Bar Bête might just be the best place for a dinner date in Carroll Gardens. Besides all the marble tables beneath large hanging globe lights and the oddly quiet sidewalk patio, this place just feels comforting - like getting an appropriate length hug from someone who also brought you a cocktail. The big open windows give the dining room a breeze, the staff is extremely attentive, and it lands in our personal top 10 restaurants where we wouldn’t mind getting snowed in.
But regardless of when you end up here, make sure to prioritize the appetizers and desserts on the ever-changing menu. While most of the entrees range from fine to “huh, well that was a choice,” it’s the small plates, like the chicken liver mousse and melon & ham, and sweets (definitely order the yellowcake) that make this such a good spot to come drink wine and ask someone intimate questions about their Spotify account.
Meredith Dairy Feta
Spread this soft, creamy feta all over the perfectly crunchy toast that comes with it, and know that you’ve made at least one great decision today. The pickled blueberries and tarragon don’t add a ton, but the mix of vinegar, berry juice, and feta that forms in the little bowl is perfect for dipping your crust into.
Chicken Liver Mousse
The stewed peach and pistachio butter play very nicely with super-rich mousse. This would be intense to order on your own, as it’s a whole bowl of mousse, but if you’re with a friend, lover, or maybe someone in between, it’s great for sharing.
Crispy Duck Fat Potatoes
Is it OK to admit that these potatoes are the best thing on the menu? Because they are - along with being crunchy, salty, and just fcking luxurious. Dip them in the garlic aioli and/or the little pool of parsley oil. Or don’t, they’re perfect just the way they are.
Melon & Ham
This beautiful discus of thinly sliced cantaloupe, honeydew, and prosciutto bathes in a mix of grassy olive oil, melon juice, and dashi. It’s sweet, salty, and a little spicy too - basically everything we’d ever want in a plate of both melon and ham.
Sometimes a crudo benefits from a random assortment of ingredients, but this is not one of those times. Little chunks of scallop and ground cherries are topped with sesame seeds and a sun gold tomato vinaigrette, which all comes together to just taste kind of jumbled and confusing. Order a second bowl of potatoes instead.
Wagyu Skirt Steak Brochette
This is essentially a Caprese steak with stracciatella, charred tomatoes, and salsa verde all showing up atop the wagyu. While we like all of these things, the numerous toppings prevent you from ever really tasting the quality of the beef and leave us wishing that the tomatoes and cheese rode shotgun on the side instead of sitting in the driver’s seat.
Bar Bête is a very adult restaurant, which is exactly why it’s fun to end any meal here with a thick slice of yellow cake topped with a tidal wave of dark chocolate frosting and plenty of sea salt. The cake is moist but firm, the frosting is intense in every way, and the salt helps balance out the sweetness of it all. But as a forewarning, this is really a four-person slice of cake - it gets richer by the bite - not a solo endeavor, so plan accordingly.