Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Firstly a Declaration of Interest, gourmet as opposed to pecuniary - Barbuto Restaurant at 775, Washington Street (above and below) between Jane & West 12th Streets, is one of my personal favorite eating establishments just about anywhere, New York, London, Paris ...... The restaurant occupies an airy garage space on the ground floor of Industria Superstudios, and with garage doors that can be opened and closed guests can enjoy a sidewalk table in the warm months. The simple decor, open kitchen and wood-burning oven add to the restaurant's warm and inviting atmosphere.

With its perpetually crowded bar and air of casual though carefully cultivated hipness, Barbuto turns out to be an Italianate version of the classic Odeon French-brasserie model, only there are no frites insight and prices are more than reasonable. The owner and renowned chef Jonathan Waxman's (below) Italian inspired cuisine represents only the very best in local and seasonal ingredients.

All the dishes from the antipasti to the primi, secondi, and contori are developed using simple preparations that showcase the quality and flavours of each ingredient on the plate. As the menu changes daily according to the quality of produce and seasonality of ingredients, guests will be treated to dishes such as Crispy Potato Gnocchi with squash and parmesan (mmm - wonderful - had it last time I was there); Sauteed local spinach, hazelnut and lemon; and Jonathan's signature culinary anthem Roasted Chicken and Salsa Verdi (below) ( again personally sampled several times and without doubt the best roast chicken ever tasted). For those wishing to follow in his culinary steps, Jonathan's book "A Great American Cook" shares the secret of his sublime roast chicken recipe along with lots more.

Barbuta's formula for success is mind numbingly simple, no degree's in rocket-science needed to fathom this one out. Provide your customers with meals made from carefully sourced first-class ingredients with the main emphasis on taste (do not over-complicate the preparation or ingredients leading to a confusion of tastes and cold food), serve in attractive and welcoming surroundings by affable and helpful staff and at a reasonable cost. Simple yes, but it is amazing how many restaurants fail to get the point. Barbuta does and is to be heartily commended.

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