Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Barbuzzo Review

This is part of a series of posts related to Chef Marcie Turney including: VerdeLolitathe Midtown Village FestivalJamoneraLittle Nonna's, and Barbuzzo.

For one of first dates, I took the GF to Barbuzzo. At the time, I was a fairly new transplant from NYC, but I heard that Chef Marcie Turney was doing great things on 13th Street. Having eaten here more than a few times now, it's clear why Barbuzzo is the heart of the Turney-Safran empire.

So on a recent date night, the GF and I returned to Barbuzzo - I asked for Chef's counter seating on Opentable, but alas, we were relegated to the cramped 2 tops - the one downfall of Barbuzzo. With most tables you'll practically be on top of other diners - a problem when you order like I do.

Sheep's Milk Ricotta [$10]
EVOO, vin cotto, herbs, sea salt, grilled french country bread

A la Andrew Carmellini's Locanda Verde, the sheep's milk ricotta here is just as good. With almost a burrata-like texture, the ricotta was creamy and topped with olive oil. The dash of subtly sweet, acidic vin cotto with some sea salt was just right. The accompanying char-grilled country bread was the perfect vessel for the ricotta.

Roasted Beet Salad [$9]
Young goat cheese, grapefruit, tuscan kale, pistachio pesto, sherry vinegar

The ubiquitous roasted beet salad was punched up with pistachio pesto and the addition of sherry vinegar, which helped to perk up the kale. The grapefruit provided brightness against the subtle sweetness of the gorgeous beats and the tang of the goat cheese. Glad the GF pushed for this.

Roasted Bone Marrow [$10]
Crostini, persillade, celery-parsley salad, lemon

The GF was aghast, but she knew deep down this would be a given. The marrow was roasted nicely, with the persillade providing garlicky herbaceousness to complement the acidity of the pickled red onions - perfect to provide that countervailing element to the God's butter. The celery-parsley salad added some freshness as well.

Braised Short Rib [$17]
Parsnip puree, roasted grapes, celery heart salad 

The short ribs were pull-apart tender, with the rich savoriness balanced by the subtly sweet parsnip puree and the roasted grapes. The celery heart salad made a reappearance, providing some texture and freshness. 

Parsnip Ravioli [$14]
Pecorino, thyme, pine nuts

The GF was in heaven with the parsnip pasta. Not overly sweet, the parsnip innards were complemented by the brown butter and salty pecorino, which helped to balance the salty and sweet elements to the dish. Perfectly formed pasta had nice bite, with additional texture provided by the addition of the pine nuts.

Butternut Arancini [$9]
Crispy butternut squash risotto balls, sage pesto, grana padano, smoked blue tractor farm honey

We also went with the Italian rice croquettes, which were nicely crispy, filled with al dente risotto. The sweetness of the butternut squash was accentuated by the honey. This was all balanced by the salty Italian cheese and the savory sage pesto.

Uovo [$16]
Brussel sprout leaves, guanciale, secret white sauce, parmesan, fior di latte, truffled farm egg

Barbuzzo was also the first restaurant the GF had an egg on a pizza and fell in love (possibly with me as well). While there may have been a bit too much crust on this particular rendition, there was decent leoparding and the ingredients within made up for it. The truffled farm egg brought forth heady scents and flavors that didn't overpower. This melded nicely with salty guanciale, mozzarella, and the creamy white sauce. The brussel sprout leaves helped to add savory herbaceousness to each bite.

The accompanying chili oil and dried oregano helped me make good headway with the abundant crust on this pizza.

Salted Caramel Budino [$8]
Dark chocolate crust, vanilla bean caramel, sea salt

And all meals at Barbuzzo should end appropriately - with a salted caramel budino. This is pure genius, highlighting why salt and sweet are perfect juxtapositions in a dessert. The richness of the vanilla bean caramel is heightened by the crystals of sea salt, with the duality in textures represented by the crusty dark chocolate and the quenelle of light creme fraiche. 

Service is great as well - our server William was particularly on point. I do have to point out that oftentimes it's the diners that are in the wrong. A table directly to our right was despicable - crude jokes complemented by knocking back three rounds of drinks within 10 minutes apparently equates to leaving a piss poor tip at the end. This was all while having their server cancel food orders right before they were about to come out. At Barbuzzo, you'll receive great service and amazing food. Lesson of the day: enjoy the food, but don't be an ass!

Barbuzzo on Urbanspoon

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