Friday night dinner at the bar here exceeded expectations in both service and food. Arrived at 6:45 and there were a couple of seats at the bar which we were welcomed to.
My wife's house cocktail (Lorenzo) was fine, and I drank from the, for now, limited sherry list (4 by the glass) and wines by the glass. She followed hers up with the Bolo Sangira.
From the "bar menu" one can pick any 3 items for $17. They're certainly small, but shareable. One of them was a beautiful roasted artichoke heart topped with a quail egg and uni. Lamb loin nice and rare with salsa verde was quite good, and the sauteed duck livers hit the spot.
We moved on to larger plates; the crab risotto was delicious, with perfectly cooked rice; what really made the dish sing was the hint of anise from fennel or fresh tarragon or both, kind of unexpected, but welcome. A crispy squid plate was perfectly fried and tender, and the anchovy vinaigrette and green chili pesto were mopped up with the squid.
We shared the pork chop porterhouse, a huge hulk of meat that would've been more to my liking had it spent 3 less minutes on the fire. The romesco polenta that accompanied it was fine - I wanted more of it. A nice plate of roasted carrots with spicy harissa and yogurt went perfectly with the chop.
Cause we never get enough, we shared the tarte tatin for dessert; a near-textbook example of this fine pie, with white-pepper gelato to boot, along with 2 glasses of comped sherry and house-baked cookies to finish.
The service was smooth, especially for just opening, the room is gorgeous, dominated in the center by a rectangular bar that must seat 3 dozen people - comfortably, in chairs with backs (do you hear that, all you backless stool places)? We'll be heading back as soon as we can - it should get even better.
Thanks for the review. I have Sunday resvs.
Any particular dish stood out, that you would gladly order again?
One of the most enjoyable meals in recent memory (well, 3 months is just about as far as I can go these days). Took my family for an early Sunday dinner. Sort of a celebratory meal (like I need an excuse). The hostess seemed a little confused when I asked if "We are team #1" much to the horror of my kids. I suppose Amazing Race isnt as popular as I thought
Space -- Large, modern, spacious, warehousy feel. Plenty of room between tables. For the moment they are taking it slow and not trying to fill the house
Service -- I know some prefer to give it some time and let them settle in before taking a chance, but I enjoy visiting high profile places like this when they first open. With the entire town watching they simply can not afford to make a mistake. Flay is in the kitchen even on a Sunday night. A slew of hostesses, 3 of which helped with our coats. Employees outnumbering guests roughly 3 to 1. Our water was filled 12 times mostly when it was just over 3/4 full.. the kids had a little fun with it. But overall no issues whatsoever.
Drinks -- Wife enjoyed the Bolo Sangria while the Negroni hit the spot for me.
"Bar menu" -- Pick 3 for $17. The 11 layer scalloped potato and the duck liver were quite good, but the eggplant with Manchego and Oregano triumphed
Apps -- Very nice oven roasted shrimp with Diavolo oil, garlic chips and chile that provided a nice punch. A notch above the average gamba dish you get at a tapas joint near you. Octopus was quite scrumptious and as tender as it gets, while the pepper and bacon bits just added to the joy. Pizza with lamb sausage was just a good pizza with sausage, missing the drama of the other dishes. Dish of the day nominee... Scrambled Eggs! A Revelation! Almond Romesco (spanish red pepper sauce), Boucheron cheese, super fluffy eggs... what a combo. I suggest trying this without the accompanying tomato toasts first.
Mains -- Greatly enjoyed all 3. Crab Risotto (enlarged app) was exceptional. Mushroom Kale paella with egg and artichokes was a glorious combination of flavors and textures, especially once you mix the sticky "Socarrat" from the bottom and the egg. The Halibut was one of the better fish with red sauce dishes I've had, all due to the addictive saffron tomato sauce with mint and couscous. Perfectly cooked fish
Dessert --Espresso soaked bread pudding - somewhat flat, more like a weak tiramisu. Chocolate Crema Catalana with hazelnut was more like it. Like a sick chocolate hazelnut creme brulee with that toasty crust and richness beneath. Complimentary Sherry, and exceptionally fresh Biscotti. Well done!
I'm a fan!
We went last night and I pretty much loved everything we tried.
Agree that the standouts are definitely the scrambled eggs and the eggplant with cheese (from the bar menu).
I like that the space is big: it's nice not to feel squished into the table next to your own.