- scene: A little nautical, with white walls and light wood and leather; fun 70's and 60's soul playing...
- sip: Anything! Specialty cocktails and wine, etc...
- savor: Kingfish
- sit: Hmmmm...friends from the neighborhood, date night, with a friend who likes to try the newest hottest places
- spend: $$
- address: 461 West 23rd Street
- phone number: (212) 255-7400
- website: www.barchettanyc.com
I am not quite sure how to write up Barchetta, the newest place from Dave Pasternack from Esca and LDV Hospitaltiy. I know that this might sound like we should have known better, but we were just so excited to eat at Barchetta that we broke our rule (again) of giving a place time to work out the kinks before trying it. We REALLY wanted to love it- enough that we missed the first half of the Heat game to eat dinner there- because we have history with the Bette space, and rarely meet Italian we don’t like. However, our experience was flawed in regard to both food and service, but we are (pretty) confident that the correct changes can be made.
Service was just inattentive and confused; there also seemed to be no management to check on the service experience, swoop in when people are sitting with dirty plates, take drink orders while servers are busy, etc. This stage of a restaurant opening should rely heavily on consumer feedback and a quick, trained manager is crucial to both overseeing the process and placating the customer. A smart manager can read the room from the customer and service perspective. Our server was about 16 years old and very sweet, but not very seasoned in regard to certain cues- half eaten dishes going back into the kitchen, flow of service, etc.
Anyway, we began with a soft-shell crab that was prepared with a nice crunch without being deep fried, although a little heavily salted; the accompanying hearts of palm salad contributed a bright pop of citrus and a crisp bit of texture. I am trying to find a polite way to speak about the crudo sampler without saying that it was gross; all of the cuts of fish were seemingly interchangeable, and tasteless except for relentless amounts of olive oil. A few of the pieces were not cut properly and were hard to chew because of interrupting tendons. They were unimpressive and disappointing; when a bite of every piece of fish of a six piece sampler is going back untouched, someone should have sensed something was wrong. We are dainty but two girls sharing crudos should be a clean plate club. The pictures are pretty telling, the crudo in the middle didn’t even really look good.
Daryl’s kingfish looked like a pork chop, but was delicious- light and flaky, beautiful seasonal vegetable accompaniments, a very solid dish. My fusili with clams and calabrian chiles was rather ordinary, the sauce delivering some kick but indistinguishable from a bottled sauce. The chunks of clam were good, but too scarce.
We sat with our plates for an extremely long time, trying to make eye contact with anyone, but servers just passed us by with their heads down. We sat, and sat, and sat and debating getting our drinks directly from the bar, but by the time the plates were cleared we were too over Barchetta for another drink or dessert. Also, Daryl’s husband was holding down the fort at the Half King with a plate of nachos and a view of the game, so we decided to move on with our night.
Again, before some interneter yells at me, I know that places need to get into a groove; we also heard that Pasternack was NOT in the kitchen last night, which might have contributed to some of our troubles. We have another reservation in a few weeks and look forward to seeing what goes on at the point…I think….