Happy New Year everybody!
Since everything’s closed today and I’m recuperating from last night’s festivities, I thought I’d give you a quick turnaround review of Bar Ferdinand and their New Year’s Eve pre-fixe dinner.
First, a small disclaimer: I’m not usually in the habit of snapping pics of food at restaurants because 1. it’s kind of weird and 2. it takes away from the event and conversation. However, since we didn’t get our first course until nearly 11:00 pm and the place was packed with boisterous revelers, I decided a few extra flashbulbs wouldn’t hurt.
First Course – Pumpkin Soup
As you can see from their site, Bar Ferdinand specializes in Spanish tapas. However, for New Year’s Eve, they offered a six course pre-fixe menu. While the food took a long time to make it to our table (ensuring that our meal would straddle two separate years), I must admit I was very impressed. A lot of restaurants seem to dip in quality when they switch to pre-fixe, but I enjoyed almost every course. We started with the above pumpkin soup, which was delicate and creamy, offset with a scattering of crunchy pine nuts. It was garnished with a dollop of a creamy cheese (possibly goat) with a strong dill flavor. It was a good start.
Second Course – Arugala Salad
Sorry for the over-flashed picture. The blindingly bright strips on top of the greens are apple. The salad also had some crumbles of roasted chestnut and a tangy vinaigrette. It was remarkably well-balanced and its huge crunch factor made for a good follow-up to the creamy soup.
Third Course – Croquetas
There was a choice here between the roasted pork and cheese variety (which is pictured) and wild mushroom and goat cheese. I went for the meat (mostly because I don’t like goat cheese) and was slightly disappointed. While the pork was perfectly succulent, I was expecting a good dose of salty cheese to kick it up. The cheese, however, was barely noticeable, and thus I found myself eating a dollop of un-flavored roast pork in a pastry cup.
Fourth Course – Steak with Potato/Apple Gratin
Once again, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a steak dish that I initially assumed would be phoned in. The beef (which I want to say was short rib, but I can’t recall) was very tender and nicely complimented by the port demi-glaze it sat in. The potato/apple gratin had a very unique combination of flavors, making it very difficult to describe. I’m not sure it was the right match for the meat, but I appreciated the interesting flavor interactions.
Fifth Course – Goat Cheese Empanadas
I can’t really comment on this course because I didn’t eat it. I know empanadas are one of the specials of the house, and with the blackberry currant, it looked very appetizing; but the goat cheese again scared me away. Also, I was looking forward to dessert and this course was brought out at an inopportune time – right at midnight. So, feel free to randomly judge this course by the picture alone.
Sixth Course – Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
This was my first food of 2008 and, unfortunately, the least successful of the meal that had begun in 2007. While it looked like what you’d expect (sorry, no picture), the chocolate cake was simply unremarkable. It was not nearly intense enough and was possibly even a little dry. The ice cream was very good, but enough to make up for the cake.
Despite the awful wait and the disappointment of the dessert, I was ultimately impressed with Bar Ferdinand. The place itself is very comfortable, especially for big parties and adventure seekers, while the food was inventive and flavorful. The wines (of which we sampled three) were also excellent.
Let’s hope 2008 holds more good meals, both in and out of the house!