One of the more surprising restaurant news I received in the past year was that Gabriel Stulman decided to ditch the inventive Japanese gastropub concept at Chez Sardine and replace it with a more classic American bar concept of Bar Sardine. I absolutely loved Chez Sardine and can’t still forget their creative sushi pieces, so this came as a mild shock. Bar Sardine seemed a little bit more predictable (what cocktail bar in NYC doesn’t have a burger these days?) so it’s been on the back of my hit list. I was meeting a friend on Valentine’s Day and figured that why not try this place now while all the other restaurants are probably serving expensive and boring prix fixe menus. Overall, the food at Bar Sardine, while not as memorable as my visit at its predecessor, generally delivered.
The menu at Bar Sardine consists mostly of shareable snacks and small plates. The deviled eggs at Bar Sardine came in with soy and black garlic. I can’t say I was a huge fan of the flavor and wished for a more straightforward deviled eggs. Corn fritters with miso cream, on the other hand, was spot on and you should have them on your table. Frisee and lardon salad with slow-cooked egg, purple potatoes and ranch was surprisingly good, with the light touch that made the dish particularly addictive. Arctic char tartare was another winner; I really loved the tender texture of the tartare with horseradish cream underneath.
The menu that everyone is talking about at Bar Sardine is the Fedora Burger, and its reputation is well-deserved. Served with smoked cheddar, crispy potatoes, cucumbers and BBQ mayo inside the bun, the meat was more or less perfectly cooked; the whole ingredients were working together beautifully for a wonderful sensation every bite. I’m not ready to declare this burger the best one in NYC (that label still goes to Minetta Tavern), but this is definitely a very good one that you should try at least once if you have a huge craving for burger. There was only one dessert, and chocolate pot de crème with whipped cream and honeycomb candy was a surprisingly light and delightful dish that ended the meal on a pleasant note.
The restaurant/bar doesn’t accept reservations so just show up in advance. Given the tiny size of the place, it packs up pretty quickly. Bar Sardine has some really good cocktails, including different regional variations of “fashions” (for example, American fashion is pretty similar to the classic old-fashioned) so definitely try one or two to complement your meal. Whether you come for a full meal or just a couple of drinks with snacks, Bar Sardine is the type of place I would recommend if you are wandering around West Village.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 183 West 10th Street, New York, NY 10014
Telephone: (646) 360-3705