Sunday, October 26, 2008

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Baraco

20:00 - Baraco
Bacaro has been open to foodies in Champaign since 2001. As one of the most expensive paces on our tour, I'm hoping that the "traditional Italian fare, combined with a modern American twist" lives up to its gastronomic hype. Sunday nights at Bacaro even features half-priced wine night. Good thing it's a Saturday, or after this Lauren would definitely have to drive. Unfortunately Erica had to go home to eat dinner (just kidding, she had some other plans)
We had wanted to sample the student special, which was a 3-course meal and a glass of wine for only $25. Unfortunately, it was discontinued. Fortunately, they were more than accommodating, and made a $25 3-course special just for us. I was very grateful to the staff at Bacaro for setting this up for us. We ended up getting the special, with the shrimp bruschetta, the carbonara pasta, and the maple cheese cake. We also ordered a grilled suckling pig appetizer ($12). Ordering one meal and one appetizer for 3 people, while wearing jeans in the fanciest place on our tour, I definitely felt a little under-dressed, and under-wealthy.
When we orderd the suckling pig, we were hoping they would bring out a little pig. How crazy would that be! The pig melted in you mouth. It was fatty (so not a Lauren favorite), but delicate. It was served with a whole grain mustard, pickles, and sauerkraut, and drizzled with olive oil. This was one of Aaron's favorite dishes. The shrimp bruschetta was also tasty, but not as good as the pig. My only wish was for the bread the shrimp was served on to be a little crispy. It was artistically toasted (beautiful grill marks), but it had soaked up a lot of sauce, and so was a little soggy. The carbonara pasta was an enigma for me. It was not at all what I expected out of a carbonara. Most carbonaras are thick, dense, and heavy. This one was lighter and fresher. The sauce itself wasn't very heavy, and there was a lot of parsley in it. As a carbonara, I'd have to say that I didn't like it. But all that said, it was everything in a pasta taht I wanted at the moment. After eating 20+ meals, to eat a carbonara sauce would have been a death sentence. Having a lighter pasta was perfect for the situation, and I enjoied it.
The maple cheesecake was the best thing I had all night. It was amazing. That is saying a lot, because I normally don't even like cheesecake, and because by this time I was frigging full. I usually find them to be too heavy, and dense, but this cheese cake was light and sweet (not too sweet), creamy, and so smooth. There were candied walnuts on the side that gave it a perfect change in texture.
It’s silly to write this, but what impressed me at Bacaro was how nice(?) the bathrooms were. I once worked at a fusion restaurant back in Hawaii and my manager told me that there is a positive correlation between the niceness/cleanliness of a restaurant’s bathroom and the how much tip customers leave. I think Bacaro follows this bathroom philosophy because the women’s bathroom was stocked with towels, deodorant, tampons, soaps, etc. And get this, the men’s bathroom had Astroturf, a golf club, and golf ball. I thought Mike was joking, but Aaron confirmed this for me. Yes, I partially attribute the kookiness of my comments to the fact that I am currently stuffed and sleep deprived.

$49 - plus tax and tip
Total spent - $234.59

Baraco (website)
113 N Walnut St , Champaign, IL 61820

(Back to main blog)

No comments: