Wednesday, April 9, 2014

B & Co.: Why We Give Their Southern Mediterranean Fare An “A”!

By: Anne M. Raso

The romantic, dimly lit, yet Euro club feel of B & Co is something you do not easily forget. The food is top-notch Mediterranean which a heavy emphasis on Southern Italian and not only is the quality high--produce is from local farms)--but the portions are generous. The kitchen staff is not afraid to experiment, either. Fresh pasta is made every morning on the premises and the #1 favorite amongst regular customers is the Japanese Sea Urchin Spaghetti dish, served simply with olive oil with a wee bit of garlic and parsley added ($32).

B & Co. Interior 

OK, I admit that I personally did not try the Sea Urchin because sometimes I am simply not adventurous enough, LOL! But I fell in love with the more standard fare I tried. I shared an appetizer with my dining partner, Gail—the wonderfully fresh Burrata Pugliese ($24). It’s a huge six ounce piece of the softest homemade Burrata cheese over eight half slices of freshly picked, locally farmed beefsteak tomatoes, drizzled with extra virgin olive oils and sprinkled with shredded pieces of fresh basil. This is the perfect way to start any Southern Mediterranean dinner in my opinion and not surprisingly, it’s a big crowd pleaser on the B & Co. menu!
Burrata Pugliese
Next up, we shared the Red & Yellow Beet Salad ($16), served with Brin S’Amour cheese and extra virgin olive oil. The beets were sweet and tender, and I would recommend this item for the health-conscious. I calculated the whole thing as being only four Weight Watchers points. It’s light and super-satisfying, which is the most important thing.
Red and Yellow Beet Salad
We then enjoyed Risotto Invernale ($40), a Northern Italian dish that is great for vegetarians. (I am not a veggie but I adored this creamy dish!) Again, this was a hearty portion (probably a couple of cups) and the risotto featured chunks of butternut squash, porcini mushroom and black truffle—and the creamy but light sauce contained truffle oil. There is a little bit of a nutty taste in the risotto itself, which I enjoyed.
Next up was the grassfed New York Strip known as Tagliata ($39), which features golden fingerling potatoes, fresh rosemary branches and a wonderful smoked apple wood calvados sauce (just for the record, this dish is usually prepared with bone-in filet mignon, but it was not available the night I dined at B & Co). The Calvados sauce features a touch of heavy cream and the natural juice of the meat—it’s pretty darn heavenly. I was truly impressed with the quality and size of my steak—again, this dish is perfect for sharing. We ordered a side of super-tender Broccoli Rabe ($9) to go with our meat, which was tender and freshly picked. It was sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and a tiny bit of garlic. Friendly and knowledgeable proprietor Max Burgio told me that they try to have a light touch when cooking with garlic at his restaurant since that is the way their both the kitchen staff and customers seem to prefer their food. My dining partner and I finished up with the Imperial Cannolo ($12), a personal pick from the rolling dessert cart by Burgio, who was always on hand to answer any questions we had about his classy eatery. He personally found the 200-year-old wooden dessert cart in France on a holiday and had it shipped back to New York. It’s stunningly elegant and looks like something a king or queen might have wheeled by them every night after a meal at their 30-foot dining table. The desserts on the cart change every night, and the cheesecake is another popular pick. I was amazed to find out all these sweet creations are made fresh daily on the B & Co. premises. All desserts are priced at $12, but you get a generous portion that two diners can share. I loved the canollo because the cream inside was light and airy—not heavy like most of the cannoli filling made in the US. This cream is in the true Southern Italian style and the pastry is light and flaky, not hard and crunchy like a typical American cannoli shell.
Imperial Cannolo
Would I return to the 85-seat B & Co.? You bet I would! It’s pricey but the “farm to table” quality is there. The chef is not afraid to be experimental (as mentioned before) and yet he keeps the integrity of centuries old Southern Mediterranean dishes. They have a very central location (you can throw a rock at The Plaza, Bergdorf’s or FAO Schwarz from there), so I predict a big success for this six-month-old place. Be sure to bring your “A game” appetite because these are definitely not “starving model” portions!

B & Co.
18 East 58th Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 838-3200
Cuisine: Mediterranean / Italian

B & Co. NY on Urbanspoon

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