The Big Byram Build Out: Bar Taco is Coming
PHOTO CAPTION Mexico meets Mid Century – Bar Taco’s chic tiles
It’s a sultry October day and the sun is reflecting off the Byram, making Westchester’s answer to Newtown Creek look almost pretty. I’m standing in the rubble that was once Ebb Tide Seafood, talking to Sasa Mahr-Batuz, co-founder of Connecticut’s chic trio of Barcelona Wine Bars. He’s planning to reopen the space in December as Bar Taco.
“I’m not selling tacos” he says rather abruptly. He’s a small man, but fit and so crackling with energy that his Persol glasses flash. “I’m not selling tacos…I’m selling a lifestyle.”
He prowls the space as if it were Flushing Meadows—Mahr-Batuz was on the pro tennis circuit for six years—and uses expansive arm gestures like a fierce backhand. The large-format photographs planned for the space—of sea and sand, brown and tan limbscould have been taken on the beaches of Sicily or at the surf breaks of Costa Rica. Bar Taco’s menu will focus on globe-trotting small plates—sushi and tapas, and, predictably, tacos. “I want to capture the feeling of walking out of the water and eating the best fish taco that you’ve ever had. Clean flavors, bright herbs—but style-conscious. Always style-conscious.”
The middle of the large space is dominated by a square bar topped with thick, oiled boards. “On this, we’ll have three huge bowls for lemons, limes, and oranges. People will use a commercial citrus press to squeeze juices for their margaritas.” Customers will be so close that they’ll smell the oils released from bruised citrus skins. “That’s the best part,” says Mahr-Batuz, excitedly.
PHOTO CAPTION Looking across Bar Taco’s bar out to its Byram-side deck
The walls are paneled with reclaimed barn boards, laid horizontally and painted white near the ceiling, nautical blue near the floor. Bar Taco’s wall of graphic tiles are eloquent about the restaurant’s ambitions: hand-made in Mexico (but exported to the fabulous corners of the world), they’d be at home in any of David Hicks’s Mod London interiors. Mahr-Batuz has blown out Ebb Tide’s Byram-side wall and replaced it with what looks like a three-car garage glass door—this floods the space with light and keeps the Byram frontage prominent year round. (Bar Taco seats 120 inside, 120 outside on the deck.) The door’s mechanics will remain visible—as will this industrial space’s ducts, pipes, and lighting tracks. Ebb Tide’s sloping concrete floor will stay, though it will be gently polished.
PHOTO CAPTION The design’s large-format photos—copies tacked up for inspiration
Where’d you get the giant rattan light shades? “I just picked these baskets up at Lillian Vernon—we’re on a budget, you know—and strung them onto the light fixtures. They make a cool, interlaced pattern.” Most risky, Mahr-Batuz is leaving the building’s industrial water-pump system fully exposed, its giant valve wheels beckoning to any errant partier. What if someone spins those wheels? “So we get wet,” he challenges. “No big deal”
Bar Taco’s main attraction will be its Byram-side deck, which will benefit from a $35,000 sound system and paddle-shaped light fixtures that Mahr-Batuz designed himself. With Tarry Lodge, across the street, serving about 170 diners, and Bar Taco’s max 240, this little nook of post-industrial landscape is becoming a dining mecca. And we’re not even talking yet about what’s going on with Tarry Fine Foods and Wine….more soon.
Act now! Operators are Standing By!
Don’t pause, don’t think—get on the phone; these events are booking fast.
Juniper Sunday Supper
November 7, $40 per person
Call (914) 478-2542 to book
According to Chef/Owner Alex Sze, this recurring event (first Sunday of every month) is inspired by Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc. Says Sze, “It will be a Sunday supper; four courses but serve yourself, family-style—salad, first course; a pasta, second; a roast with a vegetable for the main; and dessert.”
Free Pizza at Frankie and Fanucci
They just installed their 8,500-pound wood-burning oven last week, and are setting up to take on Mamaroneck’s Sal’s pizza. According to owner Bard Nagy, “We are offering people free pizza! They can sign-up on our website and we will send an e-voucher when we open in Mamaroneck. We gave away 800 free pizzas when we opened in Hartsdale Village about 18 months ago. I’d like to give away 2,500 this time!” Brad, you had us a free.
Ocean House’s Harvest of the Hudson Valley Hoedown
Sunday, November 7
Two seatings, 5pm and 7:30pm
$50 per person (excluding tax and tip)
According to the invitation, “Come spend an evening in the country. This delicious and fun farm-to-table dinner always features the best, most beautiful local products we can find. Organic fruits and vegetables, locally produced cheeses and breads, and valley-raised fish and poultry. Brian has enjoyed creating exciting menus for this country-style dinner in the past and is looking forward to wowing you with his selections and preparations again this year.
We will have two seatings. Make your reservations early! We will accept reservations by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (914) 271-0702.”
Meet the Winemaker at Pour, Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron and Renaissance Vineyards
November 9, 7 pm
$60 per person
According to Pour’s Anthony Colasacco, “We’re proud to announce a very special evening with winemaker Gideon Beinstock from Clos Saron and Renaissance Vineyards. Clos Saron and Renaissance are everything Napa isn’t—no fake castle, grand Victorian, or modern digs with avant garde statuary and esoteric art. Gideon Beinstock, the winemaker, has a pedigree that includes years in Burgundy. This, of course, means that he is a purist and a great defender of the Old World style. Join us as Gideon guides us through a lineup of wines you won’t soon forget, including his very special Pinot Noirs from Clos Saron and his 1999 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Renaissance, as well as many other special Cuvees. These wines are very limited and, as a special treat, will be available for purchase through Wine Geeks in Armonk, our retail partner for this event.”
This event is limited so please make your reservations ASAP by contacting Anthony at (914) 864-0606 or via email to email@example.com
Chef-O-Rama in the Top Tier!
Both Crabtree’s Kittle House and Bedford Post have named new chefs. Soon we’ll be swinging in for First Tastes, but here are the teasers:
At Bedford Post, Chef Jeremy McMillan. “The Barn continues to offer the classic seasonal country fare for which it has become known, while the Farmhouse’s menu offers hearty Mediterranean-inflected American fare with an emphasis placed on high-quality, seasonal, local ingredients. Prior to working with Missy Robbins as the chef de cuisine at A Voce Columbus, McMillan worked as the sous chef of A Voce Madison. Chef McMillan also worked as chef de cuisine at Bedford Post under the former chef, Brian Lewis, from January 2008 to April 2009. Prior to moving to the East Coast, Chef McMillian worked at Redd in Napa Valley, but began his culinary career in Scottsdale, Arizona, working at Michael’s at The Citadel and then at Zinc Bistro as chef de cuisine.”
At the Kittle House, Executive Chef Benjamin Lambert. From the restaurant’s site: “We warmly welcome him into the Kittle House family. Chef Ben joins us after spending almost four years as the Executive Chef of Restaurant Nora in Washington, DC, where he executed the exceptional organic, natural, and sustainably driven cuisine that the restaurant is best known. Chef Ben’s resume includes many excellent NYC restaurants such as Le Cirque, Union Pacific, Picholine, 71 Clinton Fresh Food and Town. Last week, Chef Ben was named Rising Star Chef, Washington, DC, by the influential StarChefs organization, recognizing him for his outstanding cooking skills, techniques, style, and the very bright future that lay ahead for him. We are very excited to have Chef Ben bring his cooking talents and modern American style to Chappaqua and the Kittle House kitchen and look forward to a delicious and fun-filled future of truly outstanding local, natural, organic, and sustainable cooking.”
Duck, Duck, Love
is slinging a kick-butt duck salad, in which shreds of fatty duck breast are deep-fried until they’re like candy. You know that yummy, smoky crunchiness of crisp tea-smoked duck or well-fried bacon? Well, this sweetly glazed Donald has all that lusciousness in spades. Plus, for watery contrast, it offers green apple, mint, red onion, and chilies. Folks, we’re addicted—we’re heading back as soon as we can.