Bar Buca - reservation?
I heard that Bar Buca is open! Does anyone have a number I can call to TRY and get a reservation? TIA!
If it's actually open, it's a soft opening or friends and family only, I kind of doubt it as Robb Gentile is currently on vacation.
I assume you can just call Buca. If you do, please report back as Bar Buca on Portland looked like it was still papered up today when I went by.
I also heard it was open so maybe I am mistaken. Or perhaps they have simply taken the 'we don't need a sign" ego to the next level where they don't even have to take the paper down!?
I am not big on rating first openings but BUCA is experienced and the menu is tiny, so here goes.
I found the coffee (americano) to be about as weak and flavourless as a cup of fresh brewed Tim Hortons.
They have about 5 or 6 sandwiches available at lunch, 2 of which were cut up as breakfast bites. I tried the mozza/tomato served on focaccia. They warm it for you in a toaster oven. MIne wasn't very warm. The focaccia was much too dry and overall it was a boring breakfast bite. It may be worth the $2.50 but it doesn't satisfy for $1.50, let alone $2.50. They need to take a lesson from Forno Cultura (around the corner) on what a sandwich is supposed to taste like.
Here's the good part Kwass! Many delicious cookies and pastries on display. DELICIOUS looking!! So I fell in and tried the chocolate coronet (croissant). Each bite got better and better. The texture was perfect. Perfect balance of butter. And the chocolate was sensational!! I MUCH prefer this soft, oozing chocolate filling over the French style chocolate sticks! It is addictive!
Bad cup of coffee? Maybe. I will ask for less water next time and see what I get.
Place looks great. Love the wine racks across the wall.
Okay, here is my full report. Just got back from supper at Bar Buca. I didn't take notes so this is all just from memory -- oh, and I stole the menu and wine list (just photocopied pages so nothing too heinous there).
The room is small. I didn't count the covers but it looked like no more than 9 tables of 4 covers each, plus a few seats along the coffee bar and wine bar. The bar has an Enomatic machine with (I think) 8 wines, all reds.
WINE LIST (all Italian wines)
4 Sparkling wines, 3 by the glass available in 2.5 and 5 oz pours. 5 oz glasses $9-24.
8 Whites, 4 by the glass, only 5 oz pours, $8-$12.50
1 Rose, available by the glass, also in full and half pours, $11 for 5 oz.
17 Reds, 11 available by the glass, some in half pours, $9-33 for 5 oz.
Assessment: Bar Buca is bending to trend by short changing the whites on their wine list, and as a white wine drinker that irritates me. Italy has good whites! However, I really appreciate the half pour options. At the top end of the reds they have an Umbrian sagrantino for $15 the half pour and an amarone for $16.50 -- 2.5 oz should be enough of those for anyone. Nice work.
Other drinks: 13 whiskeys at $6-$23; 7 amaro and grappa choices for $5-18; 10 cocktails $8-16; only one beer (Peroni).
The menu is divided into small bites ($3-6), fritti ($5-9), cold plates ($6-9), stuffed focaccia ($9-12), hot plates ($9-14), and skewers ($5-8), with 4 to 6 options in each.
Nodini (bread knots, rosemary, garlic) $3
Carciofi (baby artichokes, bergamot zabaglione) $6
Coniglio (rabbit legs, colonnata spices) $9
Insalata Siciliana (sicilian fennel salad, puffed veal tendon, garum) $7
Polpette di Capra (sicilian style goat and ricotta meatballs) $14
Ammazzafegato (Tuscan offal sausage, farro, cavolo nero, poricini, hen's egg) $14
Torta cioccolatino $1
Assessment: Tasty, tasty, tasty. Everything very well prepared and delicious.
My only complaint is that the portions were generally too small (and we are not big eaters), except for the Ammazzafegato which was a perfect modest serving for the price and the desserts which were teeny but packed with flavour and extremely well priced.
The only disappointment of the evening was when we ordered the bread knots at the last minute to soak up the sauce from the meatballs and sausage, but they were such little morsels (even for $3) that they couldn't do the job (though they were hot and tasty). Similarly, the cariofi were too small a serving (amounted to 3 very small bites each), but the accompanying zabaglione sauce was terrific. A third of a step up in serving size would probably make every guest happy.
Star dish of the evening was the Ammazzafegato offal sausage which was the most tender meat I've ever had and made a gorgeous texture contrast with the firm farro. The sausage was over-salty but they'll work that out pronto. And the cannoli was the best I've had outside of Sicily.
Attentive, low key, charming, and well coordinated. I would never have believed this was opening day. The place was packed when we left at 6PM so I think they'll have a busy evening.
Hours are 7AM opening weekdays, 8 weekends, open until 2AM apparently. I will go back in the mornings for very tasty bitter-smooth espresso.
So...here's the good with the bad. I went this morning, but as I always do, I got there too early. The things I wanted to try the most were those delicious looking pancakes and the bombolone. As it turns out, they don't start serving brunch until 10, and the bombolone are never ready before 10. I so wish I had known that! Disappointed as I was, I made due with what they did have. And I can't say that a hardship by any means :)
I ended up getting the Cornetto, but not the chocolate one. This one was dusted with powdered sugar and filled with the most delicious filling. The woman behind the counter said it was some sort of citrus filling, but it tasted like apple to me, and it was scrumptious!!
Next I got a cannoli, which was one of the best cannoli's I've ever had! Justsayn, if you like Sud Forno's cannolis, Bar Buca's version is even better!! The shell was unbelievable crunchy, and the filling was really really yummy!!
I got 2 different types of cookies. The Biscuit marmellata, which was a type of butter cookie with powdered sugar and jam, and the torta nonna, which had pine nuts on top and some sort of pastry cream in the middle. The jam cookie was good, but nothing memorable. The torta nonna, however, was unbelievable!! Definitely something for everyone to try!!
So, overall, I thought the pastries were top-notch! But I'm still sad that I didn't get to try the things that I really wanted to try. That said, I'll go back a little later in the morning in a couple of weeks, so that I can try the pancakes and the bombolone.
They are very similar!! But I think Buca definitely has the better version, even if it's just slightly better :)
I'd love for you to do a side by side comparison. You know what? I think I'm going to do one too. I originally planned to go to Buca today, but I'm going to go next Sunday instead. So after I go to Buca, I'l just head over to Sud for a cannoli. I'll let you know the results :)
Dumb question.... Do they take dinner reservations, or strictly first come first served? Thanks!
Food and descriptors by KWass and kellyoyo were fabulous! :)
I went this morning for brunch, and OMG...I was totally blown away!!
I had the crespelle, which is their version of a pancake. But don't be fooled! It's so much more than a simple pancake. It's fried, but not the least bit greasy. And it had the most incredible texture. Crispy on the outside, and super soft on the inside.
The crespelle are stacked...3 to an order. And in between each pancake is what essentially amounts to a deconstructed cannoli...sweetened ricotta, orange peel, and chopped pistachios. And wait...it gets better! They finish it off with grappa infused maple syrup. Well...let's just say it's the bomb...ridiculously good!!! A definite "must try"!
I also had the apple cream bombolone, but I didn't have it until a few hours later, which was probably a mistake. It wasn't as fresh as it would have been if I had eaten it right away. That said, the flavours were incredible!!
Finally, I did what I said I would do, which is a side by side comparison of the cannoli from Bar Buca and the cannoli from Sud Forno. Coming up with a winner wasn't easy, but I settled on BB. Both had a very crispy shell. The Sud Forno version was light with a nice citrus flavour. While the BB version also had a nice citrus flavour, there was more depth to the filling. There was something else in the filling that brought it to another level. Definitely the winner IMO.
And that's that! A very delicious and productive day :)
They don't have a menu online, but I saw this on one of the reviews " turkey, goose and duck eggs are scrambled with burrata and topped with shaved truffles". It looks pretty good. I'm sure they have lots of other savoury things on the menu as well.
There are pics of this dish in the Toronto Life review, if you want to take a look at it.
So I ended up going twice this weekend.
On Saturday I ate in and had the eggs dish with truffles and burrata. The eggs were not really scrambled (more like a thin omelette) so I am not sure if it is the same dish that kwass mentioned from the review (I didn't go to Toronto Life to look at the pics). but there was a good amount of truffle and burrata on it and I enjoyed it. Comes with two peices of toast too that were great. Was around $12 or $13 but it hit the spot.
On Sunday I went by to get a porchetta sandwich to go. I enjoyed it as well but it is pricey at like $12. On the weekend you have the option to have an egg on it for free so I did that. I enjoyed the sandwich but I am not sure if I would spend $12 on it again. I saw on the overhead menu board that the whole menu is available for takeout though.
The place was JAMMED on the Sunday around 1pm, on Saturday around 10am it was definitely quieter.
I went to Bar Buca for brunch yesterday and they have a new (at least it was new to me) menu item in their cafe. They're called zeppolini, and they're essentially doughnut holes with cinnamon sugar, crushed nuts and some sort of glaze on the outside, with a delectable pastry cream on the inside. They are insanely delicious!