Last night we took our friend Nicole (Policy) out for her birthday.
Impromptu cocktails at Barcito turned into dinner at Balena then our version of dancing at Paris Club.
Balena just opened and normally during a spot’s first week there are bumps and dishes come out messed up, the owners and staff are frantic and you leave with complaints.
Our experience was completely the opposite, even before we stepped into the restaurant. I emailed owner/partner Kevin for a reso expecting him to laugh, and instead he promptly took care of it.
We were greeted at the door by John, another owner/partner who walked us to our table. I have never sat at a table like this, it was built into a cove that allowed for privacy and perfect conversation yet we could still see the entire dining room.
Kevin took us on a tour and then brought out a bottle of champagne (sent from a *friend*). Our server walked us thru the menu and then the most memorable part happened- Kevin said:
“Nicole, you’re vegan right? John read on your Twitter page that you are so we want to take care of you.”
How amazing is that!?
Thankfully- she’s now eating cheese so we all shared:
Two pizzas- one basil and tomato and the mushroom. Both amazing with killer crust.
The “Balena”- a platter with meats, cheeses and breads. I didn’t eat any of it but the girls all loved.
Buratta- the ladies also were huge fans…so much so that I didn’t get a bite.
Poached Tuna and White Bean bruschetta – sounds strange but was delicious.
The short ribs- obviously I have no clue but the meat eaters said they were awesome.
Squid Ink Pasta- Erin loved it. LOVED. It was a little too fishy for my taste (sorry Pandel- love you and your food!), but the pasta’s consistency was perfect. And the others really enjoyed it…so perhaps my pallet was off.
We all want to thank Rob, Kevin, Ian, John, Chef Pandel, Phil and the entire team for coming by and making sure Nicole had an amazing night.
And thanks to Dan for sending us the after dinner drinks.
I would 100 percent go back and if you’re looking for a perfect table for a group dinner…well it doesn’t get much better than that.
now THAT is a happy birthday girl!
Ok- time to go watch the video of my rap skillz filmed in the cab. I’m serious.