What an unexpected treat La Barrique turned out to be! I was meeting a friend after work one night and wanted to find a place between our offices. I had passed the sign for La Barrique a number of times when on the block for some spicy szechuan for lunch. It looked inviting – and oh so French – but I had never gone inside…so this was the perfect night to give it a try.
We went for Happy Hour and sat at the bar. Not only was the space nice, they also had live music – a 3 piece band, right in the front of the bar…and great drink specials! We had the mojitos – more than one round to be sure – and each drink was freshly muddled to order. And for the bargain Happy Hour price of just $5. Happy Hour, indeed!
Before even getting our first round of drinks, around came a smiling waitress and presented us (and everyone else at the bar) an amuse bouche – a ham and cheese tartlette and a falafel with a sweet and sour sauce. Right here, this could be new favorite happy hour place!
We ordered a few things from the bar menu to go along with our drinks. We chose the Fried Calamari ($9.95) and 3 Sliders ($8.95). They were both good, but the standout for me was the sliders – perhaps the best I’ve ever had.
There was no description, but the three sliders came on adorable little rolls and there were 1 each of three kinds of burger – Beef: Plump, juicy, pink in the middle but nicely grilled on the outside. Lamb: a bit meatier, firmer, with that nice ‘gamey’ bite. And surprise of all surprises- a short rib burger! Nicely stringy (and I do mean that adoringly), tasty, moist all the way through..as if they had just taken the rectangle of meat right off the short-rib bone and slipped it into the bun. Such a treat!
They came on an oval platter with fries on either side and a little half cornichon (sliced through length-wise) held atop each bun with a toothpick. Each burger had a slice of American cheese on it—and the cheese was not only melted onto the meat, but it had those delectable patches of brown-almost-black where the heat (from the broiler I’m guessing) blistered it. Double yum.
Judging from the looks and smells of the food being served all around us,I bet the full-on dinners are delicious as well. But, trust me, the three sliders make a mighty satisfying meal, all by themselves. Full-on-dinner-item or not.
Great drinks, great food, great prices and live music, too – keep La Barrique in mind next time you’re in Midtown and looking for a place. They really seem to have it all.
38 West 39th Street
(Between 5th & 6th Aves.)