Last night Matt and I went out on a date in Manhattan and ate at the restaurant Bar Americain. It’s one of the restaurants owned by Bobby Flay of Food Network fame. It’s located in Midtown West, above Times Square. We had a wonderful time! I would definitely return sometime.
The decor of the restaurant is quite modern and sleek. Very simple, tasteful, and elegant, almost understated. The hosting staff was very nice to us upon our entrance, and they sat us promptly (we had a reservation – you’ll need one too!). The wait staff was very courteous, not overbearing, and prompt. The restaurant is quite big (at least for NYC standards, where real estate space is at a premium), and it can get loud, as far as atmosphere goes (in a fun way though). But it is comfortable, and we spent much of the evening trying not to laugh out loud as we couldn’t help but overhear the fifty-something couple seated at the table next to us debate exuberantly about the details of the “Housewives” from somewhere, I think New Jersey.
Now for the best part: the food! It’s delicious. Amazing. Just what you’d expect from a chef and restaurant of that caliber. It’s very American, as far as style goes. There’s less emphasis on southwest ingredients than you might expect if you follow Flay on his Food Network shows. But it’s superbly executed food with creative twists here and there.
Matt ordered a duck dish with wild dirty pecan rice with a bourbon sauce. I tasted a bite or two of his food, and it was outstanding. Dirty rice is usually made with white rice, so Flay gives it a twist by using wild rice. The duck was a large portion, several slices of breast meat and a leg. I ordered the mussels and fries, and the twist was that the mussels came in a large bowl of green chile broth, which was very flavorful and not terribly spicy. The fries were unbelievable. They came with a red pepper aioli which was superb. They were just the most perfect French fries you can imagine. Matt ate more than one of my fries. The mussels were good too. They were bigger than the ones I can get at my grocery store or local fishmonger. Not overcooked, and very tasty dipped in the broth. Portions were quite sizeable for the price, which was anywhere between $25 and $35 an entree. They have a raw bar for anyone interested, too, but we didn’t partake.
Dessert was probably the highlight of the night for both of us. Matt ordered a slice of sweet potato pie with cinnamon ice cream. It came drizzled with a caramel creme fraiche sauce. Really out of this world. I got Pistacchio Creme Brulee. I almost don’t have words for how amazing it was. It was seriously the best creme brulee I’ve ever tasted, hands down; and I’ve had creme brulee in Paris. As I told a friend earlier today: frankly, if they don’t serve pistacchio creme brulee in heaven, then I just don’t want to go there.
All in all, a really fun date. The place is hopping on a Friday night, and we had a great time. If you live in NY or if you ever visit NY, I’d highly recommend paying Bar Americain a visit.