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Jan 18, 2010 07:15 AM

Bar Bao on UWS

Just wanted to report back on my meal at Bar Bao (formerly Rain). This is what we had:

Complimentary: 5-spice (?) peanuts and edamame -- not sure if it was 5 spice but it had those flavor profiles. The peanuts on its own was a bit too strong with the cinnamon. But when I ate the peanuts after the edamame, it surprisingly toned down the cinnamon flavor.

Small Plate: Daikon Duck Hash -- duck confit, poached egg, daikon hash in a sweet, savory sauce -- delicious! I didn't know one could achieve that texture with daikon. I'll bet they added a lot of duck fat to it. The dish was very comforting and very rich. I would definitely get this one again.

Small Plate: Shortrib on Lemongrass skewers -- Served with a hoisin peanut sauce, it was also a bit on the sweet side. I was amazed how they were able to cook the meat until it was medium rare, but still make it super tender. Flavors were good.

Small Plate: Sizzling cuttlefish with spicy Vietnamese salsa verde -- This was the only dish we had that wasn't sweet (which is a good thing) as it was needed for some balance. Bright, tart and lively, it was pieces of cuttlefish and scallions served on a sizzling hot plate with a lime-based sauce. If you like sour food, this one is for you.

Large Plate: Crispy Berkshire pork belly with taro, shishito peppers -- served with a bowl of rice; Also a bit on the sweet side; the taro got all nice and fatty with the pork fat (reminded me of the daikon from the daikon duck hash); Pork belly cooked well -- crispy on top and tender below

Dessert: Pandan flan with Chinese red dates and loquats (?) -- the flan was delicious but the dates and loquats seemed more of an afterthought -- like they needed something "Asian" to put on top of the flan; I thought the flavors didn't really go together

Overall, the food was very good. Prices were reasonable for the quality and service. Room is pleasantly decorated -- good for a date as it was on the dimmer side. I'm generally not in the UWS too much anymore but was there the other night because it was a pre-concert dinner. But I would definitely be willing to make a special trip up there to eat at Bar Bao.

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  1. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that BarBao is closing. That space is up on the market and supposedly a lot of the staff has jumped ship.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nyu_uws

      Oh, that's quite a shame. Well, I'm glad that I went there when I did.

      1. re: nyu_uws

        that's disappointing to hear. i live in the neighborhood and consider it one of the better local options.

        1. re: nyu_uws

          From Eater NY
          Curious Case: BarBao. There have been reports that (Michael Bao ) Huynh is no longer involved and his old partners are putting the space up for lease. Now Eater hears Huynh is buying it back within the week. We'll be keeping a close watch on this one.

        2. Just came across a recipe for the daikon part of the daikon duck hash. The daikon is not cubes of daikon but basically a turnip cake cubed and fried. So that's how they achieved the texture.