I was invited to check out the new Bahr Che last Tuesday night with a friend. The addy says 26 Astor Place, but it’s actually not ! Even between the google map on my iPhone and our good sense of direction, we were lost. Turns out, it’s right next to Chase bank. A romantically lit, but hard to find front door.
A small and cozy new wine, cheese and charcuterie spot. It has a warm and relaxed atmosphere. Perfect for a first date. In the words of the Million Dollar Match Maker “don’t ask a lady out for coffee, take her to dinner like an adult”. I somewhat agree. Seriously, asking a girl out for java is a little lame if you ask me, but I also understand, that a full dinner can be too much of a commitment (specially in NYC). Plus, if she turns out to be like one of those crazy chicks right out of an episode of The Bachelor, it would be hard to excuse yourself out the door in between appetizers and main course. So how about meet half way and take that chica you have your eyes on to a candle lit wine bar? Scores you brownie points (unless she has AA meetings… stick to lattes!)
Get some bubbly Cava Rosado going to loosen up a little, their Raventos L’Hereu de Nit Rose NV has a pleasant cherry and rose pedals scent. Maybe share a couple cheeses and charcuterie if convo goes as smoothly as a glass Merlot… and see where it takes you.
The menu isn’t too elaborate since they don’t have a full kitchen. We sampled a couple things from each.
Cheese wise, I can’t inhale anything made with sheep or goat, so my choices were somewhat limited. From left to right (all cow), Tomme Crayeuse (Rhode Alpes, France), Sharfe Maxx (Graubunden, Switzerland) and Cheddar, Cabot Clothbound (Greensboro, Vermont).
The swiss cheese was a bit pungent for my taste. The cheddar was crumbly like a good parmigiano reggiano, I had an urge to grate some on everything.
My favorite of the 3 was the Tomme Crayeuse, rich, creamy and melt in your mouth. It left an amazing caramelly aftertaste that lingered as our conversation went on, not in a sweet way, but fragrant and milky instead. I’m pretty particular about my cheeses, so this was a pleasant surprise.
I love all sorts of salted, smoked and cured meats, so this plate was right up my alley. Prosciutto, Finocchiona and Hot Calabrese. What’s there not too like? Though the star was the Prosciutto Bread.
This was like a savory version of Pepperidge Farm’s Raisin Cinnamon Swirl. Pieces of salty prosciutto are generously laced between the soft toasted bread, perfumed by pork fat. This is great solo, but even better when you stack more cured meats on top.
The Duck Degustation is their version of duck 3 ways. Foie gras, duck prosciutto and duck sausage. The foie was well balanced, rich and flavorful, I would order this solo if I could, since the duck prosciutto was tough and chewy. Like those chinese cured duck legs, which are usually steamed and not served cold. Plus, I just couldn’t swallow that thick layer of fat. You know I’m all for fat and flavor, but this was too much. Totally opposite from that flavorful fat on jamon iberico. The duck sausage was really dry and bland.
Roasted Tiger Shrimp was ok, but nothing worth metioning. Seemed more like a salad to me, not a lot of shrimp flavor.
I was excited to see a couple terrines and pate on the menu. Pate de Champagne was recommended by our waiter and I had high expectations. Country style with organic pork, herbs and spices. Unfortunately, like the duck prosciutto, this had chunks of fat that overpowered the lean part. Biting into big pieces of cold fat isn’t a pleasant texture, oil squeezes out, a burst of fat in the least desirable way imaginable.
Overall, I liked the atmosphere and the wine list that includes small winemakers from all over, but would just stick to the basics and skip the Wine Bar Menu. Definitely a good choice for a date or when you’re in between places. I didn’t try the desserts, so boys, maybe take your date and let me know how it is *wink*.
P.S. Chubby’s RATING:
26 Astor Place
26 Astor Place