A few weeks ago, I went to a dinner at Bar Tartine for a friend's birthday. We were a large group, so the menu was pre-planned for us, and it included a lot of the regular menu (I'm pretty sure everything we got was something that any diner could have ordered that night). I wasn't a part of the planning process, so I am not sure how much things cost for our meal (served in multiple courses, family style), but I can report on the meal itself.
Overall, I thought the food was excellent, but some things were better than others.
First course in included homemade pickles, spinach and goat cheese dip, and langos (fried potato bread). The highlight here was definitely the langos - it was like a cross between poori and fried dough, with sour cream, garlic, and scallions on top. I could have eaten an entire one of these myself.
Next course was chicories with preserved lemon, horseradish, coriander and radish; chopped salad w/ salami, haloumi, and other ingredient; warm beet soup with smoked brisket. I remember that the chicory dish was refreshing, but the big standout in this course was the beet soup. Holy cow, this was really good, and this is coming from someone who doesn't even like beets that much. The smoky brisket was fall-apart tender (it was hard to distinguish the pieces of meet from pieces of meat), and the deep purple soup was creamy and rich. It seems like some beef stock was involved in the soup itself. As of right now, it's on the regular menu for $14 and it is definitely worth that price!
Third course was chicken paprikas, nokedli, roasted cauliflower w/ seven spice and seaweed, and asparagus w/ cardoon sauce. Everything was very good, although nothing in particular stood out as much as the salads and appetizers had. The cauliflower and seaweed combo was different, and the experiment paid off. Meanwhile, for me, the chicken paprikas was a little too refined and rich. I would have preferred a more homestyle version; this was very fancy.
Dessert course was next, and for me, this was the weakest part of the meal. Cheesecake was fine, but a bit pedestrian, and chocolate dobos torte was a bit dry and plain. I liked the salted caramel that came on the plate with the chocolate torte - very salty. I would have honestly preferred to eat another order of langos for dessert. It would be cool if they could make a sweet version of the langos, maybe with some cinnamon and light dusting of sugar.
Overall, Bar Tartine was enjoyable (this was my first time dining there for dinner, so I never tried the previous chef's dinner menu), and I'd definitely return, particularly for the langos and the beet soup!
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