Barton G. Launches Bizarre and Tasty New Menu Items

At Barton G. The Restaurant, food transforms into art, and dinner becomes an experience. The 15-year-old South Beach locale is known for its eccentric food presentations, and its latest iteration — Barton G.’s “Art of Being Social” menu — brings to life a diner's wildest cuisine fantasies.

The restaurant, conceived by Barton G. Weiss, a restaurateur, event producer, and hotelier, is run by executive chef Jeff O'Neill, who says the menu's 18-dish addition took him and his team a significant amount of time.

"We're really in development all year long," he says. "That's just the way Barton G. is. We're always looking to do new and different things and create new ideas. It also takes us a while because we can't do anything that has been done before."

O'Neill, who has been the director of culinary development at Barton G. for almost six years, says getting a dish onto the restaurant's menu takes about three months — that includes developing the idea and designing it. "Our menu is a really big undertaking compared to other restaurants," he says. "We want to make our food topics of discussion and that takes time."

Among the new plates are champagne oysters and caviar, made with chilled oysters, wrapped in a champagne cucumber mignonette, and topped with yuzu bubbles and beluga caviar. The oysters are presented in shells on top of a fluffy, white bed. A large, steel octopus is then placed on top, with its tentacles intertwined with the oysters.

"The dish has taken off really quickly," he says. "It's like eating one whole oyster, but added with champagne and caviar. It's basically like a little gum drop. If you like oysters, then it's definitely worth trying."

Another addition is the octopus terrarium salad, made with tender octopus torchon, sea lettuce, wakame, and chive, with marinated vegetables, frozen berry coral, and sepia tulie. O'Neill says its presentation was inspired by an aqua terrarium he saw in a Japanese magazine.

"I thought to myself, how can we do something like this and serve a dish in it?" he says. "We get to show a lot of culinary depth doing a dish like this."

But with every new dish comes the risk that it won't be received as well as O'Neill and his team had hoped.

"Some of our dishes we're not always sure will be a hit," he says. "Like the holy smokes nitrogen popcorn. Smoke actually shoots out of your nose! We were worried no one was going to spend $19 on popcorn, but we went with it anyways, and it turned out to be one of our number one sellers."

As organic, vegan, and raw trends soar through current gastronomic trends, O'Neill created a garden box. Served in a wooden crate, the meal's appearance mimics a real-life garden bed with oven dried tomatoes, edible mushroom soil, pickled vegetables, and flowering herbs.

"Barton G. is a designer and he doesn't look at food like a regular restaurateur would," he says. "He wants every dish to be the next big thing. Working here has made me look at food in a completely different perspective. I can say that being here has definitely been a game changer."

For more information, visit bartong.com.

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