Bar Tartine is another place I've been meaning to get back to. Last time I had their frites that are fried in duck fat and I wanted them again. Unfortuately they usually have a long wait for walk ins, and I'm not so good at planning ahead. Fortunately last night I knew Lori and I were going to be having dinner, so I called ahead and made reservations.
We arrived about ten minutes early and sat at the bar while they got our table ready. We had good rustic Tartine Bakery bread, and an apertif of Prosecco with Navarro Pinot Noir grape juice. I'm not usually a fan of prosecco, or of sweet apertifs in general but this worked well. I think the acidity of the grape juice helped. We sat and examined the menu. To my disappointment they no longer have frites on the menu! After about a 30 minute wait (!) they seated us. To their credit they did come by periodically to apologize and give us updates but the wait was too long.
Lori ordered the charcuterie plate and the onglet, while I had the sardines pinxtos. The sardines were big! They were served on toast with a nice tomatoey piperade and topped with sieved egg (that I at first thought was a ricotta) and topped with spinach. Lori's charuterie plate was a study in contrasts. Coarse testa - almost a rillette - contrasted with buttery smooth chicken liver pate.
The onglet was served in a stack cut into teeny bite sized pices, and was nice and crispy on the outside while still rare on the inside with an appropriately strong beefy flavor that was complemented by crispy horseradish bread salsa and cute white/green "broccoli romanesco" - a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.
My lamb tagine was served in a lamb broth with a hint of cinnamon, appropriately "al dente" chickpeas, and pine nuts. It had been stewed with sweet dumpling squash, onions, and chard. The sweetness of the squash and onions set off the savoryness of the lamb and was accented by the mild bitterness of the chard. The combination worked for me and seemed true to the spirit of Moroccan cooking, unlike some overly sweet concotions I've endured in the past.
Each of us finished with a small scoop of ice cream. Lori's was a fresh spearmint, mine a "ginger snap" that tasted strongly of molasses and ginger with just a hint of another spice - maybe allspice. I think it had just a little too much molasses flavor but I still ate it all. They were served with little shortbreads that I took home and saved for my morning coffee.
I notice from the menu that they serve bluebottle espresso, and I noticed their espresso machine is appropriately retro and has the E61 group heads that I love, I need to get back there some time to try the coffee - they use bluebottle and their barrista looks competent. Now that they're open for lunch, maybe I won't have to avoid coffee due to the lateness of the hour.