Bourbon & Baker
My hat is off to the good people of Harry’s, who have been able to create something new and quite neat in Bourbon & Baker.
Newly open and located at 312 Poyntz Ave. under the “B&B” sign, Bourbon & Baker brings the quality of Harry’s to a new idea that’s unique in this area. Foregoing traditional entrees, B&B primarily offers a selection of small plates that range from comfort-food favorites — ribs, grits and fried chicken, just to name a few — to more high-brow fare, including truffle popcorn, “Kobe”-style beef sliders and duck fat French fries.
These small plates are all pretty affordable, from $3 to $8.50, with most around $5 or $6. The idea, as our waiter explained it to us, is that you can order a few plates, share them and then order some more — even on a busy Friday night, the kitchen had the high-quality plates coming out at a fairly good speed.
If you’re not in the mood for small plates, that’s bad news. Outside of a few sides and an expansive bar menu, the only other foods available are family-style entrees that serve four and cost between $70 and $90. Luckily, there are enough options on the menu you’re bound to find something that suits your mood.
While I like the small-plate idea, I’d be interested to see how many diners order seconds or thirds. My date and I filled up on our first orders — she got the $5.50 corn bread slider (which was a little dry), I got the outstanding oyster po’boy slider ($6.50) and we each had an order of the $6 fried chicken & a biscuit, which was heaven on a plate — and ended up canceling our order of duck fat French fries ($5) which the kitchen luckily hadn’t started yet.
I’m glad we saved room for at least a few bites of dessert, because it was decadent. The $6 cake of the day was a raspberry chocolate cake layered with a cream cheese frosting that I can’t wait to try again. Here’s hoping they announce their daily cake offering via social media.
There are a few downsides, though they are mostly incidental. The place was packed on our Friday-night visit, partly because there was a K-State game the next day, and partly because the downtown location just isn’t that big. The space is long and narrow, and though I’m sure it seats as many people as possible, it still feels crowded. The loud music and plentiful TVs displaying sports didn’t help matters as it made it hard for my date and I to hear one another.
There is a small waiting area, which is great, but at its center is a long table that I’m told is for communal dining — you sit down, some others do the same, and you all eat at your own pace. However, while we were waiting, the table was populated by one party of sports fans, and it would have felt awkward standing behind them while they dined.
I can’t help but think that the area would be better populated by some benches, as communal diners have a rather long bar they could eat at.
But again, these complains are minor and incidental, and it’s likely that this new eatery will grow and thrive in downtown Manhattan. I know I for one will be back. I can’t wait to see what the other small plates have in store.