If you're tempted to roll your eyes when you hear about Hell's Kitchen's new cured meat-focused eatery BarBacon you wouldn't be the only one. It seems like every week we get a new single focus restaurant promising the best of whatever foodstuff they've hitched their wagon to—and haven't we had just about enough of bacon? The answer, I've discovered, is no. There can never be too much bacon, especially when it's well-sourced, well-cooked and, well, served to you as part of a bacon flight. Yes, a flight of bacon.
The bacon bonanza is the brainchild of chef Peter Sherman, who spent time working in kitchens with the likes of Joel Robuchon, David Bouley and April Bloomfield before leaving the fine dining world to focus on his dream of opening a gastropub in his neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen. After five years and hundreds of American bacon samples later, he opened BarBacon late last year, putting together a menu of comfort classics flecked with a bacon bent, plus beers and bourbons that he felt complemented the smoke. It should be noted that Sixpoint Sweet Action tastes incredible with Neuske's Applewood Smoked Bacon, a fact learned through the aforementioned bacon flight.
A trip to the restaurant wouldn't be complete without the The Tasting ($12): two strips of five different bacon selections, depending on what Sherman has been into recently. At a press preview we sampled the Nueske's, Ozark Trails Brand Hickory Smoked Peppered Bacon, Father's Country Maple Bacon and an incredible, game-changing Jalapeno Bacon that was spicy, smokey and totally addictive. There's something so wonderful about eating unadulterated slices of bacon, like you're standing over the stovetop at your parent's house.
Another winner is the BarBacon Grilled Cheese ($8), stuffed with a generous portion of the Nueske's plus fontina and gruyere cheeses and served with a lovely roasted tomato and eggplant soup. As a grilled cheese addict I was pleased with the volume of stuffings, as well as the sweet, course-textured semolina, fennel and golden raisin slices from Amy's Bread. Despite eating many, many slices of bacon prior to the sandwich, I still almost polished off the entire thing. The All Day Sausage, Bacon, Egg and Cheese ($9) looks like a gigantic burger instead of the soft creations from the corner bodega. Maybe it was the sheer volume of foods I'd already consumed, but I found the sandwich a bit over-the-top for my tastes; though I could see it knocking out a hangover without a fight.
They're also doing BLTs, burgers and pulled pork sandwiches, plus a splurge-worthy Bacon Loves Lobster Roll ($18) that's been a big hit; also look out for the Brussels sprouts when they're on special. Vegetarians can opt for BarBacon Vegan "bacon" in any of the dishes; they've also got two types of turkey "bacon," if you went to a bacon restaurant to eat healthfully. Desserts like bacon brownies, cookies and sundaes are also on offer, though Sherman says he plans to tinker around with desserts a little more before settling on a regular lineup.
836 9th Avenue, (646) 362-0622; barbacon.com