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Over the years, Bar Tartine has zigged back and forth between classic California cuisine and more experimental fare, and under Nick Balla it has tacked back into exciting waters. Balla is exploring his Hungarian roots, incorporating California vegetables and Japanese flavors (he was last chef of Nombe Izakaya), and his menu is rife with sauerkraut, paprika, and, above all, sour cream. But this is no Mitteleuropean pork fest. While the fried potato bread known as langos and the chocolate-hazelnut dobos torte are easy hits, Balla's dramatic, complex palate shows through in cool cherry soups flavored with fennel and black pepper, buckwheat-inflected bread tiled over with thick slices of housemade bottarga, and blood sausage with duck-stuffed cabbage roll.