By Alan Markoff, Camana Bay Times
Anyone who has been to northern Italy knows that Italian food is much more than olive oil, garlic and pastas in tomato-based sauces. But having an Italian restaurant in Cayman without those kinds of traditional southern Italy dishes has always been a challenge because that’s what many people expect from an Italian eatery.
A new restaurant at the Cayman Islands Yacht Club hopes to introduce residents and visitors to a new style of Italian cuisine. Owned by Barney Bako and long-time Grand Cayman chef Federico Destro, Bàcaro is modelled – and named – after the wine bars that have become fashionable in the chef’s hometown of Venice, Italy.
Having worked for 17 years at Italian restaurants in Cayman, Destro knows that he has to adjust his menu to serve local clientele, but that doesn’t mean Bàcaro can’t do things a little differently.
“It won’t be a specific Venetian menu, but Venetian-inspired,” he says, noting that because of Venice’s history as a gateway port in Europe, the city’s cuisine has influence from around the world. “It’s very diverse compared to the rest of Italy.”
The diversity of influences will allow Bàcaro to create a menu that focuses on local, seasonal ingredients served in small plates so that diners can try many things.
“We’re not trying to change what people eat necessarily, but the way people eat,” he says of what can be called an Italian tapas approach.
From the beverage side, Bako says Bàcaro offers a wide selection of wines by the glass, perhaps as many as 12 whites and 12 reds, as well as half-litre carafes.
Although Bàcaro’s wine list includes selections from many countries, Bako says the focus is on grape varieties, not the country of origin.
“We want to introduce people to different grape varieties,” he says, adding that when many wines are offered by the glass, people are more inclined to try different ones.
At its core, Bàcaro is an outdoor establishment.
“Three sides of the restaurant are glass window-doors, so even when you’re inside, you feel like you’re outside,” Destro says. “It’s a casual, friendly environment, kind of like happy hour with professional service.”
For more information about Bàcaro, visit bacaro.ky.