Barley Swine is casual. Not like a cozy corporate coffee shop, more like a bohemian farmhouse. Jars with lights inside hang from the ceiling. An assortment of other jars are lined across the table facing the open kitchen–it’s assumed they’re not for eating but the label on top confirms any doubts–and a random painting of a camper and groups of random beer steins round out the decor de hodgepodge.
I sat in front of the jars facing the kitchen. Why not get a show as well? I twisted the arm of my date and we splurged on the ten course Chef’s Tasting. It wasn’t the original plan. But you don’t go to a piano bar not to not hear “Piano Man”.
Each plate came out picture ready and the portions were perfect for a full appetite. Don’t fear of leaving hungry or unsatisfied.The highlights for me were the shishito peppers, cooked over an open flame that was hand fanned by kitchen staff. The shrimp dumplings, which looked small at first, but somehow expanded once I started chewing. And finally, they finished the savory courses with an aged Akaushi ribeye. It was cooked as to inspire envy in any man who has tried to master meat and fire. The ghost of Mozart couldn’t have ended the savory list of plates on a better note.
The staff is friendly and will walk you through each course with as much detail as you want. If you take a date, buy a bottle of wine, or better yet, opt for the Chef’s tasting with alcohol pairing.