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Last Meal: Pork Chop, Fried Rillette, Papardelle at Bar Blanc Bistro

Bar BlancI realize that I am getting the memo late, but the young chef at Bar Blanc Bistro, Sebastian Zijp, is really talented. I had put off going there because they served Piedmontese beef, and in fast, as I expected, the hamburger is awful; but the so-called bistro menu — really, high-level restaurant food — is refined and punchy and at its best, encouraging to anybody who is worried about the state of casual food around town. Zijp’s stuff at its best is intense, well-thought out, and geared for maximal oomph: a Loch Duart salmon with baby beets, turnips, crème fraiche & smoked salmon candy. Smoked salmon candy! WTF? But he’s a young chef and you have to let him go over the top a little bit. His charcuterie is great, his pork chop is great, and his one pasta dish, a pappardelle with chicken confit, maiitake mushrooms, roasted radicchio and a little ricotta salada was just wildly enjoyable. I miss eating stuff like that, eclectic and autumnal and freewheeling. Personally, I would steer clear of the beef dishes; his heart’s not in them, and Piedmontese beef is a waste of money and gastric juices even in the best hands. But if you order the right things, Bar Blanc Bistro is a romantic and lovely restaurant, and I feel like a dolt for not having found out about it and its talented chef sooner.

I’m only one man though. Surely you can see that.