Oakdale, New York, United States
Reviews in 16 cities
10 helpful votes
“A Gem on Long Island”
Reviewed March 26, 2012
Barrique is one of the finest wine bars and tapas style restaurants on Long Island. They have a top notch selection of wines and cheeses along with a variety of menu items worthy of sharing. The ambiance is fantastic, the use of original woods in the building as well as the brick works perfectly to create a classic yet modern look. They also have a very lovely outdoor area to sit where you can people watch the locals coming and going. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable of the wine they serve. The only issue with this place is…its LOUD. If you plan on going on a Friday or Saturday evening be prepared to have to yell across the table to have a conversation.
Over the last decade, Babylon Village has been developing a reputation as a foodie destination, and the arrival of upscale wine bar Barrique has added to the downtown’s culinary cache.
This week, as part of Patch’s ongoing series profiling local chefs, Patch stopped in to the kitchen at Barrique to check out what goes on behind the scenes at the flourishing restaurant.
The small but efficient kitchen was relatively quiet on a recent Sunday, as Barrique Executive Chef Pierre Rougey and cook Andrew Napoleon fired off aromatic lunch-time orders of chorizo pizzas and seared scallops.
Chef: Pierre Rougey, French-trained executive chef of Barrique Kitchen and Wine Bar and chef-partner of Barrique’s predecessor, Emerson’s restaurant.
Culinary Experience: After spending decades cooking in France, where Rougey also attended culinary school, he moved to New York where he became executive chef at the prestigious bistro Raoul’s on Prince Street. Chef Rougey also taught at the French Culinary Institute and worked at Upper East Side mainstay Park Avenue Cafe.
Rougey and his partners opened Emerson’s, a small French and American restaurant, in 2006, which received good reviews and had a loyal clientele, but ultimately fell victim to the economic crash and closed in 2009. Gregory Bartolotta, co-owner of Argyle Grill across the street, developed the restaurant concept and took over the location to open Barrique. Rougey was kept on as chef, along with some of his signature dishes from Emerson’s, including a popular long-cooked braised short rib dish.
“I’m known for my short ribs,” Rougey laughs. “That’s what everyone asks me about. It’s become my signature dish.”
Best aspect about the job: Rougey considers the wine bar one of the most exciting local spots to work at because of the level of sophistication of the cuisine. “Cooking here is the most like being in the city.”
Worst part of the Job: “When it’s a holiday, it’s a holiday for the diner, not for us!” Rougey rues the long hours and grueling lifestyle of a chef. Relationships with partners and family members can suffer from the demands of working in restaurants. ”It’s not 8 to 4!”
Cooking on Long Island vs. Manhattan: “You have to be professional in what you do. It’s about establishing trust between the diner and the chef. If you make [the diner] comfortable with good, simple food you can push the diners [to try more cutting-edge or unfamiliar food].” Referring to the restaurant renaissance in Babylon, Rougey says “there’s definitely been an education of the palette over the last 10 years.”
Advice for aspiring chefs: “You have to know what you’re getting into. Cooking is a craft, not an art. You have to practice it every day. You need to be committed to deal with the lifestyle and have a passion for food and cooking.” If you have that passion, Rougey offers some simple advice: “go for it.”
His choice for a last meal:“Merguez with couscous and ratatouille” Rougey answers with little hesitation. A house-made version of the spicy French lamb sausage is, perhaps not so coincidentally, on the menu at Barrique, along with other French-inspired small plates that Rougey continues to fine-tune and perfect. “We’ve established the menu and the concept,” Rougey explains as he darts from stove to prep counter, “but now we are playing with them, perfecting them.”
BARRIQUE Kitchen and Wine Bar, which opened in Babylon Village in September, is a wine lover’s dream. Fifty of the 150 wines on the list are available as half-bottles; 30 are sold by the glass in either three-ounce or six-ounce pours. And the restaurant will open any bottle on the list and sell it by the glass to a customer who commits to buying two glasses.
Roasted baby octopus is served in a cast-iron frying pan.
Barrique takes its name from a type of barrel used in winemaking; bottles, barrels and wooden wine crates make up much of the décor. A beamed ceiling and lots of brick give the place a cozy, rustic ambience. Tables are bare wood; napkins look like French dish towels.
Barrique is owned by the Babylon Restaurant Group, which also runs the Argyle Grill and Tavern, a lively 10-year-old spot across the street. Barrique is just as lively and noisy, but it has something its older sibling lacks: the cooking of Pierre Rougey.
Mr. Rougey, the executive chef, had been the chef and co-owner of Emerson’s, the cafe that occupied these premises before Barrique. His menu is designed for sampling; every table is set with stacks of plates for sharing.
The cheese platter is an appropriate opener at this wine-centered place. Diners can pick two, three or four from a list of nine cheeses (mostly old favorites like Brie and fontina). Their choices arrive on a wooden board with slices of French bread and small bowls of toasted almonds, dried apricots and honey.
Thin-crust pizza is another dish made for sharing. The margherita, which included roasted garlic, was cracker-thin and very tasty. The crust, however, was a tad limp.
Eggplant caponata, listed with the side dishes, also made a fine starter. Though oddly served hot, it was a flavor-packed, generous portion, served with a plate of toasts.
We also tried two inventive salads: arugula and goat cheese with pickled fennel and a beet vinaigrette, and field greens with feta and basil in a white balsamic vinaigrette, all ringed with cubes of watermelon. I would have enjoyed them even more if the servers had brought bread to the table.
Each of the small plates on the menu, all under $15, can serve as either an opener or an entree. Lighter choices included delicious roasted baby octopus with braised romaine, olive oil and red chili, and a pair of meaty crab cakes atop a black bean salsa, drizzled with a snappy chili aioli.
Among the heftier small plates was the tasty, tender, prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with wilted spinach and a mustard sauce. A striped-bass special ($16) was another winner: a pan-seared fillet atop jasmine rice and sautéed leeks, in a lush white wine sauce.
Lamb chops were three good-size ones with parsley crusts, served with a rosemary sauce and accompanied by sautéed spinach and crispy onions. Other hits were tender short ribs in a red wine sauce, seared scallops atop julienned sweet peppers, and a prime, marinated and sliced flatiron steak with braised radicchio and a creamy horseradish sauce. Good side orders include polenta fries and French fries, which were tasty though limp.
The staff couldn’t be nicer, but the runners deliver the dishes as they are cooked, so some diners are left waiting while others at the table get their food. Sharing helps alleviate such problems.
Desserts, like everything else on the menu, are small ($3.50 each) and presented in scaled-down parfait glasses. Our favorite, called apple pie, was crustless, consisting of house-made caramel sauce, sautéed apples, crème anglaise and whipped cream. The Key lime contained graham cracker crumbs, lime mousse and whipped cream, while cheesecake translated to sliced strawberries, a port wine sauce, almond cake, cream cheese and whipped cream.
The sweets were a nice ending to a meal full of conviviality and good food. Barrique offers plenty of both.
Barrique Kitchen and Wine Bar
69 Deer Park Avenue
THE SPACE Small, cozy, rustic wine bar and restaurant. Wheelchair accessible.
THE CROWD Young, fun-loving, loud. Few children. The young, casual, amiable staff fits right in.
THE BAR More than half the space, with seating at a long bar and at a shelf that encircles the area. Wine list of 150 bottles (full bottles $21 to $98, halves $18 to $90); 30 wines by the six-ounce glass, $8 to $21, or by the three-ounce pour, mostly $4 to $6.
THE BILL Prices are reasonable. Entrees range from $9 (chicken sandwich) to $15 (flatiron steak); pizzas are $12 to $13. American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted.
WHAT WE LIKED Cheese plate, arugula salad, watermelon salad, eggplant caponata, polenta fries, roasted baby octopus, seared scallops, striped bass, lamb chops, flatiron steak, braised short ribs, pork loin, crab cakes, Key lime dessert, apple pie, cheesecake.
IF YOU GO Open Monday to Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 3 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m. No reservations. Go early or be prepared to wait. RATINGS Don’t Miss, Worth It, In a Pinch, Don’t Bother.
By BY IAN J. STARK. Special to Newsday
Publication: Newsday (New York)
Date: Thursday, November 5 2009
A little treat goes a long way, especially in a gloomy economy. For a different kind of night out, try enjoying a cocktail while relaxing in a lovely lounge. Whether you’re on a first date, looking to entertain a client or simply spend some quality time with your spouse, here are some of Long Island’s more memorable places to meet for a drink.
Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar
69 Deer Park Ave., Babylon
INFO 631-321-1175, barrique kitchenandwinebar.com
WHY From the brick alleyway entrance to the warm, woodsy decor, the atmosphere inside this new Babylon wine bar is remarkably European. Amid a pleasant patter of conversation, patrons can select from an extensive wine list – almost 150 varieties. Servings come in 3-ounce tastings (about $5) or full 6-ounce glass (most $8 or less).
Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar
Photo credit: Michael E. Ach | Kevin Natoli serves a tray of desserts at Barrique Kitchen and Wine Bar in Babylon. (Oct. 30, 2009)
Clearly, Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar has the “it” factor. Tables are hard to come by, the bar is often packed three deep. A friend observes that everyone in the restaurant is smiling.
Surroundings amp up the festive feel. In a makeover coup, the former Emerson’s space has been expanded and redone using rustic brick, timbers, even a communal table made from an old barn door. Chef Pierre Rouget (who owned Emerson’s) turns out gently priced small plates meant for sharing; figure on about two a person. A thoughtfully conceived wine list features 30 selections by the 3- or 6-ounce glass.
REASON TO SMILE
I ask our knowledgeable, young server to recommend a bottle of a big, fruity red, and he suggests an inexpensive Primitivo. Ideal. Another night, we’re offered tastes before settling on choices by the glass.
A cracker-thin crust Margherita pizza is capped with an exceptionally creamy mozzarella-marinara-basil confluence. Tender hyper-flavorful roasted baby octopus is spiked with red chili; prosciutto-wrapped pork loin gets a jolt from a Pommerey demiglaze.
It’s hard to resist a home-style veal meatball slider or zesty grill-pressed tazzo ham sandwich with fennel, Brie and grainy mustard. Lamb chops are tender and peppery, sea scallops perfectly seared. Rich braised short ribs with creamy mashed potatoes are followed by a sprightly watermelon salad. Go the right night, and you might catch a special such as crab cake over black-bean salsa.
I’m taken with the hand-cut fries poking out of a metal measuring cup; even better are polenta fries paired with a subtly spiced red pepper salsa.
Layered desserts (cake, filling, fruit, freshly whipped cream) are presented in clear glasses; choose among such flavors as Key lime, chocolate, apple pie and a superb strawberry-laced “cheesecake.”
This is what eating should be: indulgence without excess.
REASON TO QUIBBLE
Vegetables plated with meat dishes can be swamped by whatever sauce is in the dish.
Then, there’s the noise level and no-reservations policy.
Although it’s only been open a week, Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar in Babylon is apparently going gangbusters. I stopped by last night and found the handsome place packed to overflowing. There was a minimum of an hour’s wait for a table, so I decided to return another time.
Barrique (under the same ownership as Argyle Grill, across the street) not only occupies the former Emerson’s space but has Emerson’s chef-owner Pierre Rouget in the kitchen. Rouget’s tasting menu of small plates and “share items” includes thin-crust pizzas, grill-pressed sandwiches, salads and such items as braised short ribs and roasted baby octopus. Nothing costs more than $15. The wine list features 150 bottles, all under $100 and many under $20. Choose from among 30 wines by the glass; co-owner Greg Bartolotta said that the restaurant will pour from any bottle in the house so long as a two-glass purchase is guaranteed.
Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar is at 69 Deer Park Ave., Babylon, 631-321-1175. The restaurant accepts major credit cards and is wheelchair accessible. Hours are Sunday to Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight; happy hour is Friday from 3 to 7 p.m.
In this week’s Newsday, Joan Reminick awarded a rare 3 stars to Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar in Babylon. “Chef Pierre Rouget (who owned Emerson’s) turns out gently priced small plates meant for sharing” and a “thoughtfully conceived wine list featuring 30 selections by the 3- or 6-ounce glass.”
Long Beach’s Atlantica on the Ocean didn’t fare so well; Peter Gianotti gave it 1 star, writing that “chef Todd Jacobs’ early-on food, which, while occasionally good, is about what you’d expect at a very showy catered affair.”
Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar in Babylon. (Newsday photo / Uli Seit)
Barrique is all about enjoying life with good wine & good friends. Barrique is derived from the old world, French, Italian & Spanish dialects meaning a small oak barrel used in making fine wines. Reminiscent of a century old wine cellar, Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar, offers global foods, wines & spirits in a lively & welcoming atmosphere with attentive personal service, while letting you, our guest, set the pace.
The Food – Our small plate approach has an emphasis on sharing. Working well for groups of any size, ensuring a tempting and upbeat experience.
We offer fabulous rustic food, artisanal cheeses, cured meats, thin crust pizza, pan pressed sandwiches, mini desserts & much more.
The Wine – Our wine program is quite simply an expression of the wines we love, with respect to their true representation of style and grape varietal. We offer over 150 carefully selected wines. Our list has a strong slant on American wines, although we have many global choices. Offering well priced vino, you will not find a wine over $100, with most under $30. There are almost 50 half bottles and 30 wines by the glass to choose from. Plus our entire wine list is available by the glass – a two glass minimum is required.
The Service – Each and every staff member has a food and wine background. We are passionate about the culinary industry and are proud of our high standards and skills.
Wine Tasting – Wine flights and wine by-the-glass are always available in the restaurant and wine bar.
Full Bar – In addition to the extensive wine list, Barrique features a “full bar” stocked with premium quality brand name liquor.