $40 as well. to appease us, they sent us some ice cream that was ok but obviously rather simple.
service was ok once we got to the table. our server was friendly but not well versed with the menu...i doubt she served in any decent restaurant before bar q.
dinner was around $200 for 4 people for wine, 3 apps, 3 entrees...after tip. i expected worse but i would never eat here again. at best, its a total meh...at worst, its a place i wish we skipped over.
Food fab, service new and slow and a bit corporate.
clever milk dumplings very good
the host-aloof and amateurish(we asked him to give just a tiny bit of love, but he could care less)
this chef is the goods. the feel of bar q however is very different than annisa which is cozier, waitstaff sharper and more inviting at annisa
For anyone who has tried Bar Q and been disappointed, and those who have hesitated because of mixed reviews, I would highly recommend giving it a try, as my experience indicates a continuing improvement in food and service. We have been there twice, the first in mid-summer and then this week, and though we enjoyed it the first time, I felt it still had not reached its full potential. But after looking at the website again recently and seeing that the menu appeared to have been expanded, we gave it another try, and were delighted. The lobster appetizer is outstanding. The tuna ribs are now served with grilled tuna belly, marrow, yuzu and pickled cucumbers. The combination of flavors was great. Seafood stew was full of delicious flavors, with salmon, shrimp, mussels and clams in a broth with "crispy silken tofu". Lamb was good but could be better. Stuffed spare ribs were superb. Tea-smoked salmon with quail egg was very nice. Desserts of panna cotta and carrot cake were excellent. Service was very good on both visits. I am looking forward to going back and trying more of the dishes.
i too had a great visit here recently. excellent squid salad, light and garlicky with a great hijiki salad. pork belly buns were fantastic, different than momofuku, crispy rendered skin. raw bar was super fresh with great inventive sauces for dipping. entrees and desserts were solid as well. loved the chicken and the grilled short rib (stuffed sparerib not for us, too much peanut sauce!). carrot cake and coconut soup for dessert. friendly, helpful service and an interesting affordable wine list. we'll be back!
My boyfriend and I ate here on Friday for the first time and won't be returning. The service was friendly but the food was very mixed. (The restaurant is quite a weird shape and almost too large -- we were initially seated in a lower level with no other diners within 20 feet of us, but we asked to moved and they did move us.)
Starters: squid salad was excellent, but small. Unagi-scallion fritters were leaden, hardly tasting of unagi. (Before ordering, we had in fact asked the waitress what these were like. She made out like they were ethereally light. Actually they are like baby doughnuts.)
Mains: the eggplant is apparently a house speciality. The slices were completely smothered in miso paste making it disgustingly sweet and cloying. Despite this being an appetizer portion we couldn't finish it. The fried garlic-milk was texturally leaden. Interesting for a couple of bites only. Tea-smoked chicken was delicious, the sticky-rice stuffing when combined with the richness of the eggplant and milk made for heavy eating though -- and not in a satisfying barbecue sort of way.
Maybe we just ordered badly but, altogether, I don't think the menu at bar q is well balanced. We primarily ordered the mains we ordered because the the others weren't that appealing.
Incidentally, arriving at 8pm on Friday the joint was only a quarter full, and unless they have a lot of late diners, I think they're only managing a single seating each evening.
i found the food good but not memorable, and environment sterile (even tho i'm an all-white minimalist myself, it was just too clinical). garlic milk just not satisfying at all, and influences from asian street food and comfort foods (i.e. sticky rice) should be in larger portions, this isn't the 90s anymore.