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Feb 18, 2010 08:06 PM

Has anyone been to Bar Blanc recently?

I went there about a year ago and had a great meal. I made a reservation for next Saturday to take my friends who will be in from Chicago after unsuccessfully trying to book at dell'anima (which I loved) and a few other places I have been wanting to try Degustation, Freemans, Lupa. I was feeling pretty good that I got a reservation and then I saw some horrible reviews about Bar Blanc on NY Mag. Has it really gone down hill under new management? One reviewer put it on "death watch." I thought I would turn to the Chow community to see if you can confirm or deny.

If it is not a good, consistent option, can you recommend a fun place where I could get a reservation in this timeframe for four late-20s/early 30s. Nothing too fussy. I value great food and drinks over scene but want to be in a fun environment preferably with fun bars nearby for later (thinking W village, but flexible). We are down to spend some money, but I don't want them to get sticker shock from their first NYC restaurant experience ($25ish for entrees, reasonable drink prices).

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  1. yeah, i was there when it first opened and ramirez was the chef. the food was excellent. he subsequently left after being forced to curb his excellent fine dining cooking. i went about 6 months later and the food and service took a huge downward hit.

    i live close by and the place is a ghost town these days. they say the new chef is good but i have a hard time giving them a try after my last visit.

    id avoid. for your needs, id recommend barbuto on washington or perilla if they can seat you

    1 Reply
    1. What about somewhere like Los Feliz or La Esquina?

      5 Replies
      1. re: bkfan16

        La Esquina was on my list but I couldnt reach them when I called for reservations and I was thinking I might be too late to get a table there. I had never heard of Los Feliz but it looks cool. I will definitely keep it on my list. My friend and I are from SoCal originally so I am always a little hesitant to go to nice, sit down Mexican, but I do recall enjoying La Esquina when I went there a couple years ago.

        I just booked at Perilla and will keep your other suggestions on my must try list. Thank you!

        1. re: WSfoodie

          barbuto is a more hip spot so to speak...better crowd...their food is great though...underrated in my opinion.

          perilla has the better food but the ambiance is a bit less hip...just fyi.

          1. re: sam1

            Thank you for the recommendation. I had actually been to Barbuto already so I decided to try Perilla. I have been wanting to go for a long time now and was not disappointed.

            We arrived on the early side and they were able to seat us right away. The ambience was a little romantic but after a loud boozy brunch at the new Sunburnt Calf, we were fine with a more relaxed atmosphere. The service was knowledgeable and informative but still laid-back which I enjoy...The four of us started with the duck meatballs and crispy calamari which were both stand-out. The calamari had a tempura-like coating and wonderful Asian flavors. The duck meatballs were fantastic. I loved the quail egg and mint cavatelli. The flavors reminded me a bit of Babbo's mint love letters.

            I choose the rabbit entree, as did my friend's husband, my friend had the pompano, and my boyfriend had the duck. We were all very happy and impressed with our selections...though unfortunately I didn't get a taste of the fish.

            The rabbit was tender and amazing. All of the flavors worked very well together and I loved the cabbage "bon bon" on the side. The only element I did not enjoy was a tough piece of what I think was rabbit hidden under a light salad on the other side of the plate. That said, I had plenty else on my plate to keep me happy -and to fill me up - so I was not really disappointed by the one miss. I tasted the duck which was also very tender and well flavored, and my friend scarfed her pompano raving about the curry sauce.

            My friends (in from Chicago) were very impressed and said they can't remember the last time they had such a good meal. Perhaps my favorite part, and something I think sets Perilla apart from other great restaurants in the City, was the price tag. The group had two apps, four of the most expensive entrees on the menu, and two bottles of wine and the check was under $200! I truly appreciate a nice restaurant that provides some variety on the wine list. I hate when you are going for a good meal but nothing special occassion and you can't get anything for under $50 a bottle.

            Kudos to Perilla for getting it right.

            1. re: WSfoodie

              Glad you enjoyed it. I had their pampano the the other day (it's fairly new to the menu) and loved it as well.

          2. re: WSfoodie

            If you want to go to La Esquina, just head over there and sit on the top floor. The phone system is a load of BS if you ask me. I wasn't too impressed with the place, but I will tell you that they make one of the city's best burgers, believe it or not.
            Haven't been to Los Feliz yet, but the space looks fantastic and the menu looks decent.


        2. < some horrible reviews about Bar Blanc on NY Mag. Has it really gone down hill under new management? One reviewer put it on "death watch." >

          This is total nonsense. The only bad "reviews" I could find were the two postings you refer to on NYMag. The "death watch" one was written well over a year ago, and the other close to a year ago. I would not let these two idiots deter you. Bar Blanc and Perilla are my two favorite West Village restaurants, and are very similar in cooking style and food quality. Bar Blanc also offers a bar snack menu, which I have never tried, and the restaurant menu that is always augmented by a list of daily specials. My partner and I have dined there many times, ever since the opening, sometimes with other friends also, and we have always enjoyed our meal. The chef change, which occurred a year and a half ago, had no ill effect. If you decide to go to Perilla, you will get a great meal too, but do not write off Bar Blanc or you will be missing out on some fine dining.