Bar Cara Opens In Bloomfield

Friday, Jan 22, 2010 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (32)

Ryan:Bar Cara.jpg
Bloomfield’s restaurant scene just became more delicious with the addition of Bar Cara, which opens tomorrow, Saturday, January 23. Occupying the former Toscana on Broad Street, Bar Cara is an ambitious enterprise of the talented De Persio family, who for years, they’ve been pleasing palates in Montclair at their upscale Italian restaurant, Fascino. The name Bar Cara is an anagram of their names – Cynthia, Anthony, Ryan, Anthony.
“We’ll be serving traditional Italian food, like my grandmother makes, with a few twists,” says chef-owner Ryan De Persio. The entire place has a new contemporary look, “casual, with a New York vibe.”


In contrast to Fascino’s high end modern italian fare, Bar Cara’s menu is more moderately priced, featuring classic dishes like spaghetti carbonara, cornmeal dusted calamari, cured meats, and individual pizzas. (If you’re familiar with Fascino’s “Traditional Tuesdays” menu, you get the idea.) Forget BYOB, there’s a full bar, and the dining room has been divided to accomodate private parties up to 50. Dinner is served Tuesday through Sunday – open for lunch beginning Feb. 2, Tuesday through Friday. If you go, tell us about it in comments.
BarCara:int.jpg
Bar Cara, 1099 Broad Street, Bloomfield, NJ 973-893-3681.

32 Comments

  1. POSTED BY batman jammies  |  January 22, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

    Good luck — no restaurant has ever succeeded in that space. However, if anybody can do it, they can. Fascino is by far the best restaurant in the area.

  2. POSTED BY Mike91  |  January 22, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

    Hope this place does well. Toscana was nice, good food and pretty cheap.
    There doesn’t appear to be much parking unless you know there’s a lot around the back accessible by Watchung street.

  3. POSTED BY lockarnr  |  January 22, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

    I never liked toscana but if this place is mildly delicious i promise to make it my local… don’t let me down bar cara.

  4. POSTED BY SF  |  January 24, 2010 @ 10:46 am

    Holy Cow! I just ran across this article and it made my day. I proposed to my wife and at Fascino’s and has ben one of our fav restaurnts the past few years. The prices are little on the high $$$ side but once you taste the food u will wonder why they dont charge $$$$$. Great food more than resonalble prices and will definitely be going here next weekend. Good luck to the Del Persio family… I hope the mom Del Persio will be doing the deserts here as well. Cheers

  5. POSTED BY The Cook's Tour  |  January 24, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

    We were lucky enough to go to the soft opening Friday night. The place has a really cool vibe to it. The food is terrific, especially the pizzas (Cynthia makes the pizza dough so you know it’ll be good). I had Braised Sausage with Polenta that was wonderful, and my husband had the Pork Burger – excellent. The service was very good, even though it was the first night. They’ve got a great concept. This place is a welcome addition to the local restaurant offerings.
    I did a blog post about it here: https://www.cookstour.net/2010/01/food-glorious-food.html

  6. POSTED BY Mental2  |  January 28, 2010 @ 11:20 am

    Tried Bar Cara this week and had a very good time. I thought the food, service and atmosphere were on the money. The bartender seemed a little unsure of prices, charged me $17.90 for two regular mixed drinks…strange number and $$$$. Overall experience was great will definitely be back.

  7. POSTED BY Conan  |  February 01, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

    And, as frankgg would easily tell you, “cara” is also a term of affection, like “dear,” or “darling.”
    Can’t wait to try this place — not only because it is the DePersios, but because it is practically within stumbling distance of our humble Brookdale abode. Review to follow soon!

  8. POSTED BY snappyguy  |  February 01, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

    Excellent Italian food and very nice people. Still working out some of the kinks. Apparently their wine guy didn’t deliver a lot of what’s listed. Food was too slow, but it was all good. I liked the fact that the owner came over and acknowledged tom us that it was a bit slow and apologized and said that they are still working on it. That’s exactly the way to handle it.
    If this has been a death spot for restaurants that won’t be a problem for a long while. This place will be very successful.

  9. POSTED BY gail  |  February 01, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

    Tried Bar Cara last Friday night. Got there around 8:30 and it was mobbed.We just wanted a drink and a couple of small dishes at the bar…which was packed. After about 30 min., we got a seat at the bar and ordered the soppressata & olives along with the famous polenta-gorgonzola fries. The drinks were very good & reasonably priced. The food was simply presented & delicious. Loved it. Reminded me somewhat of Otto (Bar Cara is missing that downtown vibe….but it’s not bad for Broad St & Watchung)
    Looking forward to going back for dinner & drinks.
    Nice job, dePersios.

  10. POSTED BY Rub  |  February 03, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

    As someone else mentioned, good luck to the new owners as Toscana (and previously I Fratelli) were both very good restaurants that couldn’t make that location work. It is a shame as other than Aki Sushi there aren’t any “higher end” restaurants in walking distance to Brookdale Park residents. Plus that space is closer than Bloomfield Ave to most Upper Montclair/Glen Ridge residents.
    However, if anyone can make it work, it has to be the De Persio family as Fascino is easily one of the best restaurants in Montclair serving “the best” Italian fare. My advice would be to notify potential patrons of the AMPLE PARKING in rear and possible offer valet parking on Fridays & Saturdays.

  11. POSTED BY itsme  |  February 05, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

    Had dinner here tonight and we were impressed. The polenta fries were amazing and the rest of dinner was wonderful including the dessert. So happy to have another nice place to eat in town and the parking is free and plentiful.

  12. POSTED BY goodfood  |  February 14, 2010 @ 6:27 pm

    not very friendly and the food was just average

  13. POSTED BY goodfood  |  February 14, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

    not very friendly and the food was just average

  14. POSTED BY jbkauf  |  February 15, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

    HORRIBLE experience here. Almost two hours to get our main course, same for other tables around us. I saw FOUR instances of them serving the wrong drinks to table, had to return to bar. Asked for water FIVE times before we got refills, you get the idea. We came because we love Fascino, believed in these owners, but as we were saying to others leaving the restaurant, this is a MESS. They opened without having trained staff, AT ALL.
    And as for the food…overcooked shrimp, risotto that was inedible, spaghetti that tasted like it had just been sitting all day, flavorless sauce.
    DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!

  15. POSTED BY Lauren  |  February 16, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

    The food is excellent, the service is awful. The girls who called to confirm the reservation was inaudible. We had to ask to place an order. It was an hour before the bread we had to ask for arrived. The servers handed dishes to diners for them to pass to other guests instead of going the distance to place it on the table themselves. NOT up to par with our fave Fascino, but we hope they will work our the kinks and get there some day.
    Despite all that, I plan on going back with my husband real soon. Good luck! Nice to have you in town, I hope you stay a very long time!

  16. POSTED BY oliver  |  February 19, 2010 @ 10:35 am

    Haven’t been to Bar Cara, but I ate at Fascino twice in the last few weeks, including the night Bar Cara opened, and one of the owners told us they kept all the Fascino staff at Fascino, opening Bar Cara with new staff. Sounds as if maybe that was a mistake, judging from the comments above. But I can see why they wouldn’t want to cannibalize trained staff from the established restaurant. I predict they’ll get the kinks worked out soon.

  17. POSTED BY peskycat  |  February 22, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

    A group of us ate at Bar Cara on Thursday night. The service was a bit slow, I’ll admit. I had visions of previous visits there when it was Toscana (awful) and I Fratelli (even worse). It took a awhile for our drinks to arrive and there was another delay in getting our appys. However, it was worth the wait. The polenta fries are heaven – the dipping sauce is delish. The other appetizers were excellent as well. Everyone enjoyed their dinners and we ordered 3 desserts for the table and there wasn’t anything left when we were done. Hopefully, they can correct the problems with the slow service because otherwise, it’s a excellent value for the price.

  18. POSTED BY DePersio  |  February 24, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

    Hi all,
    It’s Anthony DePersio, one of the owners of Bar Cara. I’d like to start out by apologizing to anyone who felt they had a bad experience here. I admit, opening a larger restaurant with a bar (130 seats all together as opposed to opening Fascino with 48 seats) was a very big undertaking. The bar was also raised considerably because we opened with a reputation and strong expectations. We are open just 1 month and a large majority of restaurants do have kinks to work out when they are this young. There is a much larger staff here then Fascino and some people certainly needed to be weeded out. Other problems are just growing pains that I assure everyone are decreasing every day. We have received many favorable reviews and comments and they definitely outweigh the bad by a lot. However, I’d like to personally take care of anyone who has had a bad experience. Let me show you that your last time was an anomaly and the normal experience is going to be great. Please email me at [email protected] and I will make sure to get back to you and get you a dinner that is worthy of our name. At any time if you have a gripe or complaint I am here to hear it and take care of you. We are in the service business and I ALWAYS want my customers to leave happy and satisfied. Hope to see everyone soon…..
    Anthony

  19. POSTED BY Susan  |  March 04, 2010 @ 11:10 am

    I have been to Bar Cara on three occasions since it opened, once for dinner and twice for lunch. While the service was a bit slow the food was terrific, the staff pleasant and obviously trying to do their best. The pizza is heaven and worth the trip to Bloomfield! Every new restaurant goes through this and the DePersio’s appear to be right on top of it.

  20. POSTED BY CuppaTeaGirl  |  March 04, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

    Anyone know where to find an online menu for this place? I’m eager to give them a try, but I would like to see what’s being offered before I show up.

  21. POSTED BY Karen Banda  |  March 06, 2010 @ 2:16 am

    Went to Bar Cara tonight and it was terrific. Definitely worth another visit or more! The arugala salad was wonderful with just enough dressing to coat each leaf without leaving an extra drop in the bowl. The roasted cod with herbed potatoes and Swiss chard was also excellent. Dessert of pistachio ice cream with a decadent chocolate torta was a wonderful finish to a superb meal. Our server was friendly and attentive without being annoying. All in all an enjoyable dinner. Will be back to try the pizza, polenta fries and the fried calamari which smelled heavenly when brought to a neighboring table. Buona fortuna!

  22. POSTED BY Karen Banda  |  March 06, 2010 @ 2:18 am

    PS: Based on what I tasted tonight, a more extensive menu would be most welcome.

  23. POSTED BY BloomfieldMama  |  March 06, 2010 @ 11:35 am

    We ate there last night and loved it! So happy to have it in our neighborhood. Our service was fine, other than when we first arrived the hostess ignored us for awhile, but then apologized when she realized no one was taking care of us.
    Polenta fries w/ gorganzola fonduta= heaven!!!! I’ll be going back soon for it!
    The pizzas were super yummy. The veg. pasta dish we tried felt slightly overpriced for what we got, but it tasted great.
    We tried two desserts: one with the hazelnut, vanilla and coffee gelatos and that was GOOD. We also tried the mini-cupcakes and wouldn’t get that one again. The chocolate cupcake was delicious, but the other two were bland.

  24. POSTED BY flash  |  April 03, 2010 @ 9:46 am

    My wife and I traveled from Washington, DC to visit on Easter weekend and as tradition has it, we join friends for Good Friday dinner. With two other couples in tow, we found our way to Bar Cara. Upon entering, the decor and bustle of the restaurant generated anticipation and a rumbling of hunger. After all, this is Northern NJ and Italian cooking shines here. I was impressed and my anticipation grew. One couple of our troup went to school with the owners and were recognized at the door, although that was last we ever saw of them and a customary meet and greet at the table never materialized. My expectation of a fun and delicious evening was soon to be steamed into oblivion much like an chopped, overcooked onion. Our (confirmed) 8 pm reservation became an 8:45 seating, the apology being “slow turnover” at our appointed table. Only one 6-top in a 140 seat restaurant? The menu was one page and if you don’t like broccoli rabe, you’re pretty much out of luck. We started with the tomato margherita pizza and even after we specified that it was intended as an appetizer for the table, our waiter told us, “It only comes as four slices.” Huh? The pizza was flavorless and I was hard pressed to find a piece of fresh basil anywhere on it. I should mention that it was at this point the bread and water made it to the table. Who now wants bread when pizza is in front of them? I personally ordered the scungili salad topped with a “lemon vinaigrette” (although why you would combine two acids – lemon and vinegar – is also beyond me, but then again I am not a professional chef.) Except for the scungili itself (most likely LaMonica, based on its flavor) it was a dish of parts and not one of married flavors, something that had been assembled rather than prepared, lemon being fleeting if present at all. My main course was linguine with white clam sauce and it was at this point the food went to the opposite end of the spectrum. Although the pasta was properly cooked and firm, the presence of salt was overpowering. I also have an issue with food that is brought to me where I have “pick” from the shell to complete the dish. I get the concept that bringing plated, opened clams is supposed to indicate freshness, but it tells me they were prepared separately. I also didn’t find any minced clam in the sauce. The flavour of white wine, for me a crucial ingredient in this dish, was so overpowered by the salt that they could of saved it for my glass. The dining partner to my right ordered the filet mignon “special”, which was served with a barley risotto and the ubiquitous broccoli rabe. Although I didn’t try the meat being Good Friday, the risotto was actually good. Another of our group ordered the gnocchi bolognese and again skipping the meat, the gnocchi initially presented the palate as being overcooked and undersalted but then somehow, developed into a creamy, pasta rich morsel. I did not sample the other dishes but it should be noted that the salt shaker made many, many laps around the table and we are definitely not salt people. At home, I rarely use it (boiling pasta being the exception.) I take from this that the use of quality seasoning and olive oil made from Italian olives probably doesn’t fit the cost model. In terms of service, our water glasses remained empty more than they were refreshed, dishes and used silverware collected on the table to the point we had to stack it table center (a huge no-no) and although waiters seemed to hover about, the sense of teamwork and the presence of a front-of-the-house manager was absent. Several times we went lacking for a drink, condiment or service because our purpose seemed to be to demonstrate gravity by holding down the chairs. Last but not least was the gratuity. Nowhere mentioned was the practice of adding a preset grat to the bill, yet there it was. More to my displeasure, instead of the standard 18.5% typically for fixed grats (which allows the customer to add up) our grat came out to more than 20%. I guess I should be grateful they didn’t compute the grat on the tax as well. Our party averaged around $55 per person including tax, tip and a moderate bar tab. Would I list this place as a destination given I have one shot for a meal when up from DC on a weekend? No.

  25. POSTED BY DePersio  |  April 28, 2010 @ 11:11 am

    Ok, let me address the post above. I know we have had some service issues, however some of the above is false and misleading. Let’s start out with an apology for not coming to the table after you were seated. I do make an attempt to go over to a LOT of tables. I think a large majority of our customers would confirm this. On a busy weekend night I probably get to personally speak to 50% of the tables dining that night. I’d love to talk to 100% but I do have a job that extends beyond chit-chat at the table. Your table was sat at 8:30 not 8:45, our Open Table system confirms this. Still, you shouldn’t have to wait if you have a reservation but again on busy weekends it does happen sometimes. The restaurant is not 140 seats. The main dining rooms add up to 100 seats and we have 4 round tables not 1. We can also accommodate 6 people at rectangular style tables. Broccoli Rabe was only on 1 dish so I have no idea what he is taking about with that. (And as a side dish) We always have Arugula, Risotto, Polenta, Red peppers, mushrooms, swiss chard, herbed fries, etc…. We don’t have a huge menu but there is plenty of selection. Our pizzas are the top selling items on our menu. I stand buy them as being a very top quality pie that is not oversalted at all. Also, we always use fresh basil on top of the Tomato Basil Pie. He then makes fun of our lemon vinaigrette. Well a vinaigrette by very definition is vinegar and oil. We replace the vinegar with lemon to create our lemon vinaigrette. We have now combined 1 acid and 1 oil, there is no vinegar in this salad. Also, we buy a whole scungilli and chop it ourselves. This guy throws out there that we are serving La Monica canned Scungili. This is completely false and at any time please come buy during the day to see our guys breaking down the fresh scungilli. I also love how the presence of salt was overpowering in several dishes yet the salt shaker made many laps around the table…Contradictory much? If the water glasses remained empty and you could not get a drink those are legitimate gripes against the restaurant. However, because the rest of this mail has been so slanderous, I am hard pressed to even believe that. Finally, our tip is 20%, I’m sorry it wasn’t listed on the menu. That has been recently changed and it is now listed on the menu at 20% not more then 20% as you made up again. Also, there are plenty of restaurants that use 20% instead of 18%, I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I think the entire mail is outrageous and ridiculous. I want more then anything for people to have a great time, and I’ll be the first to take care of people that have problems and come to me in an adult manner. There was no reason to write in the way that you did except to hurt us. There was nothing productive or helpful in this mail in any way.
    Anthony

  26. POSTED BY DePersio  |  April 28, 2010 @ 11:17 am

    Ok, let me address the post above. I know we have had some service issues, however some of the above is false and misleading. Let’s start out with an apology for not coming to the table after you were seated. I do make an attempt to go over to a LOT of tables. I think a large majority of our customers would confirm this. On a busy weekend night I probably get to personally speak to 50% of the tables dining that night. I’d love to talk to 100% but I do have a job that extends beyond chit-chat at the table. Your table was sat at 8:30 not 8:45, our Open Table system confirms this. Still, you shouldn’t have to wait if you have a reservation but again on busy weekends it does happen sometimes. The restaurant is not 140 seats. The main dining rooms add up to 100 seats and we have 4 round tables not 1. We can also accommodate 6 people at rectangular style tables. Broccoli Rabe was only on 1 dish so I have no idea what he is taking about with that. (And as a side dish) We always have Arugula, Risotto, Polenta, Red peppers, mushrooms, swiss chard, herbed fries, etc…. We don’t have a huge menu but there is plenty of selection. Our pizzas are the top selling items on our menu. I stand by them as being a very top quality pie that is not oversalted at all. Also, we always use fresh basil on top of the Tomato Basil Pie. He then makes fun of our lemon vinaigrette. Well a vinaigrette by very definition is vinegar and oil. We replace the vinegar with lemon to create our lemon vinaigrette. We have now combined 1 acid and 1 oil, there is no vinegar in this salad. Also, we buy a whole scungilli and chop it ourselves. This guy throws out there that we are serving La Monica canned Scungili. This is completely false and at any time please come buy during the day to see our guys breaking down the fresh scungilli. I also love how the presence of salt was overpowering in several dishes yet the salt shaker made many laps around the table…Contradictory much? If the water glasses remained empty and you could not get a drink those are legitimate gripes against the restaurant. However, because the rest of this mail has been so slanderous, I am hard pressed to even believe that. Finally, our tip is 20%, I’m sorry it wasn’t listed on the menu. That has been recently changed and it is now listed on the menu at 20% not more then 20% as you made up again. Also, there are plenty of restaurants that use 20% instead of 18%, I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I think the entire mail is outrageous and ridiculous. I want more then anything for people to have a great time, and I’ll be the first to take care of people that have problems and come to me in an adult manner. There was no reason to write in the way that you did except to hurt us. There was nothing productive or helpful in this mail in any way.
    Anthony

  27. POSTED BY snappyguy  |  April 28, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

    I’ve eaten here a number of times and it has always been a nice experience with good food. Yes, the menu does seem a little limited to me (I like being handed a menu that is 44 pages long and weighs about 8 pounds), but the food has been consistently very good.
    I do however think an included gratuity of 20% is bogus. I regularly tip 20%, which strikes most of my friends from around the US as absurd. However I resent the implication that I owe a 20% gratuity. I realize that there are some cheap ‘effers who will come and drop $10 on the table as a tip for a table of six and screw some hard working waiter/waiteress out of a decent wage, but this still rubs me the wrong way. A tip is not an automatic; it is a thank you for good service.

  28. POSTED BY gail  |  April 28, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    Anthony,
    I had a good laugh when “gumpacina” made the comment about the lemon vinaigrette.
    I’m sure you’ll work out the kinks. I like your restaurant.
    Best of luck.

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  30. POSTED BY [email protected]  |  June 20, 2010 @ 3:09 am

    i decided to take my girlfriend to this wonderful new place that my friends were raving about.we were promptly greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable waiter that made us feel like we were important people through out the night.we were guided through the menu, he made all the dishes sound mouth-watering. we asked him if he was italian , he said he was from el salvador, but boy did he know his food!!! we started with the signature polenta fries and wings AMAZING!!!!!!! for entree we ordered filet mignon burger and branzino, they were out of this world.we would like to wish bar cara many, many, many years in this location, we will be back. congratzzzz keep up the great job

  31. POSTED BY BloomfieldMama  |  July 01, 2010 @ 9:29 am

    I have to respond to what the DC Gump said!
    I live down the street, so I’ve now been to Bar-Cara several times. I haven’t had a single issue any time I’ve been there! Service has been really great, bartenders friendly, and food delicious. I’ve now tried every pizza and loved all of them (four-cheese probably my least fave b/c i”m not a fan of white pizza). I’ve also tried several appetizers – the marscapone polenta fries are TO DIE FOR and the calamari and fries and wings are amazing too. I haven’t really gone beyond pizza and appetizers, except to say that the sides are delicious and I love that pork burger. It has a great char grill taste. I think it needs to come with a side of bbq or something, just to give it a little extra pizzazz. But that’s my only criticism, really.

  32. POSTED BY JillAnn  |  August 02, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    I had dinner at Bar Cara for the first time last week with a friend. I must say it was simply amazing. The Shrimp Scampi was perfectly cooked as was the Filet Mignon. My friend loved her pork burger too! Service was fine and friendly. We will definitely be back for more!

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