A First Taste Of Bar Ferdinand

Chef Joffe
In a couple of years we may look back at the opening of Bar Ferdinand as a watershed moment. The bar doesn’t have the grittiness of the Standard Tap, the eclectic artsy vibe of N. 3rd or the hipster coolness of Ministry of Information. Instead Bar Ferdinand is located at the corner of Liberties Walk, Bart Blatstein’s new lofts and retail complex on north Second Street. When you’re outside it all seems a bit artificial. Maybe Liberties Walk will feel more like the neighborhood when more of the neighborhood fills in, but for now, there’s an awkwardness on the street.

But that uneasiness melts away when you walk into Bar Ferdinand. Designed by owner Owen Kamihira, who has previously given birth to the Continental, Budakan, and Red Square in Las Vegas. Here Kamihira has taken the plunge with his own place. Bull inspired mosaics and murals mark the walls around the bar and dining areas. A 24 person table sits in front of the bar area and makes for a good way to mingle and is available for big parties.

The kitchen at Bar Ferdinand is overseen by Blake Joffe, who has apprenticed at authentic tapas bars in Spain and statesied has worked in he kitchens of Alma de Cuba, El Vez, and the Continental. At Bar Ferdinand the menu is exclusively tapas, offering an expansive menu of cheeses, meats and other small Spanish inspired dishes ranging in price from $4-9 dollars. The best way to attack such an extensive menu may be with a group of friends who are as ravenous as you are. The charcuterie, an assortment of Spanish meats shines as do the croquettes, wonderful balls of cheese and other fillings that are just fun to pop into your mouth. The Cerdo Frito con Mustaza y Mahon, slowly fried pork, Mahon cheese, mustard, roasted peppers and onions also hit the spot. The only real miss was the flank steak with fried egg.

The drink selection is just as dizzying as the tapas choices, with over 50 wines sold by the glass, ten beers on draft and extensive bottle selection including several Spanish beers. The dark lager was an especially nice choice, as was the Orval, a bargain for $6. There is always a $2 glass of wine available and 8oz PBR draft for $1. Sangria is also worth ordering either by the pitcher or glass.

Finish the night off with an order of churros and you’ll leave satiated.

Bar Ferdinand makes its case for being a welcome addition to the neighborhood, even if that neighborhood isn’t what it used to be. And as for whether you’re comfortable with that, well that’s up to you.