I’ve been waiting for this place. The background goes like this: once upon a time, there was a fantastic little tapas spot off of Hawthorne, where EVOE now lives, it was called Bar Pastiche and it was a slice of heaven. As in, even though food items were around $0.50 – $2.00 and wine pours were on average $4, my husband (then just my BF) and I would spend a good $80 or so just hanging out and eating snacks and drinking. Then came Toro Bravo, nearer to our home, but disappointing in comparison. Then Bar Pastiche closes, I believe the rumor at the time was that the folks at Pix who were associated with it, closed Bar Pastiche to focus on the Pix side. That may or may not have been true or the whole truth, but it seeded my personal boycott on Pix, that pretty much existed up until now. All places that claim to serve tapas are compared to my memory of Bar Pastiche, and probably memories of too much wine, and by now, are probably totally distorted but that is me.
That being said, Bar Vivant is here and I can remove the boycott!
Located in a totally weird spot near 22nd and NE side of Burnside, we had a bit of trouble finding parking, so we ended up a few blocks away and walked in, no big deal. I notice that they have the GREEN minors sign, which to me, equals a green light for me to bring my child. Upon entering, the atmosphere is lush and eclectic and I am immediately drawn in to the Savory side, where the glass case displays the offering of small plates. A little disappointing, because my memory is of multiple cases with far more offering than what I see before me now, but I am immediately excited by the items I do see. In my heart of hearts, I am hoping they will add more as things pick up. It wasn’t busy when we went in. There were like 3 tables the whole time I was there, I hope this is because we went kind of early.
We ordered a bottle of wine, because it is a better deal to do so than it is to buy multiple glasses of wine. I think our bottle was $25. There is a wide selection of wines. You can buy more and less expensive ones, all depending upon what you are looking for.
We started with the chorizo, because no Spanish meal is complete without it, and I’m a big fan. This is an order of two; because there are two of us and I don’t want to share it. Of course, it it Olympic Provisions. I love Olympic Provisions, but I do have to say that their products are pretty accessible, so I can get these at all of the farmers’ markets, as well as the grocery stores I haunt. Still though, tasty, and basically the standard by which most others would be judged.
Now the egg salad stuffed roasted pepper on crostini arrives. I like that they used capers in the mix, and obviously some paprika in there as well. I like eggy items, and I think that it was a pretty good bang for the buck.
I am a sucker for ham cheese and pickle. Especially when it has a little piece of brie smeared underneath it. All of these are on a nice crusty piece of baguette. I want to say it is Pearl, but it could be Lovejoy Bakery as well. Since the bread is the base, I don’t focus on it as much because in this case, the toppings are the stars.
I like shrimp but my husband doesn’t, so lonely….
My little single shrimp on a pick with a tomato. It was nice, but I don’t know that I would do it again. I am hesitant about shrimp that sits in a case like that. But, it didn’t taste off at all, and I wasn’t ill later on. I know that doesn’t sound like a strong sell, but I was really into the meat and cheese happening here.
Ham, it is a big leg out front where they shave it off, almost crispy. Served with bread. I don’t know how my husband felt about it. Actually I think I do, it was a borderline item for him. I admit, the ham was almost greasy as well as crispy. But it was salty and tasty and mild. The husband is just a chicken, even though he ate it.
The mushroom stuffed pastry was up next. It was flaky and flavorful and I wish I had ordered two of them, so that I didn’t have to share it.
Cheese plate, covered a bit more on its own on this site under my cheese musings. It was on the cheap, as far as cheese plates go, and it was almost too much to eat. Almost. But we soldiered through and ate it all. No joke, this is some good cheese!
Our last food item to arrive was the tortilla. Served cold with a slightly tangy tomato sauce atop and an aioli as well. I liked it, because I like tortilla. It wasn’t out of this world or anything, but I also think that one needs to get larger items like this in order to anchor down a meal of small bits.
After eating all of the cheese, we weren’t really up for dessert. But, they have espresso here, so we got two of those. They have a machine here, and good coffee. After all is said and done, our bill was around $65 for two people, including the wine and coffee, but not including the tip.
All in all, a pleasant experience and we will most definitely return.