Opening Day at Barbacco: Rustic Food, Speedy Service, Impeccable Fats
At yesterday's kickoff lunch for Barbacco, GM Umberto Gibin and Chef Staffan Terje watched as their polished second venture packed 'em in at around 1 p.m. Asked how things were going, Gibin replied, "So far, so good."
VinDivine R./Flickr Bruschette trio: Simultaneously polished and rustic.
Considering Barbacco ― an eno-trattoria concept that hinges on a 150-deep, mostly biodynamic and organic wine list ― hadn't gotten its liquor license in gear yet, the crowd appeared in good spirits. The lunch crowd came out in number; we heard only one gasp of surprise when a party learned they would have to eat without imbibing.
Barbacco fills a more rustic and affordable niche than Perbacco, Gibin and Terje's fine dining place practically next door. But with a Cass Calder Smith design and a menu flaunting impeccably sourced ingredients, the restaurant is unavoidably refined. The trio of bruschette ($8) and beet citrus salad ($6/$9) we tasted wouldn't be out of place at Perbacco. Let's just say there's not a chance in hell you would have found Bellwether Crescenza or a shred of rucola at Barbacco's predecessor in the space, Rado's Deli.
C. Alburger The space once housed Rado's Deli.
Servers were well informed and speedy, an accomplishment for any opening day. The futuristic strap-on POS systems and check printers no doubt played a part.
C. Alburger Futuristic POS systems strapped to the waiters sped service along.
Diners seemed to be kicking New Year's diets right out Barbacco's front door.
Bruschette were a popular choice, as well as Terje's hearty borlotti bean minestra with prosciutto and ditalini and two pasta dishes with meat sauces ― a pancetta-spiked tomato sauce and a classic Bolognese. We noticed the chef's diligence about fats: French fries were cooked in duck fat, while the crust in the apple crostada contained lard.
So far, so good.
Barbacco 230 California (at Front), 955-1960