July 13, 2011

{Dining Out} Bar Basque

We dined on a variety of tapas from new restaurant Bar Basque.
When summer comes to NYC, we rush out to the nearest patio. But lately with the temperatures reaching nearly 100F/40C,we've been rushing back inside seeking the cool comfort of air conditioning.  Dining at Bar Basque, however, lets us enjoy the feeling of being outside with the cool breeze of A/C.  This restaurant on the second floor of the Eventi Hotel is a beautiful space.  There's also an outdoor movie screen that adds to the trendy nightspot feel to this place (and overlooks the newly opened FoodParc outdoor space).
Our menu featured the chef's selection from the main menu.
We were invited by the restaurant to try highlights from their summer menu. We had dined at their sister restaurant, Asia de Cuba, so we were eager to try the food.  They had a set menu prepared for us, but welcomed us to order drinks and anything else we wanted to try.
Fried cheese and tuna tartare "lollipops"
The first couple of bites were of a Idiazabal Cheese Croquettes (usually $8) which was best to eat by hand instead of letting the cheese ooze out.  It was warm with a crispy, slightly thick coating.  They were good, but not as addictive nor as light as cheese gougeres.  The light Yellowfin Tuna Tartare Pushpop with Red Wine Caviar (usually $9) were fun and easy to eat (a trend we've seen popping up, most recently by Lincoln at the Citymeals-on-Wheels event).
(Clockwise from top left) Octopus and mackerel in cans; tuna crudo; chorizo; scallops
One of our favorite dishes of the night was the Octopus with Black Olives and Tomato Confit (usually $8).  The sweet cherry tomatoes balanced the salty olives and grilled octopus.  We also liked their presentation in fish tins. The tins come from Spain and definitely reminded me of my holidays there.

The Mixed Sauteed Chorizos (usually $12) was another favorite. It had three different chorizos: chistoras, mini spicy, and Palacios. We especially enjoyed the mini spicy chorizo.  This dish could easily be shared as a snack for 3 people. 

The Spanish mackerel (usually $8) was fresh and meaty. My husband likes this oilier fish and thought it didn't need the shallots because it stood out well on its its own.  The Yellowfin Tuna Crudo ($12) came with Ajo Blanco and Chimichurri. The tuna was okay, but we enjoyed dipping the soft yet chewy bread with the chimichurri.

The dish we didn't care too much for was the Sea Scallop Crudo with olives and preserved lemon (usually $12). The scallops got lost in the toppings. 
Jeff chose a refreshing Junipero Gin & Tonic (usually $13) to drink.  The gin is from Anchor Distilling in San Francisco - the same people behind Anchor Brewing. He enjoyed his drink, which was brightened by lime and coriander.  I chose the Pear Blossom (usually $14) with Grey Goose La Poire, St. Germaine, pear puree, and cava. It was subtly sweet and a nice summery evening cocktail.  

One of our third course dishes was the Smoked Trout a la Plancha with Jamon Butter (usually $12).  it was rich and saucy, with a hint of smoke on the finish eating the fish.  The salty roe was a nice touch.
The Heirloom Tomato Salad (usually $10) was very pretty.  For me, it was a little overdressed with Jimenez Sherry Vinegar making the tomatoes slightly mealy. 
Lastly, the Slow Braised Pork Belly, Baby Clams in an Albarino Wine Sauce (usually $14) was the third dish of our three courses.  We're not used to having a pork belly without that crispy seared outside, but the savory clam and wine broth kept this really moist and easy to eat. 
The desserts were my favorite dishes.  The Pina Colada with Coconut Flan, pineapple salad, and rum caramel was nice and bright. The pineapple salad with fresh mint added the freshness I needed to offset our rich meal. 
We both enjoyed the Fried milk with Passion Fruit reduction and Chocolate ganache.  Reminding us of warm donuts (like the ones we've enjoyed elsewhere), the fried milk was lighter and creamier than we expected.  The fried milk was so good being dipped in the chocolate ganache (and for Jeff, was a nice finish paired with a glass of Pedro Ximénez sherry (below pic)).  The passion fruit had a slight tang, but we thought that the chocolate ganache was the better match.
My husband's dessert = a glass of sherry
We much preferred the light of the outdoor space. The dark red interior was difficult to navigate (finding the restrooms was an unnecessary challenge). 

Overall, we would return to Bar Basque if we had out-of-town guests who wanted that SATC/NYC vibe and didn't mind the higher price points.  We ate enough for at least three people, so the tapas menu is definitely good for a group as would just coming here for a drink and/or dessert.  

Bar Basque is located at 839 Ave of the Americas (b/n 29th and 30th Sts.)

FTC disclosure: This meal was complimentary of the restaurant.  The opinions are entirely our own.

3 comments:

  1. That pork belly looks divine!

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  2. Everything looks delicious and presented beautifully

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  3. wow cool place love the tuna tartare lolly pops

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