The Best Bar Menus in America
April 9, 2012
Le Bernardin (New York City)
The legendary French restaurant recently opened a separate lounge serving specialties like tuna tartare, scallop ceviche, and a warm lobster sandwich. Proof that the hottest restaurant trend has reached the top of the food chain: It's possible to enjoy gourmet plates without the hassle of hustling for a reservation.
Café Boulud (New York City)
From the plush couches of the restaurant's lounge, Bar Pleiades, indulge in superior sweet and savory bar dishes, from brown-butter risotto and charred baby octopus to a chocolate-pear sundae and warm madeleines.
Volt (Frederick, Md.)
Forget the dining-room extravagances (a 21-course tasting menu?). The lounge has goat-cheese ravioli with Bartlett pears and sage, tuna-avocado tartare, and hanger steak with house-made chips.
Bryan Caswell's Reef is among Houston's best restaurants, but we recommend you head for the establishment's 3rd Bar, where the highlights are an exceptional view of the city skyline, a seafood plateau, snapper carpaccio, and a bacon-and-caramelized-onion pizza tarte flambé.
Although it's been a landmark of Pacific Northwest cuisine since the 1950s, Canlis added edgy fare to its menu three years back, thanks to new chef Jason Franey. In the walk-in lounge, snack on hamachi sashimi with yuzu and apple, boutique-beef Reuben sliders, and smoked-potato soup with black-truffle oil alongside the restaurant's signature vermouth-garlic prawns.
Pok Pok (Portland, Ore.)
Lines outside Andy Ricker's Thai sensation often stretch for a full block. Go down the street to Whiskey Soda Lounge, the restaurant's annex bar, for Ricker's famous fish-sauce wings and spicy-and-sour-cured riblets, plus a late-night menu of the most authentic phat thai outside Chiang Mai.
Quince (San Francisco)
Michael Tusk, a James Beard Award winner, serves Italian food that's so high-end it's almost French. At the bar, graze on fluke carpaccio, beef tartare, and house-made spaghetti with hot pepper and octopus.
Hatfield's (Los Angeles)
An old restaurant reborn in a hot new Hollywood location, Hatfield's has been a huge hit with critics. At the walk-in bar, savor the sous-vide chicken nuggets, pork-belly skewers, and deviled eggs with smoked trout.
Red Medicine (Los Angeles)
This Beverly Hills hot spot's wildly imaginative Vietnamese food makes reservations tough to snag. Head to the bar and feast on Dungeness-crab spring rolls, Vietnamese-style steak tartare, and perfect banh mi.