On Friday, I met up with Lovegastrogirl for dinner. I noticed The Barbella Bar does an excellent job staffing the front of the house. The hostess greeted me warmly while her counterpart, a blond, high-energy employee, charmingly escorted me to our table. His friendly banter and fun-loving vibe made me feel like I walked into a scene at Sur in Vanderpump Rules. For this post, let’s listen to “Shampain” by Marina and the Diamonds.
Our table was on the second floor. Lovegastrogirl faced the balcony while I sat across a cabinet full of wine glasses. Pro tip – if you are looking for a vibrant, bustling night scene, ask to be seated downstairs.
I started off with a Martini Isabella ($17), and Lovegastrogirl ordered an English Garden cocktail ($15). My cocktail contained specks of ice, and the olives (which I requested in place of capers) were frozen solid. I found the blend of vodka and vermouth jarringly fierce, unlike Major Tom’s criminally smooth martinis.
On Instagram, I saw that Miss Foodie recommended cauliflower, artichokes, and crispy chicken, so I wanted to try them all. We started with the Oysters on the Half Shell ($21), Warm Cauliflower ($14), and Crispy Artichokes ($8). After we finished our appetizers, I planned to order the Chicken Puttanesca ($26).
Our server informed us the oysters were from New Brunswick. Perfectly shucked, the flesh was cold and crunchy, with a sweet aftertaste. The passion fruit mignonette tasted floral with tropical notes. I would order the oysters again.
The artichokes were soft and creamy, with a brittle brown batter. The rosemary aioli was herby and added a comforting sage-like fragrance to the batter.
I enjoyed the mint and buttery pine nuts in the cauliflower dish. The capers and raisins added some sweetness and salt. Lovegastrogirl found this dish a tad salty.
For our next drink, I suggested she order what Miss Foodie recommended – the Ground Control cocktail ($16). We contemplated ordering the Chicken Puttanesca, but Lovegastrogirl received a notification of an opening at Major Tom. I was jiving for another experience, so I settled the tab, and we walked down a flight of stairs to visit the washroom before our next venue.
As I reached the basement, I asked Lovegastrogirl if she wanted a piece of gum. I bumped into the employee who seated us, and he asked me who I was talking to as I was alone. I turned around and realized that my friend had stopped at the top of the stairs to take a photo. Wowzers, that Isabella martini was strong!
Perhaps it’s the restaurant’s lighting or the stunning view of the city, but Major Tom has it going on. I can see why Lovegastrogirl and her husband frequently visit this restaurant. It’s a sensory experience – the panorama cityscape, the upbeat playlist and the overall energy from the servers and customers.
Our server, a chipper German native, complimented my choice in beverage – a Cosmopolitan Martini ($16). Lovegastrogirl was put out that her choice in beverages didn’t receive the same accolades. My cocktail was expertly made – the sour and sweet notes were well-balanced. Even though we were full from our meal, Lovegastrogirl ordered Major Tots ($8), a dish she says is grossly underrated by the general public. As always, she is correct. This appetizer should win an award.
I loved smooth, smoky surgeon mousse, the tart crunch of the pickled onions, and the warm, oversized crispy tater tot. Lovegastrogirl ordered two more tots for her husband, Pomp, who had come to get us from our night of feasting. Thanks Lovegastrogirl for another fun night and the after party at Major Tom! I’m looking forward to our continued festivities in mid-January, along with my friend Beep Beep.