Last night I went to Anita Lo's (Annisa) new (3 days old) restaurant Bar Q in the West Village. I walked in with no reservation at 10:30pm and the hostess asked if I had a reservation, I said, "No." and she said, "I can seat you." Of course she could seat me, the place was nearly empty, and anyways I'm Josh Beckerman, superstar Foodie/Magician.
The place is very white and modern, separated into two rooms. The first room is the bar area/lounge with a few tables where you can grab a drink and a bite. The second room is the dining room with tables and circular booths where you can have a more formal or leisurely dinner. I like the layout of this restaurant a lot for if you need to wait for a table and want to grab a drink, or if you just want to grab a drink, there is plenty of room and lots of space, unlike many new restaurants where it can get cramped while waiting for a table. Also, there is an outdoor patio reminiscent of a greenhouse which will soon be open which I can forsee being very popular come Spring and Summer.
The cuisine is Asian/BBQ which I am a fan of, and after perusing the menu I was more excited because all the dishes were right up my alley. After questioning my waiter Paul on his favorite dishes (he likes them all) I went with a starter of Spit Roasted Pork Belly and and entree of Stuffed Spareribs. Also had a nice Victory Pilsner with the meal.
The Spit Roasted Pork Belly ($13) came with kimchee, takuan, and steamed buns, with a side of scallion tofu. The plate came with all the ingredients separated and basically it was a "do-it-yourself" sandwich. At first I thought it was lazy, like why are you making me do this myself, but after I put all the ingredients together, my mind changed. First off, this dish 100% reminded me of David Chang's famous Pork Buns he serves at Momofuku (they put it together for you there) but with different side ingredients. So, I put one of the two pieces of pork belly in one bun, added some takuan (pickled daikon) and some kimchee, then added the scallion tofu and had my first bite. This was an outstanding appetizer. I loved the crispiness of the skin of the pork belly, the crunch of the takuan, the spiciness of the kimchee, and the uniqueness of the scallion tofu. It all worked well together. I could not stop eating this bun, it was totally addictive. David Chang finally has some competition in the Pork Bun world. I never had scallion tofu before, but I thought it was a nice addition and worked well with everything in the bun. This is definitely one of my favorite appetizers of the year and I can't wait to come back for more!
My entree of Stuffed Spareribs ($23) came with lemongrass bbq, peanuts and thai basil. The dish came out and looked more like a piece of meatloaf then a sparerib. I'm not sure why they have it pluralized either, for it seemed just like one rib to me, but there was a lot of meat, so I could be wrong. I did enjoy the dish though. The sauce was sweet with just a little hit of spiciness. I'm pretty much a fan of any dish that utilizes peanuts with sauces, but I would say that I think there was too much sauce on the dish and the peanut sauce was way too heavy. I think they should definitely lighten up on the sauce so the flavor of the meat can come through more, for the dish seemed to be overwelmed by the sauce.
I definitely plan on coming back to Bar Q to try all the other dishes. So for unique Asian BBQ cuisine in a great space, Bar Q is the perfect West Village spot.
308 Bleeker St. (bet. Grove and 7th ave.)
New York, NY 10014