Friday, May 4, 2012

Bun Time at BARLO


I never even knew the Hotel Erwin, a mere few blocks away from my house, contained a tiny little, sleek and silver, bar/restaurant on its first floor, accessible from the street. Everyone I know always raves about its rooftop cocktails and music scene that admittedly, on the one occasion I attempted to go up there, learned wasn’t quite for me. The Cute Gardener discovered the little restaurant BARLO Kitchen and Cocktails at the bottom through his perpetual search for a new hamburger to eat and we ended up finally trying it out this past weekend after a 5-mile hike that had us hankering for some meat.

A small bar menu doesn’t offer a lot but I saw three items immediately that fit my normal palate and I ordered them: pork buns, a pickled salad and fried green tomatoes.

The pink eggs were pretty but nothing in this “pickled” salad tasted remotely pickle-y. It was all a basic beet and egg salad with no real punch.

I was excited for the fried green tomatoes and ordered it like I do every time I see it on a menu. But it was not very good. There was no discernable difference in taste between the fried covering and the mushy tomato. And it was on a pile of similarly mushy diced tomatoes. And it was served with a warm cheese rather than a tangy, zesty, bright and cold contrasting one. Too bad.

I am addicted to most kinds of bao buns and this take on the dish made me very happy. Pork belly cooked to taste and texture like thick, savory bacon on pancake-like, thick disks tasting of the normal chewy bao bun, and a sweet sauce slathered on underneath a nice, crunchy/chewy juxtaposition of fried onions strings.

We shared all of the above and then he enjoyed a Barlo burger, apparently what the place is known for. I thought it was excellent with a surprisingly creamy layer of herbed goat cheese on the meat that was thick and well proportioned to the bun.

They do not know how to make a Negroni. I ordered two because I needed something to numb my ass from the soreness of the hike, but they were watery and fruity tasting. The Campari was thinned completely by whatever else they added to the mix. The thing was served in a short lead glass tumbler with ICE! Big no no. And I saw the bartenders confusedly looking up how to make the famous Italian drink on their iPhones together. I guess they only really needed to memorize the five house concoctions in their repertoire of familiar drinks, and according to my boyfriend, they at least knew how to get their signature offerings right.

But all that being said, I must emphasize two things. I LOVED the pork buns and they were not too costly. The two girls sitting next to me were speaking Romanian and typing on a laptop while they ate their spare little salads and collaborating on a screenplay together. So of course, I now have romantic visions of eating those pork buns while finishing the rest of my novel in progress in that little known, recess of a bar mere minutes from my home.

No comments:

Post a Comment