Barrel Wine Cantine Opens Today In Midtown
|Ready for some homemade foie gras terrine?|
Former gold-leaf-accented doors have been turned horizontal and transformed into glass-top tables. Wine bottles have been stocked into the wooden racks that line the walls (Old World on one side, New World on the other). And chef Passalacqua has been in the kitchen preparing the pâtes and terrines and prepping for the braised short ribs, chicken fricassé and other homecooked dishes that will be on the menu on opening day -- meaning today, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (the same hours are in effect every day except Sundays).
"It's not a restaurant," Victor explains while unmolding a foie gras terrine. "It's a neighborhood place, somewhere to come in, get a bottle of wine with some cheese or charcuterie, empanadas, or, if you want something more substantial you can get that too. It's about wine, food, and friends."
|"It's just foie gras, cognac, salt and pepper. Easy, right? Now make it."|
"Don't get me wrong," starts Victor. "His terrine is great. I mean...Philippe Ruiz." His facial expression and outstretched palms make clear nothing else need be said about how good his friend's terrine is. "But he uses Armagnac in his. I use Cognac, which is milder. I like to taste the foie gras." He gives a sly smile, knowing well that he is egging Ruiz on. I let Victor know that the next time I speak with Philippe, I am going to elicit his take on the matter. He laughs, as if imagining the response.
|Most bottles run $11 to $50.|
He is confident that the public will understand what he is trying to do at Barrel. "I remember when the finest restaurants in Miami were mediocre at best. You would find bottles of Martini & Rossi on the table. Now people know their stuff and appreciate good food."
And they likewise appreciate tasty wine: "My main goal was to look for the rare stuff, the good stuff. Some of it is expensive (top label is $2,000), but 80 percent of the bottles will be around $11 to $50." The markups are "around 30 percent." Corkage fee, if you'd rather bring your own, is $10. There are plans to hold wine tastings and cheese tastings every week. As already mentioned, Barrel is not a restaurant, but Passalacqua does concede that it is "a wine store with a restaurant in it." An eclectic selection of about 15 craft and micro-brews are on hand too. "No commercial beers." Price will be around $4 to $8.
About the restaurant: A deli case will hold cold cuts such as garlic saucisson, Rosette de Lyon, and prosciutto, as well as a range of imported cheeses; dips (hummus; spinach-cheeses); homemade country-style pâte, duck pâte, and the aforementioned foie gras terrine. Other items include quiches, empanadas (goat cheese with tomato and Niçoice olive; beef with egg and tomato; minced, smoky ham); various salads (spinach with pear and gorgonzola; cucumber-dill; curried chicken; potato, apple, and raisin); tapas and small plates including tortilla española, smoked duck bruschetta, escargot, and fried garbanzos with chorizo.
|Passalacqua with Jo Jo, his longtime menu presenter now at Barrel.|
Barrel Wine Cantine
3622 NE Second Ave., Miami
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