- Critics’ Pick
- Chinese BBQ Japanese/Sushi $18-$29
308-310 Bleecker St.
New York, NY 10014
- Neighborhood: West Village
- Phone: 212-206-7817
Predictably, my wife had a different reaction to Ms. Lo’s Carrie Bradshaw–meets–David Chang experiment. “I like this place,” she said as she tasted a sophisticated, un-barbecue-like trio of fish tartares mingled in a refreshingly cool avocado soup. She liked the unagi fritters, too, which are made with delicate chunks of freshwater eel, and the strips of crunchy pork belly, which are designed to be folded, Chang style, with housemade kimchee into a steamed taco-shaped Chinese bun. As more of these careful little dishes hit the table, it’s clear that Bar Q isn’t really a barbecue joint at all. There’s a lobster-roll riff—steamed lobster with shiitake mushrooms, leeks, and spinach, wrapped in a flat rice noodle—that Chang might well be proud of. If you’ve never had tuna ribs, you’ll find that they can be quite palatable when soaked in yuzu. And even the sticky, Applebee’s-like hoisin ribs are salvaged by Lo’s ingenious topping of kimchee and Japanese pickles, all sealed in a tempura crust.
Many of the entrées at Bar Q have a similar compulsively tasty quality, although the stilted tone of the room can cut into the pleasure of eating them. Lo’s pork wings (pork shanks in a spicy Korean hoisin equivalent) beg to be devoured with greasy fingers and a bib, and so does the tea-smoked chicken, stuffed with a messy assemblage of sticky rice and sweet sausage. My wife was very happy to eat her chile-rubbed, tea-smoked duck breast with a knife and fork, however, and dainty eaters will enjoy the lamb as well, which is also marinated in tangy chile and served with stacks of fresh bok choy. None of the sweet dishes at Bar Q quite manage to transcend the goopy, uninspired realm of the Asian (and barbecue) dessert. Stick with the smooth coconut soup laced with papaya and mangoes, or try the ice creams and sorbets, which are made fresh and flavored in pleasing ways with unlikely Asian ingredients like sweet pandanus-leaf paste, from Malaysia.
- The Best of Fall's New Restaurants (02/09/07)
- Restaurant Openings: Moco Global Dining, Bar Milano, and bar Q (13/04/08)
- Adam Platt's Where to Eat 2009 (04/01/09)
American Express MasterCard Visa
Bar Scene Dine at the Bar Notable Chef Hot Spot