http://www.barbuca.com/ 416.599.2822 open daily 7 days a week
I can’t believe this place slipped by me but it did. 7 months ago the owners of Buca decided to open a small, high ceiling concrete utilitarian box that pushes out great cocktails and small bites to amuse. I’m guessing that’s why they kept the décor to a minimum, to create a transient spot to grab a bite before or after the show (or dinner). Love the open kitchen concept and knowledgeable servers, however the menu is hit or miss.
If one love beets and is into trying something new, may I suggest starting with the Barbabuca – 2oz beet infused vodka, carpano classic, apricot, raspberry, lemon, olive oil – takes a couple of sips to figure it out, but it just feels good drinking it. Bruschetta is a tad salty, the creamy duck yolk and truffle doesn’t help the vinegary pickled beech mushrooms. Panino bagnato is surprisingly unimpressive and super spicy (lampredotto, salsa verde, pepperoncini).
Every element in the sardella calabrese is balanced: crumbling crostino is held together by buttery burrata whirling into the complex fermented flavour of the smelts – bravo! Bianchetti are delicate young smelts lightly fried and seasoned with fennel to give the featherweight fish complex flavour and texture. Testa (crispy fried pigs head) with chili and marcona almond knocks it out of the park – the head is the best part, and the kitchen prepares the protein so perfectly it’s almost a shame to slather it in sauce. Right?