Bobby Flay is a celebrity chef. Many times when someone reaches a high status within their career they lose some of what made them noticeable. Not so in this case!
My daughter and I were on a whirlwind 2 day trip to the Big Apple. We had wanted to have a special dinner to cap off a wonderfully, exhausting celebration of our two landmark birthdays (she had just turned 25 and I am crossing over to the big 50 at the end of the year). We noticed that Bar Americain was across the street from our hotel. We were fortunate enough to have had brunch in Flay’s Mesa Grill in Las Vegas so we hoped this upscale brasserie would measure up to our first experience.
We were not disappointed. The atmosphere is quite elegant and serene. Warm wood walls, marble floors and dim lighting. The soaring ceilings and “loft” gave the room a feel of a 1940’s dinner club. Even though we went at six o’clock, which is quite early for a New York dinner, there were quite a few parties seated. Our server was knowledgeable and when he heard about my dairy allergy he had the busboy bring over a basket of just out of the oven “safe” breads and drinks, promising to return momentarily with dinner suggestions.
He kept his word! Within five minutes our tuxedo clad server let me know which dishes could be prepared for my enjoyment. My daughter, who was fortunate enough to be able to chose anything on the menu went with a house favorite: a rack of pork with double apple butter and a balsamic vinegar and fig reduction sauce which included smashed potatoes with goat cheese. The pork had been marinated in a brine for 30 hours and came pink, juicy and according to my daughter was the best pork chop she had ever had and loved ever bite of her side dish as well.
I had my choice of wild salmon (without the port wine reduction) or Floridian inspired red snapper encrusted in plantains and topped with a luscious and refreshing mango, corn and avocado salsa as it rested on a black bean puree. If my husband, who doesn’t care for snapper, had been there-this was a dish he would have enjoyed-as did I. The plantain was quite thinly sliced on a mandolin and was just enough to give the moist fish a perfect crunch.
Before our main dishes, we also had to split an appetizer-Flay’s signature spicy tuna tartare. We wanted to see if he used the same recipe as his Mesa Grill. It was very similar, but not as spicy. Which fit well with the elegant surroundings. The tuna was melt in your mouth fresh, icy cold with capers and cayenne.
My daughter loves tiramisu and saw someone at a nearby table having a portion and moaning in delight. She announced her intention to have one. However, by the time we split the appetizer and she had enjoyed every bite of her entree, she declared dessert officially out!
We may not have been able to see a Broadway show during our whirlwind weekend, but Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain proved to be a delicious bit of memorable culinary theatre.