Written by Hulda Lawrence
New York City is the locale of a number of new restaurants with specialities now available for the enjoyment of residents. However Mario Batali created this West Village spot at 31 Cornelia Street (212) 645-2189 named Po after the Italian River, 18 years ago. It is a simple spot with a small wine bar. As soon as one sits down, diners are asked what they want and promptly it is brought in a bottle and poured table side. My companion preferred white wine and her choice was pinot grigio. My preference is for red and I selected Remole Toscana Frescobaldi. This dry red was excellent as we nibbled our white smooth beans on top of crostini. From the antipasti we chose Roasted Beets Salad with artichokes, watercress, endive and taleggio crostino; and Po Cured Tuna with white beans, artichokes and chile-mint vinaigrette. We enjoyed Polpetta di Carne, delicious meatballs in a garlicked tomato sauce. Other interesting dishes we appreciated were Duck Sloppy Joe done with chilies and sweet pickled onions; and Linguine Vongole done with fresh clams, pancetta, red chile and white wine. Incidentally, prices are most reasonable with $18 being top for entrees; egg dishes are $10 and $11. Panini are all served with green salad and are $12 to $14.
Then came the dessert department. First on the list was Dark Chocolate Terrine. My preference always has been for that kind of chocolate and happily requested a serving. There also was Panna Cotta and Ricotta Cheese Cake with Vermont maple syrup. Each of these sweets was delicious.
Next, I ordered Cappuccino and I reported it was the best I had had since I left Italy. After I said that, Nicole the server who also was the "maker," bought me a second and it too was excellent.
An unusual "perk" is phoning ahead and bringing along a serving dish. Diners can pick up their favorite food to take home. There also is a tasting menu at $53 for six course at night. At lunch there are four courses at $35.
On my next visit I shall try the Grilled Guinea Hen and the daily, freshly made Gnocchi Della Casa. Poached eggs done with sweetbreads and potato hash and truffle oil at $11. Incidentally, $18 is the top price for primi and the gnocchi is a top choice.
Hours: Monday and Tuesday Dinner 5:30 to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday lunch 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday lunch 11:30 to 4 p.m. Dinner 4 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday lunch 11:30 to 4 p.m. Dinner 4 to 10 p.m.
Bar Boulud, 1900 Broadway, 212 595-0303 is one of the Boulud enterprises. Others include Daniel, Cafe Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne, DBGA Kitchen & Bar, and Bar Pleiades. Bar Boulud is a casual bistro located across from Lincoln Center and serves signature terrines and pates of famed Parisian charcuterie, Gilles Verot, along with a complete menu of seasonal French Bistro Cooking.
The main dining room with its cutting-edge contemporary design includes communal seating at the charcuterie bar and a tasting table in the round. Weather permitting, you can enjoy the outdoor terrace. There are three private dining rooms.
We enjoyed the "Degustation De Charcuterie," the chef's tasting of charcuterie specialties hors d'oeuvre, condiments and mustards, $22. With our tasting I had a Cosmopolitan and my companion enjoyed a Brazilian Mojito done with Sagatiba aged Cachaca, fresh ginger mint and lemon juice. These special drinks are $14.
For our entrees we had Croque Monsieur with warm ham, Gruyere cheese and bechamel, $16; along with Steak Frites, a Black Angus New York Steak with French Fries, "Laitue au Fromage Blanc" $33. Other entrees include "Frisee Lyonnaise": chicory, chicken liver, poached egg lardons, sourdough croutons, $19; Scottish Salmon, roasted eggplant caviar, chickpea hummus, basil oil, $25; Moules a la Moutarde, white wine steamed Maine Mussels, mustard cream, tarragon, tomatoes white country bread, $24; and Aioli, Chilled Carolina Shrimp, olive oil poached cod, garlic dip, quail eggs, vegetable, lettuce, $14. There are a number of soups and salads including Vichyssoise de chou-Fleur, chilled cauliflower and potato soup, lovage oil, pumpernickel, vadoouvan spice, $10 and Salade de Betteraves, roasted red beets, escarole, hazelnuts, farm cheese, shallot vinaigrette, $12. Our wines by the glass were Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cote du Rhone 2006 at $19 for me and Domaine Corsin, St. Veran 2009 at $13 for my companion.
For dessert we selected Neroli, Sacher Raspberry Tart, Ecuadorian Chocolate ganache, orange blossom scented local cream, $11 and Gateau Basque, custard cake, brandied cherries, vanilla anglaise, $11.
Hours: Lunch Monday - Friday 12 noon until 2:30 p.m Dinner nighty from 5p.m. until midnight. Limited menu from 2:30 p.m. until 5p.m. Saturday & Sunday Brunch 11:30 - 4 p.m.
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.