Winning second place in the Best New category in the 13th Annual Best Restaurants Awards is Charbar. It’s located in the historic Simmons Building and has a menu that is heavily influenced by the flavours of Argentina.
photograph by jared sych
Clockwise from top left: Picante dry-cured chorizo with pickles. Tableside ceviche mixto with tiger’s milk and cancha. Vegetable ceviche with cilantro, charred tomato and olive oil. Fried 7K Ranch longhorn beef empanadas with almond chimichurri.
The backbone of this new destination restaurant in the transformed historic Simmons Building in the burgeoning East Village is the wood-fired grill imported from Argentina. Massive porterhouse steaks, burgers, sturgeon and an unexpected selection of vegetables are licked by the flames from the hardwood coals before coming out of Charbar‘s kitchen. The latest venture from Charcut’s John Jackson and Connie DeSousa, along with executive chef Jessica Pelland, retains some of Charcut’s meat focus, but the menu is rounded out with an extensive, sustainable raw bar, inventive pizzas, and plenty of vegetarian options, including a lush pistachio and avocado bruschetta and fresh, crisp salads.
The grill isn’t the only import from South America. Charbar’s menu is heavily influenced by the flavours and dishes of Argentina, a country that, in turn, reflects a history of culinary weight from Italy and Spain. Ceviches play a prominent role in the menu, including Pelland’s creative and fresh vegetable version and a mixto assembled tableside. Meats can be served with three different chimichurri sauces created by Pelland, among them an untraditional, but not to be overlooked, white version.
Restaurants in the Best New Restaurants category opened by the end of summer 2015. It gave each restaurant time to find its groove and our judges time to eat there before the deadlines for our March issue. Other restaurants have opened since and they are on our radar for next year.