Mike Sula thinks "something special" is building at Bascule Wine Bar, the new Taylor Street restaurant in the former Urban Union space. The menu from chef Michael Burkauskas is "modest but wide-ranging" and he has a "surprisingly subtle and inventive way of bringing [cliché dishes] to life." Ribbons of salmon are accented with cubes of soy gelee that "make the fish pop" while the "intense flavor" of whole sardines is "reined in" by earthy black French lentils. Similarly, slabs of coriander-crusted tuna are served with a bouillabaisse vinaigrette that "makes the fish seem like it swam from Morocco."
The only misses are on a few dishes like a piece of seared foie gras "overwhelmed" by a duck hash and poached egg, and flatbreads that "can’t support the otherwise tasty surfeit of toppings." As for the beverage program, the wine list is "impressively diverse and affordable" and cocktails are "interesting" and "inspired by wine-growing regions." [Reader]