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mitchleeny | Mar 10, 201410:39 PM     13

Friday night dinner at the bar here exceeded expectations in both service and food. Arrived at 6:45 and there were a couple of seats at the bar which we were welcomed to.

My wife's house cocktail (Lorenzo) was fine, and I drank from the, for now, limited sherry list (4 by the glass) and wines by the glass. She followed hers up with the Bolo Sangira.

From the "bar menu" one can pick any 3 items for $17. They're certainly small, but shareable. One of them was a beautiful roasted artichoke heart topped with a quail egg and uni. Lamb loin nice and rare with salsa verde was quite good, and the sauteed duck livers hit the spot.

We moved on to larger plates; the crab risotto was delicious, with perfectly cooked rice; what really made the dish sing was the hint of anise from fennel or fresh tarragon or both, kind of unexpected, but welcome. A crispy squid plate was perfectly fried and tender, and the anchovy vinaigrette and green chili pesto were mopped up with the squid.

We shared the pork chop porterhouse, a huge hulk of meat that would've been more to my liking had it spent 3 less minutes on the fire. The romesco polenta that accompanied it was fine - I wanted more of it. A nice plate of roasted carrots with spicy harissa and yogurt went perfectly with the chop.

Cause we never get enough, we shared the tarte tatin for dessert; a near-textbook example of this fine pie, with white-pepper gelato to boot, along with 2 glasses of comped sherry and house-baked cookies to finish.

The service was smooth, especially for just opening, the room is gorgeous, dominated in the center by a rectangular bar that must seat 3 dozen people - comfortably, in chairs with backs (do you hear that, all you backless stool places)? We'll be heading back as soon as we can - it should get even better.

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