Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Barcelona at River's Edge

And now, my friends, the time has come for yet another gustatory review, this time of a restaurant in the midst of a renaissance. A chef can make or break a restaurant, there is no way around it. He must combine ingredients, time, and artistry in order to create a masterpiece, and he is under the pressure to do it consistently  day after day. In addition, he must strive to create the new constantly, as he must have a base of patrons who return, and he does not want them bored. All in all, it seems like a monumental Sisyphean task. A great chef can succeed, and make this look easy. A poor chef sinks into the rote, and is sent to oblivion.

I am sure at this point, you are wondering about that overly poetic paean to to practitioners of the culinary arts. The answer is simple: A great chef, like a good woman, is hard to find. Therefore, when you find one, go back.

I was dining recently with my father and mother at Barcelona at River's Edge, a restaurant that has been around for a while. What makes it different is the new Executive Chef, Bernie Bereksazi. A man of culinary experience, he created a meal truly to remember.

We started off the meal with the Charcuterie Plate, a mixture of breads, cheeses, fruit, and meats, an excellent starter, as it is not too heavy, and prepares your mouth for more. A little bit of fig jam on the side definitely highlighted the sharpness of the cheeses, and mellowed out some of the spicier meats like the chorizo.

Moving on to the main course, I ordered the Chicken Romano, as did my Mother, and my father ordered the Paella. Now, long time readers know my opinion of the dish, but I am glad my father ordered it.

In short, the Chicken Romano was divine, crispy, with a perfectly balanced picatta sauce. It was served with Green Beans Almondine, and a phenomenally smooth Mushroom Risotto. I took the opportunity to sample the Paella, and I honestly think my faith has been restored in the dish. The rice was perfect, as was the seafood, including scallops the size of Eisenhower dollars. In truth, I don't think I've ever had a meal that was better prepared.

Finally, we ended up at the final portion of the meal, and the one that my waistline might attest to as my favorite, desert. In this case, I decided to go with one of my favorites, the simple, yet complex Bread Pudding. It was served piping hot, on a pool of Creme Anglaise, drizzled with a caramel sauce. The delicate texture of the pudding was heightened but the interplay of the sauces for a decadent mouth feel. I would gladly walk there barefoot right at this moment for another piece.

In short, this is a phenomenal restaurant, and I hope they, and Chef Bereksazi are there for many years. Be sure to check them out, and give them my compliments. I'll hopefully see you soon there. (See the menu and address at http://www.barcelonariversedge.com/)

Until Next Time,
Andrew

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