Casual fine dining? Sounds like the best of both worlds, come as you are, and enjoy delicious and sophisticated fare. This is how Bacchanal in Little Italy is described, so, I had to try it out. The food has Mediterranean inspiration and a wine list as extensive as Paris Hilton’s shoe collection.
I did have a glass of wine, which was delightful, but I also had to try one of their cocktails, courtesy of a Saxon + Parole vet. I went for the Chamomile (altos blanco, yellow chartreuse, chamomile honey, fresh lemon, egg white). This was a glass of summertime sweetness. It has a really delicate flavor and sweetness, and is very refreshing.
Next, to start, we got Grilled Spanish Octopus ( eggplant caviar, paprika). Topped with arugula, a single, thick piece of octopus (sorry, that sounds inappropriate, but, that’s the description…deal) is laid atop of an eggplant component, almost similar to ratatouille. The octopus was excellent, it was flavorful and tender, and went really nicely with the eggplant, which was also delicious.
Then, I had two smaller plates as my main dish(es). First, I had the Roasted Beet Salad (chèvre, marcona almonds, frisée). Now, the only negative thing I’ll say about the dishes that I got, is that they were all topped with greens, that didn’t allow you to see how pretty the presentation underneath was. I’m not one to tell a chef how to plate their food, but, it was a shame that it was all hidden. Back to the salad, it was delicious. The beets were prepared perfectly, with great consistency and texture.
Finally, I ordered the Hamachi Crudo (avocado, chiles, chive, hearts of palm). Ok, so, again with the greens. But, underneath, was a flavorful and tasty dish. The fish was really great, flavorful, and topped with the hearts of palm and avocado, adding a nice mix of crispness and creaminess to the dish.
Location: 146 Bowery, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the food and drinks are really great, and more on the menu that I’d like to try.
Would I recommend it? Yes, the service is great, the atmosphere is chic, but you can leave your pumps or ties behind.