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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Barbrix: Overpriced and Overrated

This hot spot is tucked away and almost invisible unless you look really hard to find it. Barbrix is an extremely crowded bar/restaurant that serves some Italian, Spanish and French items but ultimately failed to impress. I was excited to see so many choices under cured meats and cheeses so ordered a sampler of five kinds of ham. These included Jamon Serrano, prosciutto, speck, culatello and chorizo. They were all good enough, although the Jamon Serrano was not as fantastic as the Jamon Iberico de Bellota at The Bazaar. I mean, forget about it. No contest. Then the prosciutto wasn't as amazing as the one I had at Girasole.

Don't mean to be too negative here, but it's true that if you're going to offer cured meat plates and such that they be sliced super thin to the point of being transparent. That's really important. But they weren't sliced this way.

There are two things I did like about this place --the bread and the wine selection. The bread was nicely charred and warm, although yes, still not as good as Bouchon's most excellent bread I've been dreaming about since trying it last month.

I'm no big wine expert, but when I saw Lambrusco being offered, I had to get it since so few places offer it. The last time I had it was at Hatfield's and this was a fraction of the price. This sparkling red was refreshing and paired very well with my salty meats. It reminded me of my trip to Italy last summer. Ah, how I wish we had more Lambrusco available here! Not the $3.99 bottle. A real one.

In any case, I found the bar service not up to par although the owner or manager took off an item off the bill when I told the bartender that it wasn't very good and he saw that it stayed on the plate barely touched.

The culprit? This "crispy" pork belly wasn't just not crispy but there was hardly any meat on it. I understand there's going to be fat but this was all fat and no flesh! So as much as I love me some fat, I couldn't get myself to eat these. I found these poorly executed. Maybe they need a lesson from Chego chef Roy Choi of kogi truck fame, who makes the best glazed pork belly chunks.

To be fair, I haven't tried its dinner menu but I feel like I've tried enough. Actually, one of my favorite dishes our party shared was the grilled baby broccoli that was perfectly charred and seasoned. Never thought I'd get excited about a broccoli dish but that's how good it was. Or maybe that's how unremarkable the other meat dishes were, and you know how much I love meat.

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