Tag Archive | Bahr Che

Manhattan's Truffle Macaroni & Cheese Round Up!

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It is no secret that The Worley Gig is a huge fan of all delicious foods, and we try not to discriminate. But if we had to pick a favorite single food (rather than an entire ethnic cuisine, in which case Mexican FTW!) we would choose Macaroni & Cheese. Because, pasta and cheese baked together, yum. Over the course of the past year’s many restaurant reviewing adventures we have had the pleasure of sampling a current trend in Macaroni & Cheese preparation: the addition of truffles, or truffle oil, which elevates this humble comfort food dish into the culinary stratosphere. In this post we revisit five New York City restaurants featuring a Truffled Macaroni & Cheese dish on their menu. Feel free to pay any of them a visit and tell them we sent you!

Upstairs at The Kimberly Hotel

Truffled Mac & Cheese
All Food Photos By Anne Raso

Midtown Manhattan’s finest east-side rooftop dining experience is found at Upstairs, a swanky open-air cocktail lounge (with awesome nighttime views of the Chrysler Building) located on the Penthouse level of the Kimberly Suites Hotel (145 East 50th Street).  On our first visit last summer, our heartiest mid-week appetite was more than satisfied by an order of rich and fragrant Truffled Macaroni & Cheese ($12), baked en casserole to a golden hue. Simply perfect.  Rating: A

The Meatball Factory

Truffled Mac & Cheese from Meatball Factory

Chef Dave Martin takes credit for starting the Truffled Macaroni & Cheese craze while he was a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef. His signature dish, a Black Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese ($11), is among the most popular items on the menu at The Meatball Factory (231 Second Ave at 14th Street). Chef Dave’s secret to achieving such delicious, cheesey-truffly baked goodness involves first cooking the cream base for the sauce until it develops its own “nutty” flavor, then slowly folding in both Fontina and Parmesan cheeses so that ingredients blend perfectly, preventing the sauce from “breaking.” This technique makes for a very creamy sauce and a unique integration of flavors that, when combined with the essence of black truffles, elevates this memorable creation high above “your Mama’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese” status. Rating: A-

Update: Sadly, the Meatball Factory Has Closed as of April 30, 2012.

Bahr Che

Black Truffle Mac & Cheese

At Bahr Che Wine Bar (tucked away at 26 Astor Place) their limited menu is enhanced greatly by the Lobster and Black Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese ($16.00) — one of the heartier choices on a menu punctuated by tiny salads. We especially enjoyed the big chunks of lobster tucked around tendrils of macaroni in a mild cheese sauce, but ultimately the dish called out for either more sharp cheddar cheese or extra seasoning (a few sprinkles of salt, even) to bring out the much desired black truffle essence. Rating: B-

DL

Ludlow Mac and Cheese

One of our favorite new dining spots on the Lower East Side is DL (95 Delancey Street) where they do their Ludlow Mac (Elbow macaroni, with creamy béchamel sauce and cheese) three ways, including a glorious Truffle and Mushroom ($15), version. This is a classically oven-baked dish with a crispy panko crumb topping and plentiful slices of fresh mushroom added, which goes a long way towards enhancing the rich and flavorful truffle oil-infused sauce. Rating: A

Sons Of Essex

SOE Truffle Mac And Cheese

Sons of  Essex is one of no fewer than three restaurants with the word Essex in its name that is also located on Essex Street (in this case, 133 Essex Street, between Stanton and Rivington). Sons of Essex is so enthusiastic about the Macaroni & Cheese trend that its menu even has a separate section dedicated to detailing the various types of Mac & Cheese that SOE serves. In addition to a daily Mac & Cheese special variety, each day of the week you can also get the Truffle Mac N Cheese ($16) made with elbow macaroni, Gruyere and a truffle cheese sauce, baked to achieve the crunchiest golden brown top you could ever ask for. Easily shared between two people, this dish answers the burning question, “What shall we have for an appetizer?” Rating: A+

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Bahr Che Wine Bar: A Hidden Hot Spot in Cooper Square!

Red Wine Glass

So many New York natives and visitors pass cursorily through the Cooper Square hub of Manhattan’s central village, perhaps only stopping to notice the landmark Astor Square Cube or double-check the direction in which they’re headed on their way to somewhere else. In this transitional neighborhood where several avenues intersect, it’s easy to miss the upscale yet cozy contemporary wine bar, Bahr Che, tucked away behind the Chase Bank Building on the ground floor of the Gwathmey Siegel-designed condominiums. While you may need a map and a handful of breadcrumbs to find the place, discovery is worth the effort.

Bar Che Bar Area 2

(This and All Future Photos by Anne Raso)

Open since December of 2010, Bar Che’s interior – its walls covered in both blonde and dark woods – conforms to the signature curve of the high-profile glass apartment tower in which it resides, and the structurally-enforced design gives Bar Che an even more intimate and romantic feel. The impressive wine wall – which buttresses the shallow bar – displays 1500 bottles of the select wines from all over the world. Wines are available by the bottle or single-serving carafe (basically a ‘full pour’ in contrast to the multiple-serving vessel that you might expect when seeing the word “carafe” on the menu). The tasting menu – which is secondary to the wine selections, because this is a wine bar, after all – is designed around small plates / tapas portions emphasizing sliced cured meats (Charcuterie), cheeses and light fare that marry well to either an oakey Malbec or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Bar Che’s servers are highly knowledgeable when it comes to wine pairings, so if your knowledge of the grape extends only to basic Reds and Whites, Bar Che offers an excellent opportunity to educate your palate.

Front Seating Area At Bar Che Wine Bar

Here are a few of the plates we sampled:

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with oven-dried tomato and field greens with walnut dressing ($9.00), comes with two toasts topped with goat cheese: good for sharing!

Vegetable Quiche and Salad

Seasonal Quiche Du Jour ($10.00), was a delicious vegetable selection filled with tender broccoli and roasted red pepper on the day of our visit. Served with bit of field greens salad on the side and also portioned to share.

Lobster And Black Truffle Mac 'N Cheese

Lobster and Black Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese ($16.00) is one of the heartier choices on the menu. We especially enjoyed the big chunks of lobster tucked around tendrils of macaroni in a mild cheese sauce that called for just a hint of extra seasoning (a few sprinkles of salt did the trick) to bring out the much desired black truffle essence.

Warm Japanese Eggplant

The thinly sliced Warm Japanese Eggplant, which sits delicately on a pastry round, topped with roasted tomato and drizzled with lavender honey dressing ($9.00) is a standout among the small plates, but perhaps a bit pricey for what is only a few bites. My dining companion and I each had our own serving and we enjoyed it tremendously.

Pear Almond Torte
Pear Almond Torte

For Dessert, we indulged in the Pear Almond Torte, comprised of toasted, sliced almonds layered with poached pears and Bavarian cream, and the Chocolate Gianduja Torte: a bittersweet chocolate butter cake layered with cream and topped with crushed pralines (each priced at $9.00), both of which were exquisitely decadent. The quality and deliciousness of these desserts (sourced from a popular local bakery) prompts me to suggest that you might want to consider Bar Che as your post-dining, nightcap and dessert destination!

Chocolate Gianduja Torte
Chocolate Gianduja Torte: Beautiful and Delicious

A daily selection of Francois Payard Gourmet Sandwiches ($10.00, ask your server for the day’s offerings), Half a dozen Charcuterie Selections (prices vary), Pate, Mousses & Foie Gras ($10.00 each) and limited, light weekend Brunch Menu round out the savory menu choices.

Window With Flower Vases

Bahr Che is located on the ground floor of the Gwathmey Siegel Condos at 26 Astor Place, but please note that the actual entrance is around the corner from Astor Place on Cooper Square, between Lafayette St and Third Avenue. Hours are Monday – Friday: 5:00 PM -12:00 AM, Weekends: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM. Phone 212-260-2220 for Reservations.