When Josh DeChellis opened up BarFry, we were a little skeptical. It seems a waste of the chef’s prodigal talent to just be throwing stuff into a pot of oil, which is pretty much what we imagine tempura cooking to be. Well, not to worry. Like he did at Sumile Sushi, DeChellis is breaking out his brilliant composed dishes.
In fact, much is afoot at BarFry. The place just got its liquor license and will be debuting DeChellis’s special brew, Rogue Brewery’s Gaigin Pale, a beer designed to go with BarFry’s tempura. But the main thing is the DeChellis non-fried menu, which includes two raw dishes every day — this week taking the form of a yellowfin tartare with pickled mustard seed and pickled ramp ponzu, and a Cape Cod fluke in a spicy white soy sauce. Then there’s his salad of pickled summer beans with 24-month-old proscuitto and a tempura egg yolk which the chef somehow manages to fry without breaking, leaving that for the diner. The thing DeChellis seems most pleased with right now is a tea-smoked anago (sea eel) roll, which he’s doing entirely without rice: fresh snow peas, snap peas, pea purée, grated radish, and various lettuces and herbs take the place of a starch. No need now to feel guilty for going out for a dinner of deep-fried treats and beer. (Not that we really did before.)