When faced with the question of where to eat in the 9th Street & 1st Avenue neighborhood, I suggested the reliable Around the Clock

As we approached 9th Street, I wondered for a fleeting moment whether I had made some mistake as Around the Clock was nowhere in sight.  Had this neighborhood staple become victim to the economic downturn?  A fact that has become all too common these days!  As we made the turn onto 9th, a new restaurant came into view.  From the outside it looked promising and then it hit me: it was in the location once occupied by Around the Clock.  On close inspection, the menu looked fabulous so we agreed to give it a go.  As we sat at the bar, we struck up a conversation with our bartender Michael and learned the owner of Around the Clock had decided it was time for a change. 

I was delighted to learn it was not a case of going out of business.  Rather a case of re-invention! 

The Barrel offers a Tapas menu that is an inspired blend of taste sensations — Mediterranean, American, French, South American — now that’s some kind of fusion!  While I can’t speak for every item on the menu, the delicious marinated shitake mushroom dish, ratatouille and goat cheese lasagna are  reassuring enough to explore further.  And, the the herb and squid ink butters were absolutely fabulous.  Besides the usual bar offerings, you can find exotic drinks with names like Instant Karma and Pear Envy made with herbs steeped in vodka, all attentively prepared by Michael.  I had a taste for wine and chose the house red at happy hour prices, a very lovely Tempranillo.  My friend chose the Mojito which was outstandingly prepared and uniquely enhanced with strawberries.     

Give The Barrel a go and let us know what you think.  And while you’re there, be sure to try one of Michael’s amazing concoctions!