Bar du Marché: A Glass of France with a side of Nikkei
Part wine bar, part cheese bar, part French bistro and part closed door Japanese restaurant, Dear Bar du Marché, here’s a big fat sloppy wet beso bienvenido to
the neighborhood. Praise to the sashimi-loving charcuterie gods, this
adorably charming go-to spot breaks from the Palermo Hollywood
bruncheando-café Nicaragua street norm and offers a petit piece of Paris
with a secret sushi sampling on the side.
how I’ve longed for that all-in-one spot where I can grab a quick (and
good tasting) morning coffee, brunch it up on the weekends, stay for the
well priced and delicious lunch special-sandwich-café menu, continue
the fun with a cheese and wine-filled WiFi work merienda session and
extend my welcome for French inspired bistro specialties or a top sushi
grade puerta cerrada dining experience.
du Marché is a place where wine lovers, wine wannabes and plain old
winos can come together in wine-derful harmony. Sometimes I just don’t
understand why a city that shows so much love for their vino tinto is
really lacking in the wine bar department. Luckily this small Hollywood
haven has become a quick fix for the 5′oclock afternoon wine-cheese
cravings, that I’m sure overcomes us all.
what’s so great about this wine bar? It’s one of the only spots in the
city that offers a large selection of carefully chosen wines by the
glass, rather than wines by the bottle, with 50 different labels to be
exact, a rarity in this bottle-centric town.
most spots only offer a handful of wine choices available by the glass,
it’s refreshing to have a place that specializes in the smaller sips,
giving drinkers the chance for just a taster, full glass or wines by the
bottle for all price ranges.
They get most of their wines from Siete Spirits, a
wine store neighbor that specializes in New World wines. Think a mix of
Australian, New Zealand, South African wines, with some Italian and
lesser known high end Argentine and Chilean wines.
probably need some cheese (and cured meat) to go with that wineywhine.
Order from their special premium selection, trying cheesy types like
gouda, gruyere and gorganzola, ranging from the cheesing animal
trifecta: goat, sheep and cow’s milk.
a big fan of their tasting menu where the sommelier chooses three wines
(tasting size pour) to pair with three cheeses of his choice (80
pesos). It comes with a little plate of olives, pickles, bread (warning:
sometimes it’s stale) and high quality olive oil for dunking.
to equally important things: the food. In the morning Bar du Marché
offers the standard café staples, a bit elevated, with the coffee
(Nespresso), medialunas, tostadas (with bread from L’epi) and juice
biznass, with a brunch on Sundays. For lunch during weekdays, in
addition to their salads-sandwich-tarta-sushi menu, they have a pretty
solid lunch special that includes main dish, water, small glass of wine
I’ve had some hits and misses during the lunchtime menú ejecutivo,
finding that some days there are fabulous specials, like great fish
dishes or chicken, while other days the offerings are a bit less
interesting. For example, the tarta with panceta and puerros was pretty
killer — buttery, flakey, creamy and bacony.
salad is one of those dishes probably not restaurant ordering worthy,
since it’s not that difficult to make. While I probably wouldn’t order
it again, I was super satisfied with the large bowl of grilled Italian
vegetables, spinach and PENNE pasta. Teeheehee.
wok had less success, and while the crispy salmon chunks might have
been one of the most flavorful, best cooked salmon I’ve had in the city,
the rice wok mixture was a bit meh, lacking flavor. Rule of thumb: stop
ordering woks and pasta salads at restaurants, they are almost always
disappointing. The daily specials come with dessert, and in my case I ordered
mediocre cheesecake with a strange hard and grainy consistency. Already
not in the mood for something sweet, I ordered it out of pure
cheapo-fatdom, since it’s annoyingly not possible to be substituted for
the café-sandwich route, they offer a number of great sandwiches, like
the sophistically simple ham and butter combo and a burger with fries
that looks legit. A more refined French spin on my fave Jew sandwich,
the pastrami with tomatoes confit had salty yet sweet addictive quality
where each bite had equal parts tomato-pastrami ratio.
I first found out that they served French bistro food PLUS a sushi
menu, I thought it was quite weird. Choose one or the other, but why
both? Generally the best sushi restaurants specialize in sushi, and just
that. It’s rare to find a great sushi spot that also serves pasta,
milanesas and Chinese food — and yes, these places do exist. But Bar du
Marché seems a bit different, bringing ex-sushihombre from sister
restaurant M Buenos Aires in San Telmo, Fabian Masuda, to take over the second story with his closed door restaurant Omakase.
secret staircase behind a hidden trap door to the left of the bar leads
to the Japanese closed door haunt, which has one communal table that
seats 12 (reservation only). Omakase means “I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese, “let chef decide” or “in chef we trust.” It’s
a common expression at many sushi restaurants as it leaves the
selection of the meal in the chef’s hands, letting him take full control
to wow and please with a five course tasting menu, a Peruvian-inspired
Nikkei mix of fresh quality items like sushi rolls, sashimi, tiraditos,
tempura, spring rolls, soup and Japanese style platitos. I have
yet to try it myself, so cannot personally attest to the sushi-nikkei
greatness, but reliable sources give it a thumbs up.
The staff is super knowledgable and friendly. Skilled sommelier Juan Pablo Villar has
quite the knack for selecting wines, and even a more remarkable skill
at remembering which wine you drank during your last visit. But perhaps a
downside, especially for us tall grandote freaks-o-nature,
the place is small, with only about 10 tables that are a bit cramped
and close together, PRIME for eavesdropping aficionados, not so hot for
long legged Lurches. But it’s still ideal to grab a table outside on my
favorite tree-lined Nicaragua street, go for the lunch special, or order
an afternoon glass of wine, some quesos to picar.Bar du Marché
Nicaragua 5946, Palermo Hollywood
Sun & Mon: 11am-6pm, Tue-Sat: 9am-close
Reservations recommended (dinner)
Reservation only for Omakase