It’s been almost a year since chef Nick Balla moved over from Nombe to take the helm at Bar Tartine, evolving the menu to an Eastern European-by-way-of-California tour featuring bunches of house-made ingredients like pickles, charcuterie, sour cream, and spice mixtures. Michael Bauer says he had been waiting for their upcoming remodel to be complete before doing an update review, but now the Top 100 redux is almost upon us, he writes, “I just couldn’t keep quiet a minute longer. It’s a restaurant that’s so distinctive it deserves attention.”
We’ve made no secret of our excitement over Balla’s menus, which have changed frequently in the last ten months, and evolved significantly. Bauer calls the popular fried-potato bread (langos) “delectable,” and he loves the pickles and farmer’s cheese dumplings. He says that Balla’s blood sausage is the best he’s ever tasted, calling it “mild and almost sweet with a pure, clean flavor.” Also he loves the creamed herring over buckwheat bread, and says the smoked brisket is one his “favorite preparations.”
He finds the setting kind of loud, and “discombobulated” as the renovation continues and the sandwich/bread counter up front gets ready to open. But he finds the service “warmer and more gregarious” then before, and all told, he rewards the place with three stars, and says it’s now his “benchmark” for Eastern European food going forward.
Bar Tartine review: great Eastern European food [Chron]
Earlier: Our Year in Seven Stellar Meals
Bar Tartine Gets More Beer-Centric, Makes Their Own Bacon
Actually Pretty Awesome: The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine