6:00pm Tuesday 6 March 2007
Prologue: I believe this place is not exactly spacious. Perhaps it is not as tiny as the first “B”, but nevertheless I do not suspect that is is large. Their spartan website certainly does not suggest a sprawling establishment. I also have the impression that the restaurant is very popular, so my strategy is to get in when they open so as to secure a spot at what I suspect is going to turn out to be a smallish bar-scape. Of course, we all know that size doesn’t (necessarily) matter, so I am going to sally forth and suss out what there is to be sussed at Bar Tartine. I’m also going to be trotting out the new Bars Bar The Book Business cards, so if you want one, you know where to find me. Oh, and Paladin thinks it’s a beer & wine only bar, so make of that what you will. After my own over-indulgence in vodka-redbulls at the Flambe Lounge party on Saturday night, I suppose could use a night off the hard stuff, so to speak.
Afterword: I was right — Bar Tartine is small. And they only serve wine (so Paladin was half-right). Furthermore, Bar Tartine is more of a restaurant with a bar in it at which you are encouraged to eat (sliverware, plates, and napkins are already set out) than a bar in the traditional sense where food also happens to be served. In fact, long and inviting white marble counter with barstools (and hooks!) notwithstanding, it is truly mystifying that Bar Tartine is listed in The Book under “Bars” at all yet not at all under “Restaurants”.
I can only conclude they are trying to keep the place somewhat under wraps. This would also explain the lack of their having any sign outside whatsoever. Let’s just say this: unless you are looking for Bar Tartine specifically, or unless you are wierdly attracted to flickering candlelight in a mothlike manner, I don’t think you are going to end up there.
Which is sort of too bad, really, becasue Bar Tartine is a very charming spot. The aforementioned candlelight is augmented by a pair of very decorative sconces behind the bar. While noticeably not necessarily thrilled that only half of us were going to be eating, our server was nonetheless pleasant enough and kept the non-dining Barflies plied with mini loaves of deliciously warm bread (presumeably the product of the bakery side of the Tartine operation which, if it is nearby, is a similarly incognito establishment). There are plenty of wines available by the glass — even a decent pink one — the menu looked interesting, and the dishes sampled by the (lucky!) Barflies on their way to the One Man Star Wars show were all apparently quite tasty. In short, if you are in the Mission and in the mood for some wine, a little romantic ambiance, and a bite (or more) to eat, Bar Tartine will do nicely, especially if it is early in the evening. They did seem to be filling up quickly as we were leaving, and indeed Chica Cherry told me she had been disappointed in a previous drop-in attempt.
Speaking of whom, Chica Cherry says she is having no troubles whatsoever seeing the latest RSS feeds from this blog with her Firefox browser subscription. And Miss Olive, who had never heard of RSS before I ranted and raved about it at Ace’s on “All 4 A’s in One Day Day”, says she followed the instructions provided on the “What the Hell is RSS?” page and encountered not a moment’s difficulty subscribing via Bloglines, where she has been reading all about the latest Bars By The Book developments ever since. So, if you are one of the people who I have heard rumors of who has been unsucessful in subscribing to the feed, please plan to come to “THE NEXT BAR!” so that I can explain it to you in person. Or e-mail me, and I will send you more detailed directions. Please. I’m asking nicely. Don’t make me beg.
One, unisex, candles in there, too. One corner dominated by a large floral arrangement, which, on the occasion of my visit, consisted of lovely lillies to which I am particularly allergic, but as I managed to avoid anaphylactic shock, perhaps someone had been thoughtful enough to remove the pollen from the petals. Bottom line: do it — you can get a better glimpse into the open kitchen from the door, and maybe one of the chefs will be cute.