The only thing that makes it somewhat ok that East Village seafood mecca Prima closed, is that it’s replacement Bara, a Japanese/French place offers truly impeccable taste, service and prices. The space feels similar with white brick, glistening walls, fresh flowers and a small bar for just a few diners (or a few drinks). It’s cozy, calm and all about the food and conversation here- making it perfect for date night. As you sit down, a plate of soy sauce flavored cucumbers, raw cauliflower and radishes greet your palate. Starting with veggies is a good move as opposed to bread here because there are so many dishes you need to save room for.
Yes, to the East Coast Oysters with Water Kimchi, and yes, to the Preserved Artichoke Gratin with Crispy Lavash and Smoked Paprika. This “dip” really kicks the night off to a good start. The quantity of artichoke hearts are what really makes this dish stellar. It looks more saucy than it tastes going in and the crunch and paprika together rules. Take that all those silly football sour cream and onion dips. This is the real deal. Throw in the Pork Belly amongst the appetizers. It’s crispy, crunchy, tender and well, porky.
I’ve never been more blown away by a piece of duck besides Scarpetta. This is truly one of, if not only, the most delicate duck I’ve ever had. Nothing chewy, nothing disappointing, just a fine cut of meat that you deserve. I purposely never order duck because of how rough it is but the broth and thin mushroom accents kill it for the win. The Fried Chicken might not seem as appealing as a $22 duck or #22 steak, but fight the urge and order it! It’s hot, crunchy, juicy and just as fantastic as every other southern restaurant in New York City. Props to Chef Ian.
I’m going to call the signature dish the Whole Roasted Black Bass. Not that it’s the only “best” dish here but it does expose the best presentation and served with a plethora of those delicious cucumbers. The skin is sweet and and roasted perfectly. Count your lucky stars if you dine with someone who can debone that baby at the table because I sure can’t and dove head first. Honestly, you really can’t go wrong at Bara. The food is amazing with each dish offering different amounts of heat, sweetness and saltiness so that every thing fits together for a satiable meal. None of the flavors overlap completely and it’s just a straight up rockstar of a restaurant. Get yourselves here before the people find it and the lines start.
Lastly, don’t overlook the family style dining. I know you people are always looking for the best group dinners. Look no further as Family Style Dining is available for 6 or more guests and only a measly $55 per person with basically all of these options delivered right to your mouth. This is the definition of a steal.