It didn’t take me long after hearing about BarBacon to head over to Ninth Avenue between 55th & 54th Streets to investigate. And, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed. Yes, there was an NFL playoff game going on, but this isn’t a sports bar…it’s a bacon bar, right? Wrong. It’s a sports bar, just like any other sports bar, except they offer bacon flights.
OK, that’s a pretty awesome exception. They also have a respectable bourbon selection and some good beers, but who doesn’t these days?
The NFL crowd sucked much of the fun out of my first visit. It’s hard to enjoy food when people are standing around your table screaming at televisions. It made me want to put a baseball cap on backwards and high-five everyone, like your exceedingly average white American male lemming.
But I wanted to give this place a fair shake, given that it is supposed to be baconcentric. So I gave it some time and decided to meet a friend there for lunch one day. Which would have been great, except they don’t open until 3:00 PM. Which would have been fine, if they had a Web site that listed their hours instead of a static placeholder that says little more than “Coming Soon” (in fairness, they have since launched an actual Web site, though it still doesn’t include their hours…idiots).
I tried again, one last time, heading over after a visit to MoMA. The place was deserted because, well, who eats at 3:00 PM? Which got me thinking, why not just wait until 5:00 PM like Sigmund’s? Anyway, I ordered the same thing I had on my initial visit, minus the screaming men-children.
The flight of bacon was great. You get two slices of four different varieties, and they rotate them regularly. My only suggestion would be to serve them in stages. That might be a pain from the restaurant’s perspective, but eating cold bacon is even more of a pain. And to enjoy each variety, you really need to pace yourself and savor the individual flavors. Frankly, at $12 for the tasting, which amounts to $1.50 per slice, I expected a better experience.
But this is indicative of the fundamental problem with BarBacon. Had this place truly been dedicated to the art of bacon, they would have given things like how to properly serve a flight of bacon far more thought than they have. But, alas, it’s really more of a bacon gimmick than a bacon celebration.
On both visits, the best thing I had was the tater tots. They were cooked to perfection and not burdened with the off-flavors of a shared fryer. And they were served in a paper-lined cup so they don’t get cold like the bacon.
Because I love bacon, and because I really want this place to be bactastic, I’ll probably give it one last shot. But when am going to be all the way over there after 3:00 PM? And what kind of idiots are in Midtown and not opened for lunch? The same kind of idiots that take a fantastic idea and crush it into mediocrity: BarBacon.