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Voyages: Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery

Voyages: Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery

I’ve been pumped to hit up Battery Park Beer Bar and Eatery ever since I saw their crowdfunding campaign back in August 2015. I’ve also been following Chef Mark Gray and his team since his days helming the kitchen of my long-time love Brooklyn Warehouse, so it’s safe to say I’m walking in with high expectations.

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Getting there a few minutes early, I saddle up to the bar and order a pint of Nine Locks IPA – a local Dartmouth craft brewer down on Waverley Road. After doing some prior research and taking a quick glance at the 15 different beers carried at the bar, I can see that they are serious about the hyper-local focus I have heard so much about.

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After being seated, Chef Gray comes out to introduce himself (chef crush ensues), and he gives me a quick run down on what to expect: locally sourced meats, cheese, oils, in-house salamis, and cured-meats all paired with fantastic local beer. I wipe the saliva that’s just streamed out of my slack jaw and I prepare for the coming feast.

Out come a charcuterie board and the plateau de fruits de mer. The charcuterie board is loaded with an array of in-house prepared meats, smooth pig head torchon with pickled mustard seed and beer mustard, creamy pork jowl pastrami with tart wine-soaked currents and apricots, woodsy chicken rillettes, and a rich and chocolatey chicken and foie gras mousse.

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The plateau consists of beautiful sashimi-style cured salmon, Asian-marinated tuna tartare with pickled apple, creamy Nova Scotia lobster salad, scallop ceviche, and smoked Sober Island oysters. My hands flash around quickly to keep my mouth full, as there is definitely enough to snack on for a big group (just so long as I can keep the foie mousse all to myself).

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Next up – flash-fried smelts in a crispy cornmeal crust and shishito peppers that have been quickly browned in local Hillcreek Farms canola oil. The crunchy batter from these two dishes offers a nice textural contrast to the meat and seafood boards. The flavours are simple, crisp, and pure – the ingredients local and fresh.

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After managing to excitedly crunch down the smelts and shishito peppers, I’m brought beef tartare and the confit spare rib. The tartare is amazing – inside round dry-aged for 60 days with cured egg yolk, shallots and pickled mustard.

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The confit sparerib is finished on the grill and comes smothered in an incredibly sticky and delicious hoisin/sesame glaze.

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Licking my fingers, I realize that not only am I absolutely blown away by the meal, but I’m also left reeling about how soon I can fit in another visit. The vibe in the restaurant is amazing: young, cool, inviting, and friendly. All you want to do is drink beer, snack on great food, and hang out. The amazing thing is that’s all Chef Mark Gray and father-son owners Leo and George Christakos want you to do. Grab some friends, order some pints, and come with an appetite, because Dartmouth is calling.

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