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Barmarché

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Barmarché


Address: 14 Spring St.
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10012
Phone: (212) 219-2399
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Cuisine: New American
2nd Cuisine: Italian
Area: Little Italy
Entree Price: $20-25


Review:

Chris Eddy and Clark Clark, the hip owners of the newly opened barmarché, met while working at Bungalow 8 where Clark (who moved to New York from Momo's in London) was the Bar Manager, and Chris worked the crowds as GM. Their first project as a team, barmarche is a white-washed corner spot in the space that was most recently Café Lebowitz. They have kept the charming French door windows and vintage tin ceilings, but spruced up the design factor significantly, giving it a sleek and sexy Miami meets casual bistro vibe. On the night were there, flocks of Miu-Miu clad amazons were seated on the benches outside, smoking and chatting, and looking fiercely fabulous. And yet, while barmarche has its share of models and celebs tucked into snug banquettes and tightly spaced bistro tables, this is a place for all the neighborhood, which means that seated next to Tyler Florence and fans you'll find couples awkwardly working through first dates (more cocktails people!), and flush-faced young parents with their newly hatched babes. How very sweet. Clark is a master of liquid in a glass, and his cocktail list includes both properly made classics (Daiquiri, The Mark, Mint Julep, Old Fashioned) and some seriously intoxicating personal creations like his Brazilian Sangria—fresh lime juice, sugarcane rum and red wine, the Valentino—stoli strawberi, champagne and passion fruit puree, and the Rum Ginger—three rums, pineapple juice and freshly muddled ginger (all $9). The reasonably priced menu (apps are $6-$11, entrees from $11-$20) is under the warm care of chef Angel Andrade, who has worked with Jean Georges at Mercer Kitchen, and most recently at Spice Market. He's got the right vision for this sort of chic local spot—he isn't over reaching or over fussing. He is serving a solid selection of eats that you might easily come back for several times a week. There are snacks like roasted red pepper hummus and pita ($8), salads of beets and goat cheese drizzled in citrus vinaigrette ($9), hearty sandwiches filled with chicken and avocado ($9), and mains from spaghetti with tomatoes, basil, and olives ($11), to salmon crusted in tapenade with leek fondue ($16), and grilled pork loin with lavender mustard glaze and caramelized endive ($16). There's something for every mood and craving. And that's what you want from a place in the 'hood. To start, we shared a little pizzetta—a crispy round crust topped with artichokes, dollops of creamy ricotta cheese and slivers of sundried tomato ($8). Fried calamari ($9), while ubiquitous and uninspired in most incarnations, is pretty darn good here. Small hoops of squid, nicely breaded and deep-fried to a golden crunch, are piled up in a small hill, accompanied by a vibrant, high-heat roasted jalapeño marmalade ($9). A relentlessly flavorful cheeseburger ($11) was a runaway hit, served on a fluffy yet firm brioche bun with a lovely mess of garlicky fries. My friend Susie, who is known to wax poetic about most morsels of food she consumes, was quite silent when she bit into said burger, topped with a bubbly layer of cheddar. She just closed her eyes and chewed. Eventually, she opened them, and spoke. "Wow." Pause. "Oh my God." Then she was silent again, and she went in for another bite. Susie can be dramatic about food, but she was right. While Susie was having a moment with her burger, Kiri and I dug into a deep dish of braised beef short ribs with white beans, eggplant and roasted garlic ($20)—meaty, melting slabs of cow, in a rich red wine sauce. The dish is the perfect welcome for bone-chilling winter nights. A weak link was the grilled baby octopus ($12)—a bit cold and chewy actually, and though served over a nice salad of greens and peppers, a disappointment. Not so for the roasted pear salad ($9) though, which was an inspired variation on the classic: caramelized slices of roasted pear fanned out next to a mound of diced endive tossed with toasted walnuts and rich and assertive chunks of Roquefort cheese. We left quite a clean plate. What I like about barmarché is that it knows what it is—it is not a temple to 3-star cerebral food, it's not a could-care-less dive with waiters who are far more concerned with their indie screenplays than taking your order. It is a cool neighborhood spot with style, offering informed, friendly, and effective service, terrific high-end cocktails, and a satisfying and enjoyable selection of food. All in all, nicely done.

Review By: Andrea Strong


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