Friday, March 12, 2010
Top of the Tapas
So I have a secret... I am in love with a restaurant. Yes, a restaurant. My boyfriend knows this and is okay with it, so don't worry. We met about 7 months ago and I have yet to be disappointed. My restaurant is comforting, friendly, accommodating, and most importantly, delivers exceptional tasting food. Baru is its name, and Latin/Caribbean tapas is its game. Located on the corner of Magazine and Amelia Street, Baru Bistro is one of Uptown New Orleans' most precious gems. The waitstaff is the friendliest you will ever meet, the food is consistently delicious, and the ambiance is inexplicably romantic. I am in love with this restaurant.
Baru's specialty is their tapas, which is basically a fancy name for appetizers. But that's not all their menu consists of. They also have soups, salads, entrees and desserts and I have tried just about everything they have to offer. My advice on what to get? Everything. Honestly, there's nothing bad at Baru, but my personal favorites are as follows: For the tapas, I love the Ostras Fritas (fried oysters), Tuna Tartare, Pimenton Asado (roasted red peppers) and the Ceviche. As for entrees I am partial to the Lechon Cubano (pulled pork), which is slow cooked for many hours and literally melts in your mouth. And as a lighter option, I really enjoy the Camarones salad, which is grilled shrimp, avocado, mango, red onion, cherry tomatoes and mixed greens drizzled with a citrus vinaigrette. Eating healthy has never looked or tasted this good.
Like all great restaurants, Baru changes its menu based on what's in season and what fresh ingredients are available to them at the time. I love seeing what tasty creations the chef, Edgar, will come up with next. The bistro is also BYOB, so they do charge an $8 corking fee per wine bottle, but no charge for beer or liquor brought to the restaurant. The restaurant is small but not too crowded and when the weather is nice, outside seating is available. In addition, they do not take reservations but if you call them while you are en route, they will often put your name on the list to help cut down on your wait time. Like I said, accommodating and friendly.
Baru currently holds first place as my favorite romantic dining spot (in addition to here), but it's also a great place to go with a group of friends. By sharing the tapas and entrees and paying a moderately priced corking fee, you can save a lot of money. So if you've never had Latin/Caribbean food before, or you're in the mood for something fresh and flavorful that won't weigh you down, I highly recommend giving Baru the chance to make your lunch or dinner very special.
Black drum ceviche with avocado, habanero peppers, pickled red onion and cilantro.
Lechon Cubano: Pulled pork, black beans, fried plantains and pickled red onions.
Ostras Fritas: Cornmeal fried oysters with cilantro aioli and caramelized onions.
Pimenton Asado: Roasted red peppers with grilled bread.