Truth is, we were hoping to catch the opening night of Market Table but unfortunately it doesn't open until tomorrow night. We did chat with Gabriel and Joey. They did an absolutely fantastic job of renovating the place on the corner of Carmine and Downing. The menu looks good too. I particularly like the market place. Sweet idea. Old school. I hope to get there in the next week or so.
Instead, we went next door to Bar Fry. Carmine Street is undergoing a serious transformation. The Noodle Bar, the Pizza place, now Bar Fry which happened to just take over the lease of 51 Carmine to open up a raw bar (near future). All good news. Restaurants on Carmine, food to take home and cook on Bleeker right around the corner where there is Amy's Bread, Murrays Cheese and the Lobster Fish Place. A foodies heaven.
I really like what they have done architecturally to Bar Fry. Blue trim surrounding glass and white. Simple. As Josh said, "high end food served in a non-high end way, quick and casual.". He actually summed it up.
FYI, liquor license is coming so you can pick up a bottle two doors over.
The concept is perfect for sharing. In some ways, the feel is similar to a nouveau Lobster Shack. Not too expensive. Josh, the chef, came out and talked to us about the food. Love that.
We tried a lot of different things. The tempura has been written about everywhere. Light and crispy but don't be fooled, it is still tempura. Dipping sauces on the side are clever and tasty. Red Chili Citrus, Jalapeno Soy (spicy), Sweet Miso ( a winner ) and Wasabi Remoulade (didn't love this one). We went with the shrimp ( 3 pieces ) which was large and light and delicious. They serve all of the tempura you order in a large brown box which is a nice visual and clever. We went with the calamari, eggplant (in sticks), shitake mushrooms (caps), string beans, pumpkin and pork dumpling. The calamari was crispy and light as was the vegetables. The dumpling is huge and I didn't really like the filling. Not light, too dense. The special tempura was Skookum Oysters from Washington State. Huge, like the size of your palm, fried in a tempura batter. Incredible. I would have liked to go in the kitchen and have one raw.
We also went with some other specials. Koma kampachi with spicy soy and chives flown in from Hawaii that day. Sliced pieces of kampachi with a massive amount of finely chopped chives over each piece served in a spicy soy. Very tasty. The other special was the Raw Box. Tartars of tuna and kampachi, tuna sashimi tea smoked anago (sea eel) rice and miso soup loaded with mushrooms. Each one was served in a small white bowl. Makes it easy to share. The tartars were each served differently. Kampachi was served with an avocado base and the kampachi was served with spicy chives. Josh totally loved the anago, I found it a bit fishy.
It was fun to be at a restaurant that just opened 2 weeks ago. We tasted as much as we could so how could we resist the dessert to top off the meal. Green tea cupcake. Absolutely delicious. Sounds strange but quite good. They also make ice creams and sorbets there. We had the triple whammy of ice cream. Green tea, black sesame and bay leaf. An interesting combo but each was tasty and rich.
Perfect location for a restaurant like Bar Fry. Near NYU, near our kids school, the price is right, the service is beyond quick ( I swear everything came out with in 5-7 minutes of ordering) and the atmosphere is light and fun. Food is good not stellar but hey, it's tempura. They could back off the hard core hip hop but it begins to fade into the background after awhile.
Thumbs up for Bar Fry. New idea well executed.