July 29, 2014
Upscale restaurant entrepreneur Drew Nieporent has operated Montrachet, Corton and now Bâtard in the same space on lower West Broadway for many years. Opened two months ago, Bâtard has been receiving very good early reviews so we were anticipating a fine meal when Blair and Karyn joined Linda and me there for dinner on July 22, 2014.
We ordered a bottle of a bottle of Pierre Moncuit blanc de blanc NV Champagne. This was eventually followed by bottles of 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet by Michel Neillon and 2009 Savigny-les-Beaune by Jean-Baptiste Le Breuit. All were very good.
There are about eight courses offered in each of appetizers, mains and desserts. For $75 one can choose two appetizers, one main and one dessert. The four of us ordered various dishes, but I only took photos of mine and am reporting just on them.
My first course was
green asparagus, zucchini blossom, citrus rind
In the upper right is lobster tempura, still hot, crisp and good. The zucchini and the quail egg were somewhat bland, but the girolles tasted as if they had been pickled.
braised ham hock, pommery mustard, new potatoes
The mosaic of octopus was good. The ham went well with it. The old-style grainy mustard and the pickled caper berry were quite acidic.
“tramezzini,” sugar snap peas, sweetbreads, sauce diable
This dish had been highly recommended in the reviews, but I did not see the point. The pastry wrapping was soggy. The crisp sweetbread was good and added needed texture, but there was only one piece.
Except for the dessert, I felt disappointed by my meal. The combinations did not seem inspired. There was a vinegary undertone to my first three dishes, which may reflect the Germanic chef, Markus Glocker, although exaggerated spicing is an ever increasing American phenomenon. It was not overt, but eventually my mouth felt puckered and it was hard to appreciate our very good wine. The ambience at Bâtard has seriously declined since Corton. Lower prices and a promotional buzz have attracted a raucous clientèle. The abandonment of table cloths sends a signal that lowers decorum. The conversational noise level was deafening and there was no feeling of elegance.