Bar Blanc is the brainchild of three Bouley alums, with executive chef César Ramirez at the helm. The very blanc interior is sleek and easy on the eyes. Open since early December, reviewers so far (Andrea Strong, Tables for Two, Gourmet) have found the service clumsy, but the ambitious food promising.
We had no issues with the service, though our 6:15 p.m. reservation was well before the masses arrived. We started with a cocktail, and the bar tab was transferred to our table without complaint—something you can never take for granted these days.
The focused menu has just four appetizers ($12–18), three pastas ($20–24), six meat and fish entrées ($24–36), three sides ($8) and four desserts ($10). These prices won’t be sustainable unless Bar Blanc can become more than just a neighborhood place.
The wine list, too, is extravagantly priced. I ordered a Palmer Vineyards Cabernet Franc ($34). Kudos to Bar Blanc for stocking a Long Island wine and serving it at the correct temperature, but that shouldn’t be the only red under $50.
The server tried to upsell us to a tasting menu ($75), and he was also pushing the side dishes, but we both ordered just an appetizer and an entrée, which was plenty.
The amuse-bouche was a small puff pastry stuffed with goat cheese.
Slow Roasted Rabbit and Sweetbread Salad (left); Milk Fed Porcelet (right)
Coincidentally, our sights landed on the identical choices. Slow Roasted Rabbit and Sweetbread Salad ($14) isn’t much of a salad at all, but it’s wonderful nonetheless, with a ricotta purée nicely balancing the two contrasting meats.
The menu description of Milk Fed Porcelet ($32) is practically essay-length. There is roast baby pig, pig head terrine, pig belly, chanterelles purée, diced Brussells sprouts, and a jus of cinnamon, star anise, and orange. That’s probably twice as much as it needed, as most of those ingredients were undetectable. The roasted pig was stringy and tasted like bitter ham. The belly was enjoyable, as pure fat tends to be.
It is still early days for Bar Blanc, and with this much talent in the kitchen I suspect there is much more to enjoy here. Though our entrée was a dud, the restaurant nevertheless looks promising.
Bar Blanc (142 W. 10th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, West Village)