Franklin Guesthouse’s restaurant space was finally occupied when Bar Glory opened in August under the stewardship of restauranteur Sara Conklin (of Greenpoint’s beloved Glasserie). The restaurant forges its own identity through an inventive and inspired combination of culinary influences. Chef Jeff Kouba’s eclectic menu takes risks in the mashup of flavors and textures with delightful and surprising results. The food is largely influenced by Central Asian and Far Eastern flavors but takes liberties with Uzbek, Thai, and Korean flavors. Its environs can be described as refined rustic-chic decor and cozy ambiance that feels slightly more casual then Glasserie.
The beverages at Bar Glory are reason enough to stop by the restaurant at 214 Franklin Street. Led by sommelier Doreen Winkler, the drink menu boasts an eclectic cocktail list and the wine list features exclusively natural wines, 90% of which are Pétillant Naturel, or Pét-Nat for short (wine that’s bottled prior to completing its first fermentation, allowing carbon dioxide to be produced by the natural sugars in the grapes). The Stoned Soul Cocktail, with turmeric and lemon, is a refreshing libation with anti-inflammatory benefits while the vodka-based BarGlory Royale is another highlight with its subtle sweetness thanks in equal parts to elderflower and yuzu. The unfiltered Zannotto “Rude” orange wine is a perfectly crisp accompaniment to some of the tangier dishes on the menu.
After you’ve ordered a drink, you’ll want to start with the onion jam bao, a delicately chewy delight. The combination of ingredients—caramelized onion, a schmear-like greek yogurt dip speckled with poppyseed—evoke flavors you might come across at a New York appetizing institution like Barney Greengrass or Russ & Daughters. The dumplings are a hard to resist starter item, too. The pumpkin, ricotta & spicy apricot ones come bolstered with a generous dollop of ricotta, sprinkled with peanuts and the lamb dumplings with pistachio are shaped like roses and garnished with pine nuts. Both are handsomely presented but be careful not to fill up on dumplings too early.
You really can’t go wrong when you get to the salads and entrées. You’ll want to try the glass noodle salad with tandoori yogurt which can be ordered with fish, shrimp or rabbit at an additional cost. On a recent evening, I tried it with rabbit, which was tender and grilled to perfection, then nestled underneath the piquant noodles, cucumber, and carrot. The shrimp dumplings with bamboo shoots & massaman coconut curry is a rich, comforting dish. The grilled greens have more heft then one might expect. The Spiced Lamb Kuksu, a variation of a traditionally Korean noodle soup similar to ramen, is presented at Bar Glory with tenderly sliced lamb, semolina noodles, and kimchi in a tangy vinegar lamb broth. It’s topped with a jammy egg that’s been boiled in soy sauce and black tea.
For dessert, try the Cherry pit ice cream. It’s an unexpected treat with lychee, orange blossom and coconut granita with a hunk of vanilla merinque bark situated atop this texturally balanced dessert. The icy granita provides a refreshing antithesis to the dense, rich ice cream, and vice versa. For any occasion, be it date night or a group outing, Bar Glory is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Bar Glory is located at 214 Franklin Street, attached to the Franklin Guesthouse. They are open Friday and Saturday, 5:30pm – 12am; Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 5:30pm – 11pm; for Saturday and Sunday brunch from 10am-4pm; and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.