Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto

4 Apr

While Mike and I watched Top Chef Masters last year, we really had a fondness for Jonathan Waxman.  We were thrilled to learn that he had a restaurant in the West Village which was quite reasonably priced.  Barbuto is located on Washington Street at West 12th Street and has big garage doors that must be awesome in nice weather.

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There is also a nice open kitchen.

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I also appreciated the logo, which had an adorable cartoon dog, and was on all the plates.

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The menu changes often and tailors to what is freshest.  As I looked through, there were far too many things that looked far too good.  We then saw a note in the bottom left corner that said that a tasting menu was available for $65 per person.  As far as tasting menus go, that seemed like a steal.  When we inquired about it, we were informed that the tasting menu includes 2-3 dishes from each section… and then the waiter went on to tell us that it was a LOT for two people and he wanted to make sure we were aware that we would probably be overwhelmed with the food quantity.  Seeing as though we hadn’t eaten that day, and it’s hard to resist TOO MUCH food, we went for it.

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There was also an extensive wine menu and our waiter guided us in a direction that I’m still not sure how to pronounce, but it was FANTASTIC.

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Our first course was the salumi, which had prosciutto coppa, cacciatorini and rosemary focaccia.  Very fresh. Very delicious.

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Next up, we were delivered the bruschetta which came with butternut squash and marinated gorgonzola.  MMMM this was good.  Great combination of flavors.

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Our final antipasti was the cavolini crudi, which was shaved brussels sprouts with pecorino, lemon, and breadcrumbs.  While this was DELICIOUS (and the vinaigrette impeccable), we both agreed that we enjoy our brussels sprouts roasted rather than shaved.

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Our first pasta was lumaconi alla cavolfiori.  Lumaconi is “snail shell” pasta that looks like opened shells.  It had a GREAT texture and ours came with roasted cauliflower and cream sauce (they, thankfully, remembered to hold the chilis!)  I’m always concerned that when a dish loses peppers that it will lose its substance.  But this was great even without the spice.

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Our second pasta was the gnocchi con zucca which came with roasted fall squash and sage.  The squash here was SO. GOOD.  And I really liked the gnocchi.  It was slightly browned and had a great texture, with awesome pecorino cheese and a delicious sauce.

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Our first main course was pollo al forno which was a roasted chicken with salsa verde.  We heard good things about this chicken, and it was VERY GOOD.

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Ok… not Zuni good… but still very good.  Though I think I’m always a wee bit let down when I get chicken on a tasting menu, since I don’t think chicken is ever really special enough (and I make a damn good roast chicken myself, thanks to the Zuni recipe).

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Our second entree was coda di rospo, which was seared monkfish with bacon and savoy cabbage.  I LOVE monkfish, and this was one of the best I had ever had.  It was seared and cooked perfectly and the slight sauce on it was awesome.  And it all went so well with the delicious cabbage. 

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We also received sides, and I was very happy to see that we got the roasted brussels sprouts and colatura (anchovy sauce!)  The salty anchovies with the brussels sprouts was very good.

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Our last side was crispy potatoes with pecorino and rosemary.  It looked like these were hit with a hammer and then roasted to perfect crispness. 

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Our dessert was a hazelnut torte of some kind with chocolate sauce. I don’t remember the specifics, but I remember thinking that it was very good, but not GREAT.  I kind of wanted just a little more texture in this.  But I enjoyed it.

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Overall, as far as tasting menus, especially at a celebrity chef restaurant, I thought this was incredibly affordable and did an amazing job of showcasing the REAL menu by picking selections from the actual menu.  While I do love the specialness of getting a tasting menu to try out some things that you can’t get a la carte, there is something comforting about knowing that the menu is good enough to be its own tasting menu.  Nothing was earth shatteringly delicious or original, but it was all cooked and flavored perfectly. 

I can’t wait to go back.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

4 Responses to “Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto”

  1. hungry April 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I had pretty much the same menu (a la carte for me) when I went and thought it to be really good as well. Glad you enjoyed it!

    I thought that the bruschetta with sweet potatoes was pretty original. I’ve never seen that at any other restaurant. With that said, I think Chef Waxman’s philosophy with cooking isn’t about being innovative. It’s about doing the best with the simplest ingredients (ie: his famous roast chicken).

  2. Lil April 6, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    If you go back, I wonder if you can select the dishes that you *didn’t* try last time for a tasting menu. 🙂

  3. Jonas Landau April 10, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Hi – We are friends of Linda May and Gray and I love your blog. Great pix of the Barbutto dinner. It’s a place I’ve been wanting to try since the article in the NY Times a few weeks ago. Your pix made me quite hungry. Have to put that place on the list. Saw your Philly posts also. Next time you are heading down there, there are a number of great BYO’s you might want to try. Please check out my recently launched wine blog. Cheers.

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    […] – We had wanted to visit Barbuto for a long time, after falling in love with the chef, Jonathan Waxman, on various food shows on […]

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