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Restaurant Bea

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I met some girlfriends for dinner at Restaurant Bea last night. They've been open a little over two months and their first review (by Hanna Raskin) was published yesterday. Supposedly the review in the Times is coming out on Friday. Hanna made quite a point about the expensive jeans that many seemed to wear when she visited - we joked with the staff that perhaps we, and everyone else in the restaurant last night, were not dressed appropriately. They also pointed out that what Hanna calls a bright red wall in the bar, is actually a pale salmon color.


We started off with cocktails. They were out of the rhubarb shrub so I couldn't try the cocktail using that, instead I had the The 34th Cocktail with bourbon, punt e mes, habanero, angostura & celery bitters. The bartender told us them make their own bitters and infusions. I really liked it but the habanero bitters made it quite spicy. When I got there, my friend was just finishing her Kingston’s Violetrum with violette liquer, lime juice & a dash of angostura - which she said she really liked. Another friend had a manhattan, which she also liked.


There were four of us and we shared two starters. The tater tots with herb dip were just okay. The potatoes needed a lot of seasoning and the herb dip needed some acid. We also had the sweetbreads which were phenomenal. The apple gastric served with it was perfect.


Two people ordered the rabbit with herb spaetzle with fava beans, which the server highly recommended and we all agreed was our favorite. The rabbit was cooked perfectly - crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and the flavor of the sauce was perfectly balanced. The favas were a tad overcooked for my taste. Another person had the meatloaf. It looked like it was going to be dry and crumbly but it wasn't at all. It was like the best "Mom" meatloaf. I'll bet it makes a killer sandwich. I had the black cod with pea vines and black eyed peas in a brown butter sauce. Also really good and cooked perfectly. Brown butter sauce can sometimes taste too sweet and this one wasn't. Perhaps there was a splash of vinegar to counter the sweetness? We had a bottle of chianti that the server helped me select from the price point that would work for the group and it was perfectly acceptable.


They ordered a couple of desserts to share. I'm not much of a dessert eater so I had only a taste of each. One was called Cocoa caramel crunch with vanilla-poached apricots & whipped cream. Based on the troubles my friends had cutting through the crust, I'd say the emphasis here was on the "crunch". The other dessert was were the fritters with seasonal fruit. It tasted like apple to me which, now that I think of it, can't be right because they're not in season. These were fine but would have been better without the fruit. I had a lovely glass of sauternes, which everyone else wished they had ordered after they tasted it.


From all I read, I assumed the space would be too twee for me. Other than the flowered wall paper, I didn't find it twee at all. It's fresh and charming. The service was perfect all around. Total bill, including a 20% tip, was $53 per person.

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