Restaurant Review: Bar Americain

I typed this blog entry as I flew across the country to Las Vegas for work. It has been a crazy month or so, both in my personal life and at work. I haven’t had nearly the time I wish I had to dedicate to writing, hence the complete lack of posts.  But I haven’t forgotten about PB Is My Boyfriend, and I am not quitting on it! I’m determined to keep this blog kickin’ and in order to do that, I need to keep going out in the city, exercising, finding new workout groups, eating delicious food- it’s hard work, but someone’s got to do it, and I’m up for the task. Since I last posted, I have done SO MANY fitness and food related things that I can’t wait to eventually write about…in time I hope to be caught up and back on track.  So where to start?

How about the night out at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain with my parents- not my usual healthy fare, and not my favorite, but it had its high notes. We had planned to go to Momofuku’s Times Square restaurant, Ma Peche, but last minute decided that since we were out to celebrate my mom’s birthday, we should probably go somewhere that we knew she would like.  Plus the a la carte style of Ma Peche was a little daunting. I was crankily asserting that Times Square is THE worst place in Manhattan to try to find a seriously good restaurant, and calling Gato every 5 minutes to see if they had any last minute reservations available because I WILL get there one day, but in the end Bobby Flay’s other restaurant, Bar Americain, is where we decided to go.  Overall, I was pretty pleased with the choice.

The night kicked off to a good start when the bartender was able to make my favorite cocktail, stolen from China Grill, the China Blossom- St. Germain elderflower liquor, gin and grapefruit juice. A+.

Then, the bread basket contained CORN BREAD. I have a strange love for cornbread, and this cornbread was crispy and buttery- thumbs up.

(Corn bread STICKS)

Our waiter totally suckered us into an unplanned appetizer when he said, “Would you like some chips?” The bread hadn’t come out yet, so we thought he was offering complimentary chips.  My dad, whose been there before and had their potato chips, said we HAD to try them anyway so it was fine.  The homemade chips came out and while I didn’t think they were anything special- the blue cheese dip that they’re served with is another story.  Holy yum. 

(Magical, artery clogging cheese dip)

My dad eventually asked for the recipe and it’s something ridiculous like blue cheese, another type of cheese, heavy cream, butter- it’s basically a clogged artery in the form of cheese dip but it was the creamiest cheesiest most delicious thing. We all had to restraint ourselves from just eating spoonfuls of it. Every time the waiter asked to clear it away we were like absolutely not.

We also ordered two appetizers, though I’m sad to report, I wasn’t a fan of either of them.  The first was a crab avocado tower thing (crushed avocado, blue crab, hearts of palm, hot mustard and trout roe to be exact). It’s really hard writing reviews of restaurants to long after the fact, because a lot of the details are hard to remember.  I can’t remember specifics, just that  there was some taste in this appetizer that wasn’t doing it for me- usually I’ll just eat stuff because it’s there, but this I was able to just stop eating because I really didn’t like anything about it.  Weird, considering there’s not many seafood and guacamole dishes I’ll say no to. Maybe the problem was that it was bland? I don’t know. Either way, eh.

The second was an escargot appetizer that my parents made me promise I wouldn’t say anything bad about in my review because they assured me that it was incredible- they loved it (happy guys?)  I won’t say anything bad except that there were definitely truffles used in this- and I hate nothing more than that taste, so this appetizer was also a no go for me.

(Pat and Mitch promise it was delicious)

For dinner I ordered the lamb entrée, because I love lamb, and it came with carrots and quinoa!! The meal was lamb loin with a pinot noir barbeque sauce, charred carrots, quinoa and mint. Sadly, to me, the lamb was fatty, though my dad insists that it wasn’t fatty, just poorly cooked.  The veggies, sauce and quinoa were tasty though. 

In hindsight, I would have enjoyed my mom’s meal much more- she ordered the special of the night which was fish that had a delicious black bean sauce and avocado…I ended up eating a bunch of it! 

(Momma did well with her choice!)

My dad got the rabbit, so I got to try bunny for the first time, HA. I really liked it, it was like delicious dark meat chicken. My favorite part of dinner was the corn cake that came with my dad’s meal. I don’t know how to describe except it was a crispy flaky little pie filled with creamy delicious corn. I ate the entire thing. 

I also had made my parents order a side of sweet potatoes au gratin. Mmmm cheese and sweet potatoes how can you go wrong? This was also delicious. 

So overall, the highlights of the meal were my mom’s fish entrée, my quinoa, the sweet potatoes, and that dreamy corn cake! I wish I could have combined all of those elements to make my own entrée but, c’est la vie!

For a midtown restaurant, Bar Americain is good. For a New York City restaurant, it’s average. I will say that it’s a really spacious, pretty restaurant and the service was excellent.  The food left something to be desired for me, but there were definitely standouts that made the meal worthwhile. Bobby Flay, you’ve done alright with Bar Americain, but my hopes are much higher for the night I finally get a table at Gato! 

But by far the best part of the night was the company :)