Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bar Basque

Tonight we had a fabulous meal at Bar Basque, on 6th Ave between 29th and 30th streets. It's restaurant week (yipppeeee!!!!!) and I love getting out of our own way to try new places in new parts of the city. After the 4/5 train had delays of an undetermined timeframe, I jumped on the A train to Penn station. I was trying to get off at 23rd street, but accidentally ended up on an express train to Penn Station. Not so far really, but I had it in my head that this place was on 6th between 19th and 20th, so I walked all the way down there, and realized....hmmmm....I am in the wrong place, and Rick is already there. I hopped in a cab and scurried back up to 29th street, just in time for our reservation.

Bar Basque is on the second floor, and because it was frigidly cold, the Matre 'd was also on the second floor. It was a little confusing as there are no signs. Just a big staircase and a hall. I almost walked into the windowed elevator door as it looked like just a hall way. I was really batting 1000 tonight :)

I had thought this was a different place when I made the reservation, so I was surprised by the second floor local, and the contemporary disco interior. Rick was waiting at the bar, so I took it upon myself to order a specialty cocktail. Perusing the menu, I selected a Kiwi Elderflower martini, made with tequila as the base. It was simply outstanding. I never would have thought the Elderflower liquor would have stood up to the tequila, but it did, and I really enjoyed it a lot :) If you come, don't miss it!

We made our way to the Matre 'd, and were shown to a 2 top in the atrium. It's an interesting room, and they show silent black and white short movies against the wall across the street - not long enough to take your attention away from the conversation, but a little light and motion :)

This is my post martini smile :)

We ordered from the Restaurant Week menu and elected to have the wine taste pairings as well. Rick started with the Crispy Farm Egg, nestled in a bed of potato and cheese sauce, and the yolk still warm dribbled over the serrano ham. Sigh ... this was amazing. It was paired with a light white wine with a light sparkle to it, Oloroso Faraon. 2 of these and you would have an amazing brunch.

I had the roasted beet salad. It arrived chilled, which surprised me, but it was very delicious. The caramelized goat cheese had a crispy topping of baked sugar, which I actually could have done with out, but over all the flavors really enhanced eachother nicely. The wine served with this, Txakoli Ametzoi, was akin perhaps to a cogniac - smokey, smooth and a little warm going down. I never would have selected it on my own, but it went really well with this salad. Nicely done!

For dinner, Rick selected the Paella. The presentation left something to be desired, but the bite I enjoyed was surprisingly flavorful with a nice spice to it. The small sausages and dark meat chicken were perhaps a bit over cooked for my taste, but Rick enjoyed it, and I encouraged him to scrape up the toasty rice bits from the pan, as this is a key part of the dish. His wine was a red - Tempranillo Montebuena unoaked - simple on it's own, but very complimentary to the dish.

Rick's happy sigh knowing I'm having fun, and we'll be home soon so he can play video games :)

My entree was the grilled snapper. It was nicely cooked - not over done, but lacked any kind of seasoning. I was looking for the salt shaker. The wine, also simple, light, and added flavor to the fish.

In retrospect, one of the specialties of the house is the crispy suckling pig. I would love to try that :)

For dessert, I had the chocolate flan. Oh. my.


It was rich and not too sweet. There was a sugary candy topping, but I pushed that aside to enjoy the richness of the dark chocolate. I used some to fill the little cookie there. I was planning to try the dried cherries, but I didn't. I'm not really a dried fruit gal. The wine with this dish was also another deep dark one - dark amber in color, and tasted very high in alcohol. I'm not a dessert wine person, and this was not your usual dessert wine - it tasted of chocolate and cherries, but alas, my palete must not be too good at this point because it seems that Nyquill may aspire to be this wine. Ah well - we all have what we like, right?

Rick had the Torta wth the honey iced cream - this was light, lovely, and nice end to a meal. The wine, a late harvest Moscatel, was not syrupy sweet. Just nicely sweet, and it was nice with the torta especially.
On the way out, I had to take a photo of the studio 54 look of the lounge - LOVE IT :) You just don't see places like this anywhere but NYC, so you have to enjoy the over-the-top-ness of it :)

I hope you try Bar Basque - it's normally a Tapas joint - and I'm looking forward to trying some of the Tapas next time. But go during restaurant week - they really have done a nice job with it.