The Bar Nude is a curious thing. On one hand, the traditional naked lady reclining above the bar is essentially the 19th century version of the pin-up girl. On the other, nearly everyone painted one at some point – Manet had his Olympia, Goya his Maja (though she’s still got her frock on). It’s like icon painting for Impressionists. But frankly, any time you put men in proximity to alcohol, they’re going to want to see some tits.
The Baldwin Saloon has four – not directly over the bar, unobtrusively hanging in high corners, because this is a family place now. They, like the landscapes that nearly wall paper the rest of the restaurant, were created in exchange for paying off an overdue bar tab. An elegant solution from a more civilized age.
The cooks at the Baldwin have mastered the two necessary requirements to satisfy the middle American palate: gigantic quantities and the liberal application of fats, salt, and garlic.
Stuffed Mushrooms – Great whopping things stuffed with artichokes and garlic, topped with a fuckton of mozzarella. For all that these had obviously spent some time under the broiler, they managed to escape getting cooked. Fortunately, raw mushrooms and cheese are still pretty tasty.
Calamari Dijonnaise – The Great Cephalapod Jihad aside, this one was a little confused: the “sauteed” squid was pretty obviously the same stuff they were frying, evidenced by the breading. Still, it was garlic and squid in a mustard cream sauce. It’s not like we didn’t eat the whole fucking thing.
Seafood Bouillabaisse – Everything about this was fucking baller. Briny, tomatoey goodness. This one is a hard recommend. Good bread too.
Smoked Salmon and Baby Shrimp Fettuccine – This one’s tough. Cured anything can be a tough flavor to balance and while someone had made a valiant effort with some cream and cheese, this mostly just came off as salty.
The food’s good, the restaurant’s pretty, the staff have obviously been encouraged to turn tables quickly. Eat yer dinner quick.