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.
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.