Monday, March 16, 2015

Bacari PDR (Playa Del Rey, CA)

by guest blogger @btsunoda

I was delighted to see Bacari PDR take the place of what used to be Bistro Du Soleil in Playa del Rey. Even prior their occupancy, the location was pretty much known for its casual Sunday brunches. Bacari PDR was started by the team of Bobby Kronfli, Daniel Kronfli and executive chef Lior Hillel. The Kronfli brothers and Hillel also collaborated on Bacaro LA as well as Nature’s Brew. Both are located on Union Avenue near the University of Southern California. DSCF4775
 After occupying their Playa del Rey location, they decided to gut out the interior and add a rich dark wood look. The effective use of windows gave the interior a lot of natural light which gave the restaurant a classy casual feel. Actual wine bottles from their customers line the top of the ceiling of the restaurant.
Executive chef Lior Hillel, who also crafted the Bacaro L.A. menu, brings to Bacari PDR his takes on Mediterranean-inspired cicchetti, or small plates. After I had a chance to speak with him, I discovered that he takes feedback quite seriously and he blends his vision with the tastes of his local clientele. After seeing the small size of the kitchen, I was truly amazed to see the number of items on their menu. Our group had quite a bit to taste that evening:

The rainbow beet salad was full of color: red and yellow beets mixed with chevre goat cheese and freshly chopped tarragon with a roasted black peppercorn vinegar salad dressing. This was both tangy and sweet.
Crab crostini consisted of crab claw meat and charred poblano peppers with Chef Hillel’s dressing.
The crostini had plenty of fresh crab meat mixed in a creamy pepper dressing.
The tomatillo salsa was bold and stood up well to the chorizo on their handcrafted pizza.
Their use of a high quality chorizo kept the crust crisp. An optional fried egg can be added to the top of the pizza. The osso buco was slow braised and extremely tender. Cracked wheat, lemon juice, pureed gremolata and zucchini surrounded the pork shank.

The Bacaro Burger is an open face burger made with the square pain de mie bread.
Like brioche, pain de mie is slightly sweet and the combination of caramelized onions with worcestershire aioli and beef was quite tasty. Oven roasted bone marrow with caper panko, sea salt, black pepper and served with a fresh baguette. The bone marrow was expertly seasoned and an excellent spread for the soft baguette.

Pork belly skewers were served in small rectangular pieces on a toothpick.
The umami reduction was both salty and sweet. I only wish I had some Japanese white rice to go with this dish!

"Bowl of clams” consisted of Littleneck clams surrounded by a delicious sauce of fresh tomatoes, ouzo, sweet plugra, lemon and white wine. Minced jalapenos added some heat to the sauce.
Pan seared polenta (with roasted market eggplant salad)
The seared polenta was golden and crispy on the outside with a buttery smooth consistency on the inside. The eggplant salad topping paired nicely with the polenta.

 Bacari PDR has a full array of custom craft cocktails. Talented mixologist, Adam Sandroni (Townhouse, The Virgil) is the brains behind their craft cocktail menu. One of my favorite drinks that evening was the Ensenada Sunset. It consists of Bianco tequila, St. Germain, fresh grapefruit juice and lime. Sipping on this cocktail made me think of my summer vacations. Some of the others that were with me preferred the Black Manhattan. This was comprised of rye whiskey, amaro, angostura and an orange twist. Omitting the sweet vermouth removed the normal amount of sweetness in a normal Manhattan.
The Brazilian cobbler consists of Brazilian aged rum, blackberries, raspberries, lime, orange, demerara (brown unrefined sugar) and nutmeg. In addition to their craft cocktails, they also feature wines from boutique wineries and selected craft beers. On Mondays they offer a remarkable bargain: diners can enjoy 50% off each glass of wine ordered.

Malabi is a delicious rosewater custard with shaved coconut, hibiscus flower, and ground pistachio.
This was a dish inspired by Chef Hillel’s childhood in Israel. Bruleed banana, candied walnuts and hand-whipped cream made for a nice dessert that is easy to share.
There are lots of reasons to visit Bacari PDR. It offers food for the discriminating foodie as well as woodfire pizzas for the less adventurous. Diners can graze on salumi with a bottle of wine or end up eating a full meal with dessert.

Bacari PDR 
6805 Vista Del Mar Lane
Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

 Disclaimer: This event was hosted.


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