There’s nowhere in this city where you can enjoy a four course tasting menu from a pedigreed chef for $50 per person. Much less with happy hour drinks. And forget about being able to wear comfortable jeans to that dinner.

Oh wait, scratch that. There’s one place – Bara Restaurant. Bara is the French/Japanese brainchild of chef Ian Alvarez who has worked with David Chang and other culinary luminaries. He blends Japanese ingredients and French technique to exquisite results that are flavorful without being overpowering and refined without being too delicate. Best of all, he serves it in a minimalist, casual setting where you can walk in for happy hour and some high end snacks ($7 duck meatballs) or plan a special meal with sake pairing. It’s Brooklyn cool but without any pretension – don’t worry, skinny jeans are not mandatory for permission.

Bara Restaurant Highlights

You can order a la carte here, but with such moderate pricing and a delectable menu, family style is the way to go. Here are some of the highlights from the seasonal menu. Expect variations on this, based on what’s fresh at the market:

East coast oysters with fermented radish vinaigrette

Bara Restaurant

Briny, plump oysters with just enough funky, earthy radish vinaigrette to highlight the oyster’s subtle sweetness. 2 per person and a fantastic start to the meal.

Puffed skin pork belly with tare and chile vinegar dipping sauce. Crispy pork skin, glistening fat, juicy meat. Sweet and thick tare sauce and tart and spicy chile vinegar. Ain’t nothing wrong here.

Duck meatballs with miso mustardBara Restaurant

Juicy, umami-rich meatballs with tangy-hot miso mustard. Some of the greatest meatballs in this ball-happy town.

Green beans with homemade tofu and lime, sesame, and sunflower seeds. Cool green beans, creamy tofu, and an unexpected hit of spice. The lime juice added a mouthwatering bright taste.

Bara Restaurant

Flat iron steak with grilled oysters, bok choy, and homemade Worcestershire sauce. Umami overdose. Juicy, rosy steak paired with tender oysters and bok choy. Savory, complex, and utterly satisfying for any carnivore.

Bottom line: Stop reading this review and get over to Bara Restaurant asap. The food is unbeatable, the atmosphere is hip, and the format is ideal for dining with a group of foodie friends.

Bara Restaurant
58 East 1st Street, New York, NY

(Picture Credit @NYCFoodieFinder)

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Sarah is a writer, editor, and social media manager. She loves seared foie gras at Michelin starred restaurants, Chili-Cheese Fritos from dirty bodegas, and watches"Orphan Black" like it's her religion.