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The Early Word on Jeffrey Chodorow's Bar Basque

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Jeffrey Chodorow's latest venture, Bar Basque, is getting a lot of attention for the decor. The bright red interior designed by Blade Runner's Syd Mead has some people "running" from the place. But can the food overcome this crimson vision of the future? Here's the early word:

The Mostly Great News: Gael Greene files: "...mostly we were wowed, starting with the amuse of truffled sheep’s milk in a pastry cone, pintxos of mushroom croquetas and slow baked piquillo peppers. Some are hot and some are not and the challenge is - there is no way to know...Quite frankly we couldn’t get enough of the oxtail “ravioli,” small squares of crisp bread enclosing the meat set in a small puddle of red wine reduction with an herb salad as spicy as Jennifer Lopez...I must say I’m not exactly thrilled eating with the baseball game over my shoulder on the Jumbotron hanging outside over the courtyard below. I chose the seat with my back to the screen – the men at the table don’t even try to hide their sideways glances." [IC]

The Bad News: An Eater reader writes in, "The food isn't really the problem at Bar Basque. It's fine to mediocre. But the portions are small, the prices high, the waiters well-trained in upselling. And the look is so strange. That red! Those hallways to the bathrooms! (Though thumbs up for the chrome toilet.) Also, the GM wears an earpiece. Six months and Chodorow will change this place into a normal hotel bar with a killer patio. [Eater Inbox]

The Good News: Yelper Liam D describes the space as "the Starship Enterprise from hell" but enjoyed the food and thinks the Crispy Farm Egg is a must have. "Now let's talk about the food, because that's what makes this place really special... - the absolute MUST have - the Crispy Farm Egg, which has olive oil crushed potatoes, peppers, Serrano ham, and cheese broth. This little semi-boiled egg (yoke was still completely liquid) is breaded on the outside and you crack it open and it just covers everything else on the plate to form one of the most amazing combinations of flavors I've had in a long time... seriously: do not go here without trying this egg. You will be tempted to order a second... " [Yelp]

The Eh News: Jesse P. thought the food was okay and that the place loses points for the decor and service. "3 stars for the food, minus one star for the decor, and jittery/disorganized hostesses...I ordered another favorite dish, "cochinillo" aka suckling pig. Juicy and tasty, but the crackling skin could've been thicker, crunchier. My friend's cod was a little bland. Overall, better off skipping in favor of Casa Mono or the like, but worth a visit if on an expense account and want a new flavor of Spain." [Yelp]

The Bad News: A Menupages user is not a fan: "The sardine entree was a joke!! They gave 4 very small filets and some greens for 26$ What gall. Bar Basket Case would be a better name. " [MP]

The Terrible News: An anonymous Eater commenter had access to a preview of the restaurant where they say the food and service was terrible. They go on to predict a possible future for for the place. "I went to a vip preview of the restaurant. It was rediculously bad. Aside from the very sweet (and competent) bar staff, the place was a mess. The decor is dated already. Really if a low-budget Tron was recreated for a bad airport lounge in Houston. And the food ranged from Mediocre to downright bad. As you'd expect at a Basque place there is a lot of pork, and everything we had was very oily, heavy and overcooked. The waitstaff seemed clueless as to what was actually in any of the dishes. I predict it will be turned into a bridge and tunnel bar by Christmas." [Eater]

The "Could Appeal to Gamers News": The interestingly named Buttface has different ideas for the place. "i want to come eat here in Mass Effect cosplay." [Gothamist]

The Upselling News: NY Journal gets the hard upsell: "The service was Chodorrific, meaning not great. I arrived five minutes early; naturally, the hostess would not seat me, even though (at 6:00 p.m.) the restaurant was practically empty, and at no point in the evening would it be full...We were seated and menus arrived...We were still studying them, and the server arrived, intent on upselling us into Pintxos (tapas) to start. No menu for these had been supplied, but the server knew which ones we ought to have (hint: the most expensive)...When we placed our order a few minutes later, she seemed quite dismayed: “So, you’ve decided not to order the Pinxtos?” Negatory...I couldn’t resist trying the Squab Five Ways (above right), although it will be offered for only another week. The breast was very good (a bit like duck in miniature), but the other four ways were forgettable, particularly a mousse (right-hand edge of the photo) that was served without anything to spread it on. I believe the squab was supposed to be $32, but I didn’t realize until I got home that it was left off the bill. I am fairly certain that it was not a deliberate comp. I didn’t photograph or taste my friends’ choices, which they found underwhelming: beet salad, monkfish, cod, a side of grilled vegetables." [NYJ]

The Twitterverse News: NYWFF Founder, @Lee_Schrager has nothing but praise. "Fun, delish dinner at Bar Basque- kudos to El Chod and Terry Zar! Croquetta's almost as great as Michy"s !" As does @Elaniworld. "Bar Basque is amazing!" But @TwittsMcGee shares an opposite opinion. "I thought Bar Basque was a total disaster. We left after one drink, the decor was so distracting and hideous." @meat99 likes the wine vending machine. "Poke folk getting a tour of the wine vending machine at Bar Basque. It's rad. Do it." @ShariBayer adds to her to do list. "Great dinner at Bar Basque with @eatingwitheddie. Note to self: enjoy Acorn-Fed Fermin Iberian Ham more often."
—Mary Iampietro

Bar Basque

839 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 Visit Website

Bar Basque

851 6th Avenue, New York, NY

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