The obvious beauty behind the tapas or “small plate” concept is it gives seasoned eaters a license to weave through a vast array of flavors and preparations in the context of a single restaurant, without needing help hoisting oneself from a seated position.
The multi-ethic inspired Bar Plancha in Garden City, like most tapas restaurants, is perfect for the overzealous eater—someone whose eyes are indeed bigger their stomach, but who want to taste every plate that passes by their table.
Sharing is caring at Plancha, particularly on the boards, which contain a cornucopia of mixed cheeses, meats, fruits, nuts, olives and bread. The crown jewel of the meat board is clearly the jamón ibérico, a highly prized cured meat that enrobes the mouth in silky pork unctuousness.
The best bet at Plancha is most certainly those small plates, of which the restaurant offers no less than 17 options. The omnipresent jamon ibérico appears here as well, served carpaccio style with pickled red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, marconas and a drizzle of high-grade olive oil.
Beyond jamón, the can’t-miss tapas include the patatas bravas, oyster mushrooms, chicharrón, marrow bone and Korean chicken. The patatas bravas are deceptively simple fried fingerling potatoes—crisp outside, creamy inside with flecks of salt crystals upping the flavor ante, they are served with brava sauce—ketchup amped up with garlic and chili—and cumin aioli, which would be good on just about anything.
The oyster mushrooms bring meaty gravitas to the vegetarian party, with robust bite and earthiness served with charred leeks, barley, quinoa and a surprisingly spicy apple vinaigrette. The chicharrón is, of course, crispy pork skins—but this dish goes way beyond mere rinds with Vadouvan French masala, an Indian curry blend with aromatics like shallots and garlic. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also served with a black garlic aioli and mint gremolata.
It’s no secret to pro eaters that the thigh is far and away the best part of the chicken—Plancha delivers with the Korean chicken, a fried thigh that packs a juicy punch, served atop citrus salad with radish and gochujang aioli, a red chili paste that at once provides sweet, savory, spicy and fermented flavors.
Then there’s the marrow bone—pure, unadulterated meat butter. Plancha’s is served with fennel salsa and persimmon jam, which are fine additions, but in all honesty the bone marrow just needs itself. A sultry food item, marrow’s plush luxuriousness is best spread on crusty bread, which Plancha happily provides.
Plancha is also known for its weekend brunch scene and boasts a hard-to-beat happy hour menu.
Bar Plancha, 931 Franklin Ave., Garden City; 516-246-9459; www.barplancha.com