Bara fuses French and Japanese cuisines in the East Village

Momofuku and French Louie vets craft culture-crossing plates and cocktails

 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
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Photograph: Paul WagtouiczDuck breast at Bara
 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
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Photograph: Paul WagtouiczBaby carrots and endive at Bara
 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
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Photograph: Paul WagtouiczWhite miso and rosemary panna cotta at Bara
 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
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Photograph: Paul WagtouiczBara

The spur for Ian Alvarez and Kyle Storm’s French-Japanese fusion spot isn’t a hard one to pinpoint: Alvarez spent time exploring the spice-stocked stores of Momofuku Noodle Bar, while Storm did behind-the-stick duty at Gallic charmer French Louie. Those influences come together on Alvarez’s culture-crossing menu, evident in dishes like steamed cockles rooted in an enoki mushroom dashi broth and finished with parsley pistou. “It would make perfect sense in both Japan and France,” Alvarez says. “It doesn’t need to be explained as fusion—it just works in both cultures.” Similar hybrid plates include a Szechuan-peppered endive salad with pickled plum and slow-roasted duck glazed in a white-wine au jus steeped with green tea. Storm’s cocktail creations keep up pace, stirring together the Loire Valley’s herbal Elixir Combier with black-sesame–infused vodka for the Kuro-Mart, and house-made rice-milk syrup to counter light and dark rums in the Santiago. 58 E 1st St between First and Second Aves (917-639-3197)

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