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Well, didn't think it could happen, but this place has to move right up to the top of the list of most uncomfortable bar-stools in the city. If you're going to make a bar stool with a 3" back, why bother - it won't even cover up the top of a thong. And then, they're configured, sort of with the front of the seat higher than the back so you feel like you're always falling off - nice...

 

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As the Bowery becomes the new Meat Packing district, I imagine this type of place will become the standard. Plenty of room to sit/stand around and drink...lots of ledges. Fine, fine cocktails, but that's to be expected with Naren Young at or behind the stick. And a truly sweet staff serving them.

 

The food we tried left me flat. Oh, the cod fritters were fine, but I won't be heading out of my way (oh wait, it's not out of my way) for the sweetbreads (which, to tell the truth, I was expecting/hoping to be a little more like the seminal ones at Momo) or the risotto or the swiss chard agnolotti. Dessert - no thanks - we headed up the street to the new ice-cream joint, Morgenstern's.

 

YMMV.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm going soon. Took a look at the list. Very curious. Does anyone know who does it? It feels like a list done by an older person who has been out of the game for a bit. The handful of nods in the direction of more hip things are along the lines of Joguet Chinon (OK, so you read Kermit's book 25 years ago), or Domaine du Pelican (OK, so you've heard of D'Angerville and figure this will be safe). But in general, it is the big guns of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and a few other classic areas (OK, so when you turn to your old library and look under "Spain" you discover Vega Sicilia), at very high prices, though some relative bargains if a below-retail price for La Tache strikes you as a bargain.

 

Discounting the three and four digit stuff, there are certainly things to drink on a Tuesday night on the list. The markup and thought process on those is highly variable. They lean toward classics (good price on Vatan), unknown producers at what must be 5X wholesale (Domaine La Barbotaine, also in Sancerre), or somm logrolling (Sandhi).

 

With some exceptions here and there, this is an UES list for a fancy place. It is more likely than the list at, say, Pearl&Ash or Racines to produce sticker shock in the unwary. I wonder if they will get the crowd to come down to the Bowery to drink much of the stuff on offer. They are unlikely to generate geek buzz with this, it's more a country club list of safe choices that these days are very, very expensive.

 

Anyhow, I wonder who did the list and what he was thinking. I say "he," because this has such an old-line feel to it that there are few female candidates to consider for the position.

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I'm going soon. Took a look at the list. Very curious. Does anyone know who does it? It feels like a list done by an older person who has been out of the game for a bit. The handful of nods in the direction of more hip things are along the lines of Joguet Chinon (OK, so you read Kermit's book 25 years ago), or Domaine du Pelican (OK, so you've heard of D'Angerville and figure this will be safe). But in general, it is the big guns of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and a few other classic areas (OK, so when you turn to your old library and look under "Spain" you discover Vega Sicilia), at very high prices, though some relative bargains if a below-retail price for La Tache strikes you as a bargain.

 

Discounting the three and four digit stuff, there are certainly things to drink on a Tuesday night on the list. The markup and thought process on those is highly variable. They lean toward classics (good price on Vatan), unknown producers at what must be 5X wholesale (Domaine La Barbotaine, also in Sancerre), or somm logrolling (Sandhi).

 

With some exceptions here and there, this is an UES list for a fancy place. It is more likely than the list at, say, Pearl&Ash or Racines to produce sticker shock in the unwary. I wonder if they will get the crowd to come down to the Bowery to drink much of the stuff on offer. They are unlikely to generate geek buzz with this, it's more a country club list of safe choices that these days are very, very expensive.

 

Anyhow, I wonder who did the list and what he was thinking. I say "he," because this has such an old-line feel to it that there are few female candidates to consider for the position.

 

one of the partners here is Peter Poulakakos so Harry's influence? Harry has always had an impressive cellar and loved the big guns, one might too when growing up in the biz around Bayard's and Harry's wine lists and holdings?

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Interesting.

 

It's one thing to offer that list in Hanover Square, in a day when that was the middle of Wall Street. It will be interesting to see how it plays to the Bowery.

 

Also, those wines used to be 2 or 3X what the cheaper stuff cost, and are now 10X.

 

It's a very interesting choice.

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Early dinner here tonight. I don't love the room, but the straightforward food was uniformly very tasty. Hamachi app was fresh and bright. Octopus was tender and textured and tasty.

 

Chitarra pasta had fabulous texture. Likewise the skirt steak.

 

Nothing too elaborate,but everything very well executed and very tasty.

 

I don't adore the room. Didn't try a barstool.

 

The night started slow, but by 9:00 the place was filling up. I think they are not trying to jam the seats just yet.

 

It's not, say, Racines, but it is quite good, and at a very different price point (at least until a review).

 

Curious place. I look forward to watching it grow up.

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Wine geek alert--free corkage Mondays at Bacchanal.

 

The current low prices on the menu and great food would combine with free corkage to make this a very worthy destination.

 

Separately, someone I spoke to in the house today told me that they expected Wilf Jaeger for a "bring one, buy one off the list" DRC night tonight. Now that's a party.

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  • 1 month later...

Racines is on vacation, so went to Bacchanal last night for a quick BYO dinner. It reinforced my views above.

 

As a guy in another place said to me after when we discussed it, "I don't care if the food is so 1994. It's damn good 1994."

 

But they were very good sports about the corkage.

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Stopped here on Sunday for an earlyish (6:30) dinner. Pretty much had the whole place to myself. It's a rather large space, and looks like basically like any other tablecloth-less upscale casual spot. Only one other couple was there, and I think another couple walked in later, but they were all the way on the opposite side of the room.

 

The menu format's a little ambiguous. It's divided into two header-less sections - the top section is mostly stuff priced in the teens, and the bottom section has a few things priced in the teens and a few things priced in the mid twenties. Nothing is over $26. I know the cheaper stuff on top is small, but is the bottom half of the menu legitimate main courses or are they just slightly larger or made with more expensive ingredients? It's hard to tell. The bottom half features three pastas for $17-$18. Are they mains? Should I order two courses, three, or more? There's no way to know for sure unless you ask (and the waiter's intention is always going to be to sell you more food, so I don't know if you can rely on that). I ordered three courses + dessert. It seems like the non-pasta stuff on the bottom section is main courses. The pasta portions aren't bad either, but they're a little light for a main course imho. So I ended up overordering.

 

Luckily the food's pretty good. I started with a cocktail - a peach julep (I forget the name on the menu) - pretty excellent and served with a slice of peach as a garnish.

 

As an appetizer, octopus. Cooked perfectly and served with a good amount of chorizo oil, which imparted a meaty, almost smokey flavor profile that worked really well.

 

The swiss chard and ricotta agnolotti were very skillfully made as well, and were completely drowned in butter. The amount of butter could definitely be a problem for some people, but I love butter.

 

I could have dropped one of the above courses and it would have been enough food, but I also ordered the chicken with chanterelles and mascarpone polenta. The chicken itself was good, but not among the best. Maybe they're not using as great of a bird as some places? It was cooked correctly though, with an excellent crisp skin. It looked like half a chicken, so it was a legit main course. The polenta and chanterelle components were excellent.

 

Dessert selection was very limited - I think only three options. I ordered a peach tarte tatin on puff pastry. It was excellent.

 

Worth a visit. Order one of the $20-something proteins and one other course and it'll be enough.

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