One of the most pleasant, most satisfying dining experiences of the summer? Unexpectedly, my meal last night at BarFry, the spanking-new, Asian-influenced spot in the West Village devoted to all things battered and fried, deep or otherwise. Seriously. The room is good-looking, lively and comfortable. The staff is young, attractive, hip, and warm and friendly and totally professional. Most important, the food showed thought, creativity, and care from the kitchen, and ranged overall from pretty good to nearly excellent.
I jumped around the menu a bit—the emphasis here is on small salad-y plates, hefty po' boys, and a la carte tempura'd everything, from veggies to meats to fishes—and came up mostly winners. Take my Shrimp Po' Boy, an eight-inch roll overflowing with crispy crustaceans, spicy cole slaw and topped with a delicious yuzu-infused paste. This was juicy, explosive, fresh, a meal in itself. Totally hit the spot.
I wasted my "Bar Side" pick on some pointless Wasabi and Olive Oil Pickles, but my Tempura selections were mostly dead-on delicious, especially the two veggies—Pumpkin and String Beans—and an amazing Skookum Oyster, which was huge and briney and cooked just long enough to hold itself together, without losing that deep oceanic ooze. The uninspired chicken-fried Hanger Steak was the least successful selection here, but even that was enjoyable enough when slathered with my quartet of dipping sauces, including Jalapeno Soy and Wasabi Remoulade.
BarFry is located on Carmine Street between Bleecker and Bedford. I went early—around 6:00—and so, of course, easily scored a table, but the place seems to have crowd-pleaser written all over it. As of last night they did not have a liquor license, though there's plenty of booze on the menu, just waiting to be unleashed.