So I was really excited to check out a new place that just opened nearby Bar Milano.
It was started by the same two brothers that opened 'ino, Inoeca and Lupa. Given the success of these places you can imagine the hype for Bar Milan has been big.
I decided to swing by late Sunday morning for some caffeine. I was greeted warmly by the hostess station as I came in and was lead to a seat at the bar. There were about 10 people enjoying breakfast in the bar room and one at the bar.
The bar room at Milano has windows all around looking out onto 3rd avenue. The space is sleek and bright.
The bar itself was very comfortable. There are only about 8 seats and each one is very roomy. A long narrow table runs down the middle for people to stand at when there are no stools left and tables line the walls.
The wall on the right side even had newspapers hanging from a rack so you could catch up the morning news without leaving your seat.
I took a seat at the bar and ordered up a macchiato which was very good. It was bold and strong, reminiscent of what I enjoyed in Italy years ago.
While I enjoyed my drink I had a very nice talk with the bartender.
He gave me a rundown of the restaurant including some facts like the stemware is hand blown in Poland, the mixologist was on Iron Chef and the time to come is on Sundays for some good company and food.
I decided to take him up on his word and came back on Sunday for dinner.
I showed up right around 5:00 and grabbed a table in the bar room. Over the next half hour my dining mates showed up and we got some drinks.
I ordered a very nice glass of Elana Walch Muller Thargau and Mr T got a Southhampton Double White Ale.
The bartender had told me this place would be known for its cocktails but thier wine and beer list was quite impressive as well.
It wasn't huge but everything was well selected. Ommegang and Southhampton are two of my favorte breweries so that was great for me.
We placed our order and they brought over a basket of bread.
Okay..again I'm no big bread expert but it was pretty awesome! The onion bread was nice and salty, the regular roll had a perfect crunch to the outside. The only part I wasn't a big fan of was the breadstick, which was too crunchy and lacked flavor.
For my first course I ordered, what would be my favorite dish of the night. The Spring Vegetables with Garlic and anchovy.
This dish was absolutely lovely. The vegetables were cooked perfectly so that they were crisp but without losing any flavor. Tiny little croutons flavored with garlic were spread throughout and gave it a little kick without overpowering the nice fresh tastes of the veggies.
Now I should add in here that when I was ordering I asked our waiter what kinds of vegetables were in this dish. He had told me beets, carrots, vidalia onions and brussel sprouts.
Hmm...not exactly correct was he. No beets or onions here. Just Brussel Sprouts, Carrots & Yellow squash.
Mr T ordered the Scallop with Uni and Meyer Lemon.
When this came out I have to admit I took one look at it and thought really...$17.00?? Come on.
I tried a couple of bites and it was very good. It really tasted like a refreshing summer dish but honestly I could have eaten about 3 more. The portion was so small!!
Beside's the size, the only appetizer that disappointed taste wise was Kate's Porcini Mushroom dish.
We couldn't figure out what the side of custard was and asked the waiter. He mumbled something about cheese and walked away.
Okay- I know it's the first weekend and if you don't know that's alright. At least tell us you don't know and try tofind out though. That was a little annoying. He really didn't seem to care.
After about 10 minutes more our entrees came out.
I had the Sea Scallops with Celery Root Puree.
Okay- I have a lot of questions about this dish. The Diver Scallops were fantastic. They were nicely seared and had a great meaty flavor that matched the caviar.
The Bay Scallops were...interesting to say the least.
They are the one's in the shell.
They weren't cooked, I think they were steamed and I wasn't too sure what to do with them. I cut one in half and this overpowering smell of salt and brine came flooding toward me.
It smelled like the Pacific Ocean had flopped on my plate and died.
Kate was sitting next to me and got hit by the wave of salty brine as well. Mr. T grabbed one to try because he thought we were over reacting...
His face said it all...He cringed and forced a swallow. OMG this was bad. I'm not sure who decided to try this kind of scallop but it didn't work.
Mr T ordered the Agnello Misto..or the Lamb shoulder, loin and tongue.
The shoulder and loin were very good. They were packed with flavor and were interesting to eat side by side texture wise. The tongue was a little disappointing ...it was kind of tough with little flavor compared to the loin.
Our last entree was the Tagliatelle alla Bolgnese.
I thought this dish was very nice. The pasta was cooked al dente and the ragu was tasty.
It wasn't stunning but it was a solid dish.
Some final note on our dinner.
The space is just lovely. I felt so relaxed and happy in our seats. The place was packed towards the end of the night and I still felt comfortable.
As with any new place service needs some work. But unlike new places where the waiter is running around, ours seemed indifferent. The only time I got eye contact from him was when I wanted the check.
If he had been more attentive we probably would have had at least one or two more rounds of drinks. So basically he lost out on at least $20 more worth of tips.
He also gave us one horribly wrong dish description and mumbled something illegible about the other.
The other down side was the portion size.
Every dish was quite tiny. I am a light eater and after eating the bread, appetizer and entree I'm usually ready to explode. Here I was only slightly full.
For me that's alright but the other two were still petty hungry! For the price we paid I would have expected more food.
So overall my experience was mixed. I will definitely go back for a drink at the bar with the friendly bartenders. And I really want to try out their fried rabbit dish but not until they work out some service issues.