Today Renee Erickson heads to Turin for a little aperitivi bar research, but I had a chance to talk with her on Sunday about Barnacle, the new wine bar she announced last week.
When Dutch Bike Co. shop owner David Schmidt started considering a move to a new space, he asked Erickson if she would be interested in taking over part of his shop. And when his move became official, she decided that the back half of the street-facing bike store space next to Staple and Fancy would be a great place to harbor the diners who regularly wait an hour or more for a table at Erickson's Walrus and the Carpenter. The specifics are still very up in the air, but Erickson’s hoping to establish a list or some sort of wait system so Walrus seekers can while away the hours at the bar next door.
Barnacle will be even smaller than Walrus—about 525 square feet and just about 20 or 25 seats stretching down one long bar. There’s no stove and no hood, so the food menu will be ultra-simple, she says. But, you know—Renee Erickson’s version of ultra-simple. She and Walrus chef Eli Dahlin are devising a menu of pickles and canned, smoked fish (this is a thing), caviar, and a salad of marinated Alaskan octopus that Erickson already thinks will be a staple on the Barnacle menu. “We run out of space on the menu at Walrus,” she says, and creating plates for Barnacle is a happy way to find a home for some of those dishes. Another one that has her excited is jambon persillé, a classic French terrine of cured ham suspended in gelatin with a “sparkly green” bestowed by a liberal sprinkling of parsley.
So, in summary, some meats, plenty of pickles and cheese, and lots of seafood (no, no shucked oysters). “Yep, more room-temperature food,” Erickson acknowledges. Hey, that’s her thing and it apparently works.
Barnacle will have plenty of wines by the glass, plus a reserve list of mega small-batch vintages, splurges, and exceptionally adventurous pours. The bar program focuses on old-fashioned aperitivi combinations like cynar and soda rather than full-on cocktails. Erickson promises the amaro selection will number in the gazillions.
Barnacle will open at 3pm, a little earlier than Walrus, and hopefully late this summer. David Little, a familiar face at Walrus, is a partner in Barnacle along with Walrus partners Chad Dale and Jeremy Price.