We all went through puberty; if you never went through an awkward stage, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be a bad person. Even restaurants sometimes go through an awkward stage, where they’re not quite sure what they want to be when they grow up. That’s where BARcode 1758 is right now.
BARcode 1758 (at 1758 Frankfort Avenue) has a lot going for it right off the bat: great location, awesome patio, the shadow of the previous tenant, Maido, and of course, they’re right across the way from the Silver Dollar, so they can benefit from all that “I’m-too-hungry-to-wait-an-hour” traffic. The restaurant is meant to serve Japanese-Korean fusion, and it succeeds partially.
BARcode’s menu is very large, with separate sections for appetizers, skewers, entrees, salad, soup, beverages, desserts, and sushi. If it sounds like a lot to choose from that’s because it is, this menu has everything from deep-fried twinkies, to fish cake ramen, hot tempura vegetables, and lots of sushi, running the gamut of Asian-ish cuisine.
We sampled the Lobster Cigar ($6.95), with lobster, cream cheese and vegetables wrapped like an egg roll, and the Fire Fire ($6.95), a deep-fried egg roll wrapper stuffed wit spicy crab and shrimp tempura. Both were slightly greasy, but the Fire Fire was wicked hot and satisfying—this is almost the “fair food” of Asian restaurants, a guilty pleasure.
The shareable skewers were interesting; bacon-wrapped asparagus ($2.99) was delicious, but quail eggs ($2.99) were tough and not at all appetizing. Fish cake ramen was a few steps above, taste-wise, the microwaved ramen served in college dorms everywhere; but not the flavor leap above needed to justify the $7.95 price tag. The Kimchi roll ($8.95 for spicy Korean cabbage, fried egg, crab, cucumber, avocado and sesame oil) was the closest thing on the menu to true Japanese-Korean fusion. The few other sushi rolls we ordered were delicious but uninspired.
We didn’t leave BARcode 1758 hungry, and the service, décor, location, and price point were all great. Let’s hope they narrow down the menu and emerge from this awkward phase triumphant.