Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Owner of Black Barn, John Doherty
Meet your new favorite food:
What should be at the TOP of your 2016 New Year's Edible Resolution List: BBQ Beef Ribs by John Doherty at Black Barn
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Most barns we think of in America are red, and we know something about farms. Peachy Deegan grew up next to one. However, when Mick Jagger said "I see a red door and I want it painted black," we think he undoubtedly had a vision of John Doherty's ribs in 2015 at Black Barn restaurant, which should be at the top of your edible New Year's Resolution list.
Located in a phenomenal space at 19 East 26th Street (300 seats and 96 on the main floor), Black Barn Restaurant opened on September 17, 2015 and is owned by John Doherty and Tom Struzzieri. We visited it for the first time recently and were quite impressed. John's attention to detail is off-the charts fantastic and far exceeds the vast majority of many restaurant owners we have worked with. There is not any aspect of this restaurant he has not yet thought out carefully, and if you are lucky to meet him, which you might as he is an owner that truly cares and will walk around and talk to guests (all owners should do this if you want to stay in business), you will see for yourself his true passion for cuisine and hospitality. If you are impressed by big names he was the Chef at the Waldorf=Astoria (remember that equals sign inbetween-we worked with them for a few years but have not for a few) from 1978-2009. We were most impressed with John Doherty's sincerity, culinary vision, and commitment to excel and win.
Based on John's vision, Black Barn boasts a concept of refined American food and wine in a relaxed rustic environment which is a lovely departure from Manhattan chaos. The bread is made on premises and is commendable; we also began with the Kale Salad. What was phenomenal about this salad was the roasted acorn squash, which is a winter flavor you must revel in. Radiccho, apple cider and buttermilk join the Kale. We would have been far less aggressive with the salad dressing; we actually want to taste the vegetables.
An original: do meet the Pork Belly Chicharrones. The pork is sourced from DeBragga, and is cooked twice leaving it with a chewy and crisp texture. It's a good start joined by mustard fruit and green apple chutney. John says he expects the menu to change eight times a year.
As you know, we are devoted carnivores but we know the whole world is not, so if you are a Vegan (not to be confused with a Deegan) or Vegetarian or plainly a Cauliflower enthusiast, you should know we learned something new at Black Barn. A cauliflower can yield a steak when you make it a center cut! A meatless steak, of course. From the Garden section of the menu, which are entrees, we tried at John's suggestion the Curried Cauliflower Steak, and it was surprisingly great. Cilantro raita, toasted pine nuts and pickled raisins join this produce party on a plate.
If you are a Pescetarian, you should opt for the ultimately exquisite Pan Seared Diver Scallops. Sourced from East Coast Seafood, these little beauties waltz with trout caviar from California, sea beans from New England and sunchokes in a divine sauce.
Don't hate them because they're beautiful. Eat them.
Do not miss the sides in the bottom right hand corner of the menu! We found the brussels sprouts (with bacon!) and garlic mash most enticing. Of course, the Irish excel most at potatoes.
Drumroll please, may we have your attention, carnivores of the world?!!! You absolutely need to meet the BBQ Beef Ribs of Black Barn Restaurant. They are simply the best we have ever had. Ever. Anywhere. With every tender bite, you can tell they are cooked carefully for six hours. Hailing from DeBragga, the Beef Ribs are thoughtfully seasoned with 15 ingredients in the dry rub (obviously bespoke, made on premises) including orange, onion, garlic and more. All you need to know is that you are going to love them and experience tremendous joy as the meat easily falls off the bone into your mouth. Do not bring any loquacious dinner companions with you, because you are going to not want to talk and instead, will want to devote your full attention to these ribs. We believe John told us that these are Back Ribs and we think that Back Ribs are near the Prime Rib...Prime Rib is famous on Whom You Know because that's what President Truman always ordered at Martin's Tavern.
P.S. Mover and Shaker Kym Hampton, these have your name all over them. We KNOW you also love ribs!
Can you tell a goal was just scored in Peachy's stomach from these pictures?
Finally, the last stop on your bucolic escape to Black Barn is dessert. John suggested we try the Apple Cider Doughnuts, which are served perfectly warm. If you like sugar and spice and everything nice, go for these. We liked the bourbon eggnog next to them for dipping the most. The dessert we chose was the delicious Rum Butterscotch Bread Pudding, which had a gorgeous presentation. You should all lament the fact that this site is not scratch and sniff because from first whiff you will be totally enticed. This bread pudding had superlative consistency and the golden raisins were a nice touch, along with the vanilla ice cream.
If you are into architecture and interior design, you should know that Mark Zeff was behind this...and you have learned that great design often comes from South Africa: Mover and Shaker Geoffrey Bradfield sets the standard for this in our experience (and Mr. W. too, of course.)
For our tens (and maybe someday hundreds?) of thousands of readers in Ireland, you should know that John's ancestors hail from County Donegal. Previously on Whom You Know, Murphy Boyle has made County Donegal famous, as his grandfather is a native of that county.
We cannot wait to return and see what Black Barn does next!
Yes, Black Barn is Terrific Takeout.