Come 1, Come All To Barton G…

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Last weekend we went to the circus.

Instead of clowns entertaining the patrons it was food, exhibited with Philippe Starck proportioned flair.

Welcome to LaLa Land, Barton G. The last stop on the tour was Miami, home to the outlandish machinations of Barton G. Weiss.

He is an internationally recognized event concept designer, restaurateur and culinary visionary. In Barton G’s two-decade career, he is known for his ability to surprise and inspire. 

The flash begins outside with “BG” in bright lights, illuminating La Cienaga Boulevard. I can only come up with a handful of good La Cienaga restaurants over the past 30 years. It’s a foodie wasteland.

Upon entering a non-air conditioned waiting area, you immediately are enveloped by the pomp and circumstance of the aggrandized surroundings. The interior is as compelling as a high wire act.

Zentini
Zentini

We waited a bit at the bar which offers a plethora of innovative cocktails. The wines by the glass are uninspired.

Barton G Interior
Barton G Interior

Our first seating was next to a lively drunk man who chatted at airplane engine level decibels about his love of opium and his plans to write a book on the subject.

We switched and were seated next to a glass divider where we were sequestered from the rest of the room. Fortunately, a lovely couple visiting from Chicago sat down next to us and added a level of entertainment to the proceedings.

Ahi Tuna
Ahi Tuna

The waiters were decked out in bright gold leather aprons and bow ties. We kicked the quirkiness off with a rather tame Zen tuna dish which was presented without any flare ($21).

The seared tuna was at best mediocre served with wasabi nuts (boring) avocado, greasy mango and shiso tempura and yuzu ponzu sauce that was like dipping food into the Dead Sea…it was that salty.

Rake And Hoe Salad
Rake And Hoe Salad

We were being conservative in our choices and selected the Rake and Hoe Garden with locally farmed organically grown petit lettuce and greens, blooming kale, herbs and blossoms, heirloom baby tomatoes and vegetables, red and white quinoa, bag of seeds, grains and nuts, white truffle champagne vinaigrette presented in a minature wheelbarrow with a shovel and a hoe ($17). There were plenty of hoes present Saturday night.

The salad was presented in a clever manner and it was tasty, but not worth $17. I could have hired a gardener to harvest the fields at that price point.

knife and fork

 

My husband is not a good dining partner for Barton G…almost all the best choices on the menu are meat. We struck out.  Many were ordering the sliders which came on a platter staged with a huge baseball bat and mitt.

Barton G Sliders
Barton G Sliders

The Laughing Bird Popcorn Shrimp with crispy fried shrimp, old bay spiced popcorn, sriracha aiola and sweet dipping sesame sauces was tricked out  in a popcorn machine ($19).

Bucket Of Bones, Shrimp Popcorn,
Bucket Of Bones, Shrimp Popcorn, Lobster Pop Tarts

The popular Bucket of Bones served with steroid sized utensils consisted of BBQ korean style short ribs, baby back ribs, grilled lamb lollipops, chicken drumettes, house made pickles, BBQ kettle chips, honey gorgonzola dipping sauce ($22)…heart attack anyone or just take the ginormous knife and stick it in your eye.

Lobster Pop Tarts
Lobster Pop Tarts

The lobster pop tarts with Maine lobster, gruyere and pernod mornay sauce baked in phyllo pastry with tabasco hollandaise and tarragon aioli ($21) is a crowd favorite served in a giant toaster. To me this is unnecessary cruelty to a lovely piece of succulent, innocent Maine lobster meat.

Lobster Mac N Cheese
Lobster Mac N Cheese

In our center ring was the incredibly delicious Lobster Trap Mac N Cheese, consisting of 1 pound of Maine lobster meat and pasta spirals in a three cheese lobster sauce, the decadent favorite ($32)! The presentation again was as exciting as the fat lady in the circus which would be my future if I ate this dish with any regularity.

The fish is flown in overnight from Hawaii and the offerings are seabass ($36), ahi tuna ($32) and spearfish ($29).

Steak comes in all sizes, cuts and ranges from the NY bone-in ($52), filet mignon ($65) to surf and turf for 2 ($125)…charbroiled bone-in certified angus filet mignon and giant prawns, roasted marrow, roots and local vegetables, potato puree, béarnaise with a black pepper bordelaise.

We indulged in a delectable sideshow of fresh asparagus prepared perfectly with sea salt. It was a virtual giveaway, priced at $10.00. Others sides included fries, grits, broiled cauliflower, quinoa and forest mushrooms.

Marie Antoinette Cotton Candy
Marie Antoinette Cotton Candy

The desserts are the main attraction. Marie Antoinette’s Head-Let Them Eat Cake over the top cotton candy surrounded by petit cakes made of raspberry and strawberry cream cheese, fresh berries and schlag (whipped cream). At $18 it is the most reasonably priced dessert. It does please the palate and is perfectly suited to the circus environment.

Sweet Flower Pots ($19), a flower pot duo of key lime custard, crumbled graham cracker cake, schlag, lemon curd, cinnamon streusel and whipped meringue was also making the rounds along with a s’more pizza ($25), churros ($24) and various chocolate treasures.

For an over-the-top dining experience, you have to try Barton G once. It is a perfect place to acknowledge a birthday, anniversary or whatever event warrants a celebration.

The presentation is much more impressive than the food, but you will enjoy the theatrics and long remember the  lavish, exaggerated evening.

Come one, come all to the greatest show on earth.

barton g

Barton G 861 La Cienaga at Willoughby West Hollywood, California. Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 6-10pm, Friday & Saturday 6-11:00pm. bartongtherestaurantla.com. Reservations on OpenTable.

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