Ultimately, B + W is on to something. It's clear they came in with a purpose, and are ready to impress. While the warm, funky atmosphere and welcoming waitstaff will instantly draw you in, ultimately, the meal is what will make this your new favorite hot spot. Both their ideas and food are fresh and hot, leaving you fulfilled on so many levels.
If that wasn’t cool enough, this is also CT’s first bar to offer wines on tap— 30 to be exact— all stored in the optimal conditions to ensure each glass of wine is literally good to the last drop. I sampled the house flight, which the waitress easily rattled off the names of as if she’d been studying the list for years. Acrobat Pinot Gris, Katas Viura, Katas Tempranillo and Truth or Consequence Blend made the list of red and white tasting glasses.
In addition to their impressive tap, B+W offers an array of innovative cocktails. I was particularly intrigued by their Fichi Caldi Martini; fig infused cognac, cointreau, fresh squeezed lemon juice, brown sugar and simple syrup. It started with a sugar rim and finished with fig seeds gathering at the bottom of the glass that I would’ve licked if no one was watching.
This particular drink was the perfect complement to our hors d’oeuvre, B+W’s house-made crostino, topped with an airy, almost whipped-cream-like ricotta with grilled persimmon and spec. A first bite that began the promise of a well-executed, carefully planned selection of Italian street food that impresses while remaining modest.
Take the loaded baked potato croquettes, for example. A crispy, salty exterior leading to a smooth, whipped potato center with smokey bacon, cheese and chives. It had a level of sophistication and finesse for something that could easily be considered happy hour food.
The panzerotti was like a zeppole met a calzone and ran away together. This puffy fried pocket was stuffed with salamino, gooey melted mozzarella with fresh basil and a marinara dipping sauce with just the right balance of acidity. If this is the definition of Italian street food, I’m booking my ticket tomorrow.
The fritto misto, fried calamari and shrimp with cherry peppers, was a major win. Cleverly served in a deep fryer basket, they were far from oily, and cooked to perfection. (No rubber bands here!) I absolutely loved the Asian influence of the miso dipping sauce, while the chipotle aioli provided a welcomed subtle heat and played well with both fishes.
B + W’s four cheese arancini was a beautiful blend of parmesan, pecorino, mozzarella and robioli. The seasoned breading created a rich shell surrounding a soft and creamy risotto meets mac-and-cheese type center. For a twist, their vodka dipping sauce was certainly a welcomed change from the traditional marinara.
Next, it was time to hit up some specials from the mozzarella bar. You’ve often heard me refer to burratta as the molten lava cake of cheeses (fresh mozzarella with a show-stopping big reveal of a creamy center), and while burratta has become just about as trendy as said molton lava cakes once were, they’re not all created equal. B+W however, knows all the tricks. I cut into the semi-firm, perfectly contained hand-formed ball of fresh mozzarella to find the ever so fresh milky-soft interior.
As if it weren’t heavenly enough, the creative mozzarella masters took it to another level with a light drizzle of truffle oil that slips out with the curds inside. It’s sexy, unique and certainly had us talking.
The first was plated with assorted meats and vegetables, while the truffle version was served with prosciutto and arugula—both with more of that crunchy, homemade crostino they do oh-so-well.
As for the girelli? I was craving these playful pinwheels of thin mozzarella, eggplant, prosciutto and roasted peppers long after my visit. A texturally fun experience with a bit of chew to each bite. You can actually taste each layer on its own as it comes together in perfect harmony.
And because it would be morally wrong not to try something from every column of the menu, I was happy to dig into their salads—clean and bright, offering the ideal palate cleanser before the next round. While this course is often overlooked as a mere side or an afterthought, these would easily make a main meal. The Irving salad with mixed greens, dried cherries, glazed pecans and goat cheese, and the B + W salad with mixed greens, pine nuts, shaved parmigiano and prosciutto di parma, were both delicately dressed with their house balsamic.
After watching the mesmerizing flame of the pizza oven all night, I was eager to get my hands on a slice—or three. B + W uses a 00 flour to create a soft pizza, while the 900° oven paves the way for a crisp, blistered crust and a floppy-thin, chewy slice.
The margherita was classic and simplistic with San Marzano tomatoe sauce, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and evoo. Each element managed to sing on its own while coming together in a uniform chorus. They knew when to leave well enough alone. The mare e monte pizza played to my tastebuds with succulent shrimp, sweet corn and a smokey crunch from pancetta. When it comes to their spicy pizza, they don’t mess around. Tomatoes, mozzarella, sopressata, prosciutto cotto, bacon and jalapeño (I told you, it’s no joke…) were drizzled with red pepper infused honey to help balance the heat.
As you know, I have a separate compartment for dessert so there was no stopping me now—even nine courses in. I bit into their peanut butter and nutella pizza, which I had my eye on from the moment we sat down to dinner. While it was certainly a spot-on combination of flavors, I wouldn’t exactly call the folded over pocket, a pizza. However, I will give it props for being well contained and easy to eat, for what could easily be a messy dish. Served piping hot, their signature crust is filled with ooey, gooey goodness, then topped with a hint of sea salt. Some bites tasted like a peanut butter panini, while others more like the melted chocolate hazelnut indulgence I was hoping for. It wasn’t overly sweet or rich, and even had an element of savoriness to it. Perhaps it’s a bold move, but I would easily order this for a brunch/lunch treat rather than flat-out dessert. I think a dusting of powdered sugar would take it to the next level…or maybe I’ll just have to try their Almond Joy or S’mores flavors on my next visit. It’s always good to have a goal.
Lastly, I finished with maple cheesecake, an item I typically would never order, but now can’t wait to go back and have again. The subtle cinnamony maple flavor was carried throughout this velvety treat, offering an incredible mouthfeel. It coated my tongue then practically melted away with each forkful, as if I was eating cotton candy. This almost magical filling sat on top of a walnut crust, then was topped with a vanilla sauce and raw sugar which provided a delightful crunch.
Ultimately, B + W is on to something. It’s clear they came in with a purpose, and are ready to impress. While the warm, funky atmosphere and welcoming waitstaff will instantly draw you in, ultimately, the meal is what will make this your new favorite hot spot. Both their ideas and food are fresh and hot, leaving you fulfilled on so many levels.
Want to see for yourself? Check out Brick + Wood.
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