I get bored easily. As a child, everyone thought I wasn’t being challenged enough. This meant advanced reading classes or new educational toys to get the most out of me. It turns out I really was just bored. As an adult, I figured out how to manage that boredom: from time to time, I take things apart and put them back together. I typically subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” motto, but sometimes boredom wins out. When it isn’t broke and it is successful, I err on the side of caution and let it work.
My long-winded introduction leads me to how I felt when I found out about the changes at one of my favorite restaurants. The owners at bc restaurant in Armory Square stepped away from day-to-day operations last winter, retaining financial control. This meant new faces in the front of the house and the kitchen, where Bill Collins had been at the helm since opening the doors nearly 10 years ago. The most stark changes come on the dinner menu: more pizzas and more dishes that are either brined and/or braised. This was the first time The Wife and I visited since last July, before the restaurant came under its new leadership.
We arrived at the restaurant early, so we parked ourselves at the bar for a beverage (a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA for me; a glass of Salmon Run riesling for The Wife) and waited amongst a fair crowd of walkups and others in our boat. We were seated promptly and almost immediately greeted by our waiter. One of my biggest beefs about bc in the past was the service. We had the same waiter the last few times we were there and he was less than attentive. I didn’t catch our waiter’s name, but that was fine. He was there when he needed to be without being overly anxious about our dining.
The evening’s specials included a potato-and-leek soup, diver scallops over roasted corn puree and roasted red snapper. The Wife opted for the former, receiving a bowl loaded with the creamy puree and a fair amount of potato chunks. She approved. I opted for the fennel and citrus salad, which came topped with goat cheese and a honey vinaigrette.
The menu featured one meat from every category — pan seared chicken breast with chorizo and cornbread stuffing, an IPA brined pork chop, and a pan seared filet mignon with a bacon and potato hash. There were a couple of pastas — lobster mac and cheese, gnocchi with truffles and short rib — and a handful of fish dishes, including salmon, cod, trout and tuna.
We split an order of sauteed calamari served with a generous drizzle of chipotle aioli. The squid was fresh and tender, while the semolina flour breading was light and stayed out of the way.
The Wife’s filet, ordered medium rare, came served over the hash with a side of green beans. The steak was not fork tender, but split easily with a knife. She didn’t tall much during dinner, so I’ll take that as an approval. The everything crusted rare tuna came featured four medallions of tuna served over an apple wasabi puree. The tuna featured a thin pink ring to show how much it was cooked, but was otherwise beet red. The crust resembled an everything bagel, with black and white sesame seeds, ginger and garlic. The crunch of the crust provided a nice complement to the tuna and its flavor did not overpower the fish. The accompanying slaw was a nice mix of napa cabbage, carrots and a sweet ginger dressing.
If I had a complaint, it would be presentation. The minimalist presentation left the oversized plates looking sparse. It seems petty to nitpick on this point, but it’s what I’m good at.
We passed on dessert, opting for a walk to Bittersweet down the street. The new management at bc has set its own course, from the menu to the ambience to the waitstaff. We’ll miss the past but look forward to coming back.
Dinner for two was $82 before tip. bc is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner. It is located at 247 W. Fayette St. in Syracuse.