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http://www.ilbuco.com/

It is rare that I am blown away by a restaurant, but Il Buco on Bond Street in NYC succeeded. Its a smallish place filled with rustic wood tables and a particularly homey feel for a NY eatery. The cuisine is rustic Mediterranean with more nods to Spain than any other tradition. The servers, despite the cramped conditions and overabundance of big coats, were friendly and gracious. They offer a wide selection of appetizers, like tapas, and a few composed entrees and soups of the day. Our little group decided to have just a selection of appetizers and they arrived in a never ending stream from the kitchen, each a little gem, with only a couple of missteps. Standouts were the empanadas, the wild boar with lardo (a cured pork fat the literally explodes on your palate), and the quail. The glass eels were fantastic, but I think $24 was a little much. Sure, they were imported, but this country produces excellent eels (right in my back yard in fact) and in the spring you can seine as many as you want and make more money selling them for $12. The only thing I did not care for was the baked crab. The oh so trendy dancing bonito was too cool for school, but the aggressive flavor out did the crab and gave it a unpleasant coppery after taste. I won't say it wasn't fresh, but I won't say it was right off the boat either. The strangest thing about so cozy and home like restaurant was the highly ideological nature of the menu which went into manifesto like detail on the importance of just the right ingredients and the lengths the chef was willing to go to get them. Very interesting for a article in Art Culinaire, but something of target if the food hadn't lived up to the rhetoric. They had a troubling wine list. It was hard to choose only a couple of bottles! I restrained myself and stuck to two bottles of barolo. Very smooth for barolo.

F A L L   A P P E T I Z E R S

Empanadas de Calabaza
fried Butternut Squash Parcels with crispy sage leaves

Pizzetta con Porcini e Garrotxa
housemade Pizza with fresh Porcini, wood-roasted shallots,
and aged Asturian goat cheese

Capesante ai Capperi e Uva Passa
pan-seared Diver Scallops with caper-raisin emulsion
and grilled baby fennel

Spiedino di Cinghiale e Lardo
grilled Wild Boar and Lardo Brochette with green apple
and spaghetti squash

Tortino di Caprino e Verdure al Tartufo
Terrine of Britton Hill Farm's Goat Cheese, salsify, ruttabaga and
Umbrian black truffles with beet reduction and wild arugula

Guisado de Cangrejo con Bonito
terra cotta baked Blue Crab with smoked paprika and
dancing bonito flakes

Carpaccio di Manzo
certified Aged Angus Beef with Umbrian black truffles
and aged Reggiano parmigiano

Quaglia al Balsamico
wood grilled Quail in Balsamic Glaze, with warm
organic Umbrian bean salad

Gambas a la Sal del Mar
pan-fired Gulf Shrimp with Trapanese sea salt & lemon

Angulas al Ajillo
Biscay Bay baby eels in sizzling olive oil with garlic & chilis

C H E E S E   S E L E C T I O N
[I had the cheese]
Torta del Casar
Buttery, nutty and full flavored sheep's milk cheese from Extremadura

Manchego
Pasamontes four months aged sheep's milk cheese from Larra.

Saint-Marcellin
soft, rustic & woodsy from Dauphine


D E S S E R T S
Thin Apple tart with ginger gelato

Panna Cotta con Aceto Balsamico
"cooked cream" drizzled with 10 yr aged balsamic vinegar

Torta di Cioccolato
valrhona bittersweet chocolate cake
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