SoHo has a much-needed new bistro that has us coming back for seconds.
Somehow in the fray we missed Burger & Barrel, a toasty and cool-looking new restaurant from John McDonald (Lure Bar, Chinatown Brasserie), which has been open since October. Our loss, but now our gain. Just across from the Angelika Film Center, at Houston and Mercer streets, this new place makes you feel like you’re in an Aspen ski lodge, circa 1960s. All the tables and booths are wonderfully set apart. Nearly every woody nook and cranny offers a romantic perch. And sitting at the bar is relaxed, easy to eat at. The level is perfection from elbow to mouth. The food is insanely good. While already noted for its award-winning juicy cheeseburgers, including nightly chalkboard variations-like a white truffle number-other items of distinct comfort food include our favorite iceberg wedge to date, mini filet sandwiches, a Maryland crab bake casserole and fried Cornish hen. And a rare side dish: a heaping, cold-weather warming dish of corn pudding. The drinks aren’t shabby either. We love the jalapeno-infused margarita. The “Barrel” in the name is the wines, of which there are many-as display and for consumption. Seldom do bars serve a Sancerre by the glass. Like everything about it, this place surprises by not letting us down in that area too. While so many Houston Street eateries have bitten the dust, almost notoriously, we see Burger & Barrel becoming a fixture in a neighborhood that seems to have lost all its good food stops but Raoul’s. Go to a movie, then go here. It’s like…done deal.