Friday, May 7, 2010

Window Seat on the River: Bacaro's

Yes! BACARO (262 South Water St, Providence 401-751-3700) is a two-story restaurant housed in a renovated brick industrial building along the river - on foot, steps down from South Main. The first floor is high-ceilinged and bright, has a long bar and a display case for the cheeses and cured meats being served. Upstairs is a little more atmospheric, lots of windows and the kitchen on view. Personally, I'm partial to a first-floor table by the window where I get a catbird's view of the comings and goings.  Bacaro bills itself as a restaurant, wine bar and salumeria. I'm not the best wine judge but the wine-by-the-glass suggestions have been good. The salumeria - cured meats, cheeses and pates - combine with the cicchetteria - Italian tapas - for a long menu of small items. Check off what you want and, one after another, plates arrive. Call that Menu One. Two is a conventional dinner menu and it's been my choice for the last two visits. Starting off with the wild boar salami and burrata cheese is a good plan. Trying to decide among the pasta, fish and meat choices involves a little angst for me. I don't actually love halibut but served here on green lentils with preserved lemon, grilled cauliflower and greens, I'm liking it a lot. Pan-seared duck breast on red-wine risotto with lots of taleggio is another good choice. And, Bacaro's idea of pasta is my idea of pasta. Quality of cheese matters. Their version of carbonara (not on the menu this week but made on request) is soul satisfying.
Your waiter will likely tell you that desserts should be ordered at the start. This is definitely true if you want the Honey Tangerine Butter Cake with Sweet Meringue. And you should want it. It's fresh from the oven, and, in my not-so-humble opinion, terrific. What I don't understand is why Bacaro isn't packed every night. Expensive, yes. But you pay almost as much for faux french at Pot au Feu, aaaargh.

There was a gondola on the water the other night; Buddy Cianci holding the pole?

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