In 2004, Mario Batali and Andy Nesser opened Bar Jamón as a wine bar, next door to Casa Mono, and while they’ve changed the dishes seasonally, they’ve always kept the menu fairly consistent. Now, for the first time, along with chef Anthony Sasso, they’re starting from (almost) scratch. There are a few classic holdovers — like pan con tomate — but the majority of the menu is entirely new.
Sasso says he decided to make the change because, simply, he had “too good of a time in Barcelona” this summer. “I ate my way through the city that I used to live in, and focused on visiting some of the oldest restaurants,” he says. “And little by little, I saw how all this food could translate onto our menu. I wanted to make it have more of the interactive experience of the bars all over Spain, where there’s food on display, because Bar Jamón has always been this do-it-yourself bar, where you’re handed a wine list and you come up with a meal yourself based on what’s written on the wall.” Speaking of, Sasso personally shaved the mirror clean of the words listing the old menu and wrote the new one out with white paint.
Though Sasso admits Bar Jamón “needed a little bit of love,” the DNA of the restaurant remains intact, as it’s still traditionally Spanish. The menu has a wide array of seafood dishes — octopus with chickpeas and harissa, olive-oil-poached bonito — but the housemade terrines and charcuterie are also standouts. Take a look:
Bar Jamón, 125 E 17th St., (212) 253-2773