Bar Artisanal in New York
It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the best thing we ate the other night at Bar Artisanal was the grilled cheese sandwich. After all, Chef Terrence Brennan knows more than a thing or two about cheese, as he shows every night at his much-loved, much-fancier flagship French restaurant Artisanal, on Park Avenue and 32nd Street.
Terrence Brennan’s Artisanal Bistro is pretty, lively and fun
Down here in Tribeca, at Brennan’s newish, Bistro-ish offshoot Bar Artisanal, the Grilled Cheese Bites–a snack that sounds cute, but is really just a sandwich, cut in fours–is available on the bar menu, the one on a tiny clipboard which you mark up with a little golf pencil and hand to you server. Anyway, you would hope they could pull off a dish such as this at a Brennan establishment, and they do: the cheese is sharp and chewy; the bread greasy and dense. The Cheese Tempura bar snack was also pretty good, the fun lollipop-like presentation almost making up for the timid flavoring. Unfortunately, the meal was pretty much downhill from there, mostly due to sloppiness in the kitchen rather than lack of skill or good ingredients.
At Bar Artisanal, skip the burger, get the cheese
Take the Watermelon, Goat Feta and Tapenade Salad, which arrived with everything buried beneath a hill of fresh arugula… except for the Goat Feta, which was nowhere to be found! Seriously, they actually forgot to include our cheese (or were they trying to sneak one by us?), which would be a bad enough faux pas in any restaurant, but at an Artisanal, Bar or otherwise, it seemed pretty inexcusable. Worse, however, was the signature Artisanal Blend Burger, topped with pickled tomato, and your choice of cheese. We went the Gorgonzola route, but it was all sort of moot, as our burger arrived done to point of desiccation, instead of the requested medium rare. They professional enough to offer a replacement, which also arrived overcooked and overdressed well past the point of distraction. Better by far was the Hanger Steak Frites, served with a creamy green sauce, the fries crisp and salty. But the room is handsome and lively, the prices kind, and there is a full (and undoubtedly well-selected) Bar du Fromage. You could do a lot worse in this town than relax here with a companion, some wine, and a Pissaladiere or two.
Bar Artisanal info
Bar Artisanal is located at the intersection of West Broadway and Sixth Avenue, and is open for lunch, brunch, dinner and late night eating and drinking. Click here for Bar Artisanal menus.