Balena | The full menu and cocktail list

Who needs restaurants when these bars are taking food so seriously?

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Pistachio gelato with nougat and burnt-orange caramel

Pistachio gelato with nougat and burnt-orange caramel Photograph: Jeff Kauck


Balena continues to experience some minor delays—the current estimate is that the Chris Pandel-helmed restaurant will open March 12, one week from today. But TOC just got its hands on the restaurant's menu, dessert list and cocktail list—so let's all tease ourselves by reading it, shall we?

There's a lot to take in here, so first, a few notes:

- Cured meats are by the Smoking Goose. What is the Smoking Goose? It's a charcuterie company in Indianapolis

- Like at Girl & The Goat, Balena's bread ain't free: It's listed on the menu, for $6, as "Peter's Bread." (Peter is Peter Becker, Balena's baker who in addition to the breads is making the pizza dough.)

- Though you may spend more on bread here than you do at places where bread is, well, free, in general Balena's menu seems pretty reasonably priced. Pastas and pizzas average $15; entrees hover in the low-to-mid $20s.

- Debbi Peek's cocktail list rates each cocktail on a bitterness scale of 1-10 (10 being the most bitter). But only five of the 16 cocktails rate above a 5.

- The menu, listed in full below, is absolutely huge, both in scope and ambition. 

SELECTION OF FIRST COURSES

CURED MEAT (care of The Smoking Goose) 15
Paprika Cured Pork
Loin
Gin and Juice Salami
Coppa di Testa

CHEESE 14
Robiola
Pecorino Grand Cru
Oregonzola

PETER’S BREAD 6
Bagna Cauda
Whipped Ricotta
Olive Oil

THE BALENA 26
Platter of all cheeses, meats, and breads served family style

STARTERS

Bruschetta of Oil Poached Tuna, Marinated Beans 11

Smoked Mackerel, Aioli, Pangrattato, Soft Cooked Egg 10

Pecorino Budino, Balsamic, Sunchoke, Mint 10

Zingerman’s Burrata, White Asparagus, Lemon 14

Seafood Salad, Golden Raisin, Arugula 15

Sliced Winter Citrus, Avocado, Burnt Pine Nut 11

Tripe Stufato, Marrow, Pancetta, Ceci Beans 10

Spicy Grilled Short Ribs, Charred Orange, Basil 13

Tuscan Kale Salad, Tonnato, Sardines, Croutons 10

PIZZA

Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato 12

Spicy Salami, Tomato, Mozzarella 15

Belly Clams, Guanciale, Oregano, Chiles 16

Mushroom, Fontina, Taleggio, Scallion, Thyme 16

Guanciale, Bitter Greens, Farm Egg 15

Sausage, Red Onion, Tomato, Mozzarella 15

Mortadella, Pistachio, Red Onion, Mozzarella 15

Lasagna Pie, Bolognese, Ricotta, Basil 15

PASTA

Orecchiette, Lemon, Kale, Bread Crumbs, Chili 15

Spaghetti, Tomato Fondue, Garlic, Parmesan 14

Linguine Verde with Herbs and Anisette 15

Ricotta Ravioli, Swiss Chard, Brown Butter 15

Canestri, Duck Liver Ragu, Hazelnut, Balsamic 17

Strozzapreti, Rabbit Sugo, Rosemary, Olives 16

Tagliolini Nero, Crab, Sea Urchin, Chile 20

Tajarin with Pork Ragu 15

GRILL/OVEN/ROTISSERIE

Grilled Sturgeon, Glazed Carrots, White Balsamic 21

Charred Quail, Hazelnut Butter, Escarole 23

Big Bowl of Clams, House Bread 18

Glazed Duck Leg, Dried Fig, Amaro, Basil 20

Braised Chicken Thighs, Mascarpone Sugo, Cerignola Olives 18

Whole Roasted Fish, Peanut Gremolata MP

Roast Rabbit Loin, Charred Alliums, Olive Oil 24

Spit Roast Porchetta, Parsley and Red Onion 25

Sepia with Black Vinaigrette 19

36 oz Bistecca, Lemon, Salt, Olive Oil, Roast Garlic Head MP

SIDES all sides 7

Grilled Rapini, Garlic, Lemon

Jota, Carrots, Borlotti, Pancetta, Kraut

Charred Radicchio, Pecorino, Basil

Oven Roasted Delicata Squash, Spiced Ricotta

Red Floriani Polenta, Butter, Dante

DESSERTS

PLATES $9.00

Tiramisu: Chocolate Sauce, Coffee Streusel, Roasted Pear

Affogato: Vanilla Gelato, Espresso, Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Honey Pinenut Tart: Vanilla Gelato, Anglaise, Fried Rosemary

Chocolate Caramel Budino: Amaro, cocoa nibs, flori de latte

SUNDAES: $8.00

Gelato Sundaes:

Vanilla: open face chocolate chip cookie sandwich, malt chocolate sauce, toasted milk

Chocolate: olive oil, sea salt, chocolate crostini

Hazelnut: dacquois, spiced fried hazelnuts, nutella creme

Pistachio: orange caramel, pistachio nougat, confit orange

Sorbetti Sundaes:

Grapefruit: meringue sticks, aperol granita, cinnamon grapefruit

Lemon: lemon curd, sugar cookie, basil, toasted meringue

ITALIAN SODAS:

Lemon Basil

Pomegranate Anise

COFFEE STATION:

house made biscotti

BITTERS MIXOLOGY

Balena cocktails are an exploration of Italian Amari and the bitters from countries surrounding as the basis of our mixology. The bitterness of each drink is rated on a “1-10” scale, and while all of our cocktails are well balanced, a “1” represents the least and “10” the greatest bitterness. The cocktails have been thoughtfully created by Mixologist Debbi Peek.

All cocktails $11

CLASSIC

NEGRONI no5 
Plymouth gin, Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

AMERICANO no5
Campari, Carpano Antica, soda

CARDINALE no5
Bombay Sapphire, Campari, Cocchi Americano

ORIGINAL

STRAWBERRY no1
Dimmi, Grey Goose, Fragoli, La Marca Prosecco, wild strawberry

ROSEMARY no2
Campari, Aperol, fresh sour, egg white, flamed rosemary

MIRTO no2
Nardini Myrtle Berry, Old Forester bourbon, Pernod absinthe, orange bitters

MANLINO no3
Aperol, St. George Terrior gin, fresh sour, soda

CARMELLA no3
Amaro Cio Ciaro, Ron Zacapa 23 rum, Carpano Antica, Benedictine, orange bitters

ELIXIR no4
Green Chartreuse, Nardi Acqua di Cedro liqueur, Beefeater 24 gin

PEAT no4
Amaro Nonino, Laphroaig 10yr single malt scotch, Chamomile tea syrup, fresh lemon, egg white

FRANCESCO no 5
Averna Amaro, Templeton rye whiskey, Carpano Antica, Cointreau

CHINA no6
Amaro Ramazzotti, Bonal, Cherry Herring, mole bitters

MONTENEGRO no6
Amaro Montenegro, Nolet gin, Bitter Truth grapefruit bitters, orange peel

DARK AND STIRRED no7
Amaro Cynar, Bitter Truth EXR, Benedictine, angostura bitters

PINA no9
Amaro Sibilla, Corzo Reposado, Cointreau, grapefruit, sage

FIB no 10
Amaro dell Ernorisa, Ransom gin, pink grapefruit, basil


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