The room simply designed, raw and garage-y but with touches of whimsy, like the fanciful scrolls on the ceiling connecting the wiring between suspended lamps and twinkling, sparse lighting. While it is scarcely windowed, something in the lighting or the openess of the room and exposed concrete, make it feel like a party being thrown in an abandoned warehouse. But when the food arrives, Chef Bryan's culinary artistry shines through beyond the capacity of any house party. As a result of this, I'd wager Bacchanal is here to stay.
But that's to stray from the real genius of the restaurant: Bryan's food. We started off with the refreshingest of refreshing chilled corn soup, tumbled with halved cherry tomatoes and subtly bumped with zesty roasted poblanos, an immaculate balance of sweet and earthy, tang and heat, with a crunchy slurry of plump, fresh corn kernels hovering underneath the smooth, basil-flecked surface. Toying between the fennel & crimini salad and an appetizer of roasted beets, our server steered me towards the latter. The dense, sweet beets hid underneath a tumble of frisee, and although the beets-and-chevre
|photo credit: Katherine S. of Yelp|
Our waiter passed by frequently, dispersing a noticeable number of annoyingly cliched scripts, like "how does everything look?" and kept offering his "help" with everything from additional beverages to Anything in General, etc. I guess if you notice someone is saying something too often or it inspires discomfort, there's something to be worked on. And the service was attentive and friendly: ours just needed to polish his verbage. But by the time we were "helped" to our entrees, all linguistic woes were forgotten: both plates we tried were outstanding. The Test of a Great Chef, the roasted chicken, was all out
perfect. The meat was so tender and flavorful it could've been spooned, the polenta underneath that is intended for a spoon as creamy and corny as the grain allows. I kept stealing chanterelles from my tablemate's plate (this was his entree), defending myself by offering him a few manilas from my cod. Not that I wanted to sacrifice many of the plumply meaty clams that bedecked my plate, but those mushrooms in that madeira jus were just magnetic. And the clams were plentiful, as well as the hunk of Atlantic cod sizable enough to fulfill protein requirements on its own. Bronzed to a golden crust, it luxuriated in a buttery, garlicky broth, thickened with a dense white bean puree than dissolved into the rich saline broth, just screaming to be swabbed up with hunks of the fresh, chewy slices of excellent, thick-cut bread provided. Both entrees had such
To console myself for the minimal veg, we opted for a fruity dessert of peach tart tatin with creme fraiche ice cream and caramel, although the empting assortment of dessert-worthy cocktails was commensurately tempting. But the tart was impressive, profoundly caramelly and heavily dusted in confectioner's sugar. The puff pastry fought the fork a little too assertively, overwhelming the intensely peachy peach slices and their small dose of ice cream- I might tweak the proportions of this dessert somewhat, but the flavors were spot-on. As was the case with the entire meal at Bacchanal: in terms of Tests of Great Chefs, Scott Bryan passes magna cum laude.