Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bar Isabel [Spanish]

I finally decided to head over to Bar Isabel (@BarIsabel797) right at their opening time this past Sunday without a reservation after so many failed attempt at making one. There was already people waiting and within minutes of opening, the place start filling up. No surprise since it's been voted by so many as the Best new restaurant.

I hate waiting and we actually got a back-up reservation just in case, but we were seated as soon as we walk in. My guess is, they leave a lot of their tables open for walk in, hence the difficulty in getting a reservation.

Bought to you by Grant Van Gameren, the person behind The Black Hoof together with another former Hoofer Brandon Olsen as Chef de Cuisine and Guy Rawlings as General Manager; it can't help but be a recipe for success.

 The 75-seats interior feels like a Spanish tavern to me with the Cherry wood panels, hand-made Mexican tiles, arched crevices framing the dinning room. chairs & lights that doesn't match together with the red glow ambient lighting.... all that together gave the space an European charm.

Trou du Diable, Belgian Table Beer $9

Isabel Fashioned $15
~ Buffalo trace bourbon, bacon sugar, xocolatl mole / angostura bitters, orange zest

Baraganna $15
~ Charred Pineapple infused 1800 tequila, Cointreau, pardon peppers & sage simple syrup, lime juice
While the Fashioned was really nice, I find it really difficult to enjoy it while eating. The Baraganna was a lot better, love the sweet fresh pineapple taste and balance perfectly with just the right amount of lime plus the pop of the heat.

Smoked Sweetbread, Raw Tuna, Persimmon & Brown Butter $18
This was one of our fave dish of the night, we love the contrast of the hot vs cold, crispy vs soft and
springy vs creamy. All the ingredients didn't seem to fit together at first but they were all in perfect harmony here.

Whole Fish Ceviche w/ avocado & frizzzled leeks $26
The fish was expertly took apart, ceviched and put back on top of the deep fried bones and head.  Not only an amazing presentation but perfectly seasoned big chucks of fish with  the creamy avocado mixed in plus the crispy leek on top. Perfect combination of flavors and texture, definitely one of the best ceviche I have ever had.

 Roast Bone Marrow w/ Toasted Bread & Chimichurri Sauce $9
We got ours raw, it was still red when we dig into it and told our server about it which is quickly replace with a new doubled portioned. But unfortunately it was still slightly red but better than the first one. On the other hand, I love it with the chimichurri sauce instead of the usual parsley.

 Stewed Gizzards & Pork, Poached Egg, Smoked Cheese $14
We has some bread left from the bone marrow and it was perfect for dipping into this. The gizzards was cooked so melt-in-your-mouth soft which fit perfectly together with the tart tomato sauce which was balanced with the creamy egg and salty cheese.

1/2 Grilled Octopus $34 ($59 got a whole one)
This was gorgeous looking but also perfectly cook and I guess it have to do with the size for it to be the perfect texture. Love how there wasn't any sauce/dressing which allow the octopus sweetness and charred/grill taste shine, paired with the simplest lemony veggies at the bottom.

Basque Cake & Sherry Cream |$8.5
Never had Basque cake before so I had no idea what to expect but it was so good. Moist creamy center with a crispy shell goodness, served warm it was my kind of dessert. I find the Sherry cream bit too sweet and prefer the cake on it's own, so I really appreciate it being served seperately so you can control how much to put on it.

Verdict :
Love it here, totally understand the buzz
Perfect drinks, perfect food and perfect service
Will definitely come back and definitely want to try their infamous late night platter

Bar Isabel on Urbanspoon


  1. Stewed Gizzards & Pork n Smoked Sweetbread, Raw Tuna seem very attractive, I would like to try...........