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A Hidden Gem… Really

A Hidden Gem… Really

Review of: Bar Tartine
By: Avery Glasser
Rating: 4
Read review on Judy’s Book.

Though I happen to love Tartine (the original bakery), I never fell completely in lust with it. To my point, if I was walking by and the need for something sweet hit me, I wouldn’t think twice about stopping in and getting a pain au chocolat or one of the delectable almond croissants… but I wouldn’t make a point to go to Tartine. I never woke up and had an insatiable craving for their pastries.

So, when I heard that the team behind Tartine was putting together a restaurant on the Valencia Corridor, I was interested, but didn’t put it on my “must try list”. Then, between the reviews of the food and the bubbling scandals circulating throughout the restaurant community (nothing health related, just political kitchen stuff), Bar Tartine just fell off of my radar screen.

Then something happened… my favorite sous chef from Incanto teamed up with another ex-Incanto chef to take over the kitchen at Bar Tartine. The menu would be updated, the restaurant whipped into shape and it would be a new Bar Tartine. Why did she move? Because the dining room was one of the most beautiful spaces she said she has seen in the city.

An invite from an industry friend clinched things, and last night my wife and I went there for an early 6:30 dinner.

The first challenge is finding the restaurant. We must have walked by it 20 times over the past few months but never seen it as there are no signs – just a simple paper menu attached to the window.

Entering the restaurant, it is stunning in its simplicity – a single antler-style chandelier, old dark wood floors with letters embedded in it from when the space was a printing shop, a gorgeous marble bar set for single diners and drop-ins and lots of dark wood that made the restaurant feel feel warm, comfortable and sophisticated. It was amazing during the day, but when it got dark and the lights were turned on, the restaurant was just stunning.

Throughout the night, we tasted so many amazing dishes – Gorgonzola stuffed dates, fennel cured pork loin with ramps (wild West Virginian leeks), radishes with goat’s milk butter and salt – we sampled seven dishes before our main courses arrived, including perfect little roasted quail reclining on a bed of bread salad. The main courses were fantastic and filling – whatever complaints people had about the portion size under the old regime have been addressed – my short ribs with roasted greens (kale, I think) and artichokes served over the most perfect herbed polenta (and I’m quite picky about my polenta) were perfectly seasoned and cooked and the aroma could literally make your mouth water.

The dinner finished with a cheese plate adorned with almonds, a candied tangerine and honey… a perfect simple savory way to end the night.

It’s not cheap, but two people could get away for under $100 with a couple glasses of wine.

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