Hot Meal: Bar Tartine
|The rib steak for two: Challenging.|
|Fig-walnut anchoiade: Alice-y.|
But simplicity isn't always easy to pull off. Sure, the kitchen nailed it with an appetizer of fig-walnut anchoïade ($8) served with leafy radishes. You couldn't devise a more ardent homage to Chez Panisse: the soft, mashy dip, softly radiating anchovy, above a dark, sweet shadow of fruit. And a little munchie of cheddar crackers ($3) were as tasty as the browned, frazzled ooze from a grilled cheese sandwich.
Other dishes cried out for more polish. An app of potted foie gras ($14), encased in congealed duck fat, offered up a livery nub all but lost in its unctuous insulation. A rib steak for two ($48) had the intense animal throb of nicely aged beef, but -- webbed with fat and sinew -- it was difficult to cut and, when it came to some of the muscle fibers running through the steak, chew. A side of corn pudding ($6) had a one-dimensional sweetness and soft, pappy texture.
Still, we'd be fools to give up on the new Bar Tartine after a single dinner. If Kronner can make the simplicity of the menu approach the dark elegance of Tartine's narrow dining room -- brooding as a Dutch painting -- he'll have achieved something worthy of the reshaping.
Bar Tartine 561 Valencia (at 16th St.), 487-1600