Despite the fact that Fabrizio, acting as resident sommelier, curiously had difficulty providing a wine to fit the profile of my description, his tireless effort is applauded. I sampled practically the entire “bar fare” menu and high marks are given for overall consistency and marriage of flavors. The Broccoli Rabe served warm as a “compromise on a salad” according to Han, is beautifully soft and anchovy-salty. The citrusy Bone Marrow presented in a large hollowed shank could use improvement on making the actual marrow the star, and the Grilled Octopus tentacles on their own did not warrant much flavor, but scooped with their stewed tomato and caper accompaniments, the necessary saltiness and flavor depth was found.
You will not regret skipping the Littleneck Clams for the bountiful Creamy Polenta, whose sausage-induced saltiness and cheesy porridge consistency screamed of comfort food by the spoonful. The fluke Tartare of the day had notes of refreshing vinegar and the Meatballs were pint-sized pleasures: a mix of pork, veal and beef, the smokey provolone bounced beautifully off the sweetness of confit carrots in the fresh tomato sauce. And if you must have your sandwich, pick the Italiano in Cuba - their native-country twist on the classic Cubano with salty porchetta and fontina that offsets the sweetness of the pressed bread, pickles, and dijon. The Beer Braised Vealwurst and broccoli rabe between crusty baguette slices bound by gooey cheese was also a pleasing with every hand-held bite.
Order freely and don’t save room for the dessert and coffee they do not have. According to Jacqueline, this pushes the bar undesirably into restaurant territory. So embrace their sophisticated bar food for what it is. The Saint Austere has room to grow and will surely maintain the longevity for it. But don’t underestimate maturity of this “austere” toddler.
|Pickled Veggies in Rosemary-infused Oil&Vingear|
|Beer Braised Vealwurst|
|Italiano in Cuba|