It’s Friday night and you’re rushing through your workout so you can get home, shower, and head out to dinner. Somehow, getting home at 6 turns into 7, and the gym inexplicably sucks 90 minutes off the bottom line. Finally, you get home, and you briefly consider canceling your evening plans to stay in, eat on the cheap, and relax.
Experiencing this the other night…I went ahead with my dinner plans, and I made it out the door by 9:05, only 15 minutes behind schedule. I was meeting a dear friend from high school for an unspecified meal/drink/coffee date. We decided to scope out our standby, Pané Rustica, which I knew would be swarming.
First though, I suggested an alternative…one I’d only been to as a pop-up restaurant; showing up on a Friday sans reservation would be grounds for apologies and awkward rejection. To my delight, Restaurant BT was humming, thought not too loudly. We slipped right into a table and a new favorite was born.
I tend to prefer easy access and refined hush to brash and busy. In some cases, it can be fun to squeeze into the bar, shout a drink order, and wait 45 minutes for a table. But not very often.
Back to BT: Jose wasn’t ravenous, so he had the pumpkin soup (it looked and tasted delicious from my momentary taste test). I was feeling a bit more dedicated so I ordered the octopus carpaccio, which I can best describe as gazpacho ceviche, and the sashimi tuna main course, pictured above. The dish was served cold, but not *ice cold* (+), with the requisite seaweed salad and pickled ginger, as well as a vortex of soba noodles (+). I especially appreciated the rich red color of the Big-Eye tuna slices. Apparently, it is the other type of ahi tuna (in lieu of yellowfin). In any case, it was delicious, and I forced myself not to inhale it but to savor it slowly.
BT doesn’t stock a full liquor bar, so Jose and I both had identical sake cocktails – made with kaffir lime and lemongrass. Again, delicious, delicate, and thoughtful…savor-worthy.
I mentally documented the decor in a past visit – and this recent experience was no less enjoyable. BT’s colors are very California, very clean and natural. White, tan, mossy green. All the chairs in the dining room are clear plastic.
I see Restaurant BT as a worthy alternative to two more established local haunts: Mise en Place and Pané Rustica. The menu is an appropriate variety of styles, weights, and obscurities. It has the class and sophistication of Mise and the prices and cocktails of PR.
If you have a free Friday evening after 9, I highly suggest you pop into BT unannounced. You will not be disappointed.