Barchetta Awarded One Star by Pete Wells

When Dave Pasternack’s latest venture is good, it’s very, very good, but that is unfortunately not always enough

The seafood restaurant served The New York Times’ food critic two great meals, and one that missed the mark.

Cooking seafood is a delicate undertaking, and serving it to The New York Times’ restaurant critic is even more so. Pete Wells was impressed by the kitchen’s execution at Dave Pasternack’s newest establishment, Barchetta, two out of the three nights he visited, which turned out not to be enough to snag multiple stars from the writer.

Towards the beginning of his review, Wells admits how difficult cooking bluefish can be, calling the undertaking “formidable.” He was, however, very impressed with the dish he was served, and alluded to his trust in Pasternak’s treatment of seafood with his judgment, “of course it was immaculate.” He goes on to detail and praise other items he ordered on his first and second visit, such as monkfish liver with a side of roasted figs, a pairing he deemed “both obvious and inspired.” He also enjoyed the crudi, once again calling attention to the kitchen’s impeccable treatment of the ingredients, “Each fish was carved with a sushi chef’s sensitivity to fish anatomy.”

The restaurant critic then details the meal he experienced in which the kitchen was off, naming dishes like a grilled Spanish mackerel that “was too severely charred and the flesh had been heated a few degrees beyond the ideal.” It’s at this point in his review that Wells lets the reader know that he is certainly not judging Barchetta’s fare on a curved scale, but instead holding Pasternak and his staff to a higher-then-usual standard: “the dish wouldn’t have raised eyebrows in most other restaurants, but it lacked the finesse that [he] knew by then Barchetta is capable of.” A few more disappointments followed, but Wells is hopeful for the restaurant’s future, offering toward the end, “Barchetta could still turn out to be the seafood restaurant that downtown needs.”


Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.