Slideshow: First Look at Dishes From Balena, Chris Pandel and BoKa Group’s Pasta Star
Lasagna pie at Balena.

It’s not like Chris Pandel never had pasta at The Bristol— he had it all the time. But the pasta program at Balena represents a leap in quantity and complexity over a few items on a much larger menu. And overall, Balena’s devotion to traditional, rustic Italian food offers the unmistakable impression that after several years of being a master of whatever he felt like making, Pandel is ready to dig deep into a single style and follow its discipline wherever it leads… with some modern twists. It’s exciting to see one of our top chefs change not only his approach but his philosophy about how he works— but hey, it’s even more exciting to see what you’re going to eat, and that’s what we’re here for now. Our man Huge Galdones was at Balena on their first Friday night, and here are the fantastic pictures of mouthwatering food he brought back.

Chris Pandel on the line.
Rosemary no2: Campari, Aperol, fresh sour, egg white, flamed rosemary.
Lasagna pie: bolognese, ricotta, basil.
Grilled head-on prawns, grapes, finger chiles, aioli.
Zingerman’s burrata, roasted beets, celery root.
Strozzapreti, rabbit sugo, rosemary, olives.
Tagliolini nero, crab, sea urchin, chile.
Tajarin with pork ragu.
Glazed duck leg, dried fig, Amaro, basil, with spicy grilled short ribs in background.
Amanda Rockman’s Tiramisu, chocolate sauce, coffee streusel, roasted pear.
Grapefruit sorbetti, dry meringue, cinnamon, aperol granite.
Il maestro Chris Pandel, di Balena.
Slideshow: First Look at Dishes From Balena, Chris Pandel and BoKa Group’s Pasta