In November, Oak + Rowan opened in Fort Point. In January, it was joined by City Tap House. And before that, we saw the arrival of several other notable eateries—Blue Dragon, Tavern Road, the list goes on. In less than ten years, the Fort Point dining scene has become a competitive one—which means, first-to-the-sceners like Barlow’s, a rare 2009 relic, can’t get too comfortable. And they know it. So much so, Barlow’s recently brought in a new chef, Eustace Wehner, and for the past two months, he’s been spicing things up in the kitchen. “I’m adding dishes from different countries, and bringing a little bit of heat to each, but not too much,” Wehner told us as we ate our way through some of his latest menu additions, like the Bulgogi Pizza made with bulgogi beef and topped with an over-easy egg. It’s certainly not what one would expect to find at your neighborhood American—but it did not disappoint. In fact, it rivaled pies from some of our favorite gourmet pizzerias. Another pleasant surprise: The Lemongrass Bowl. For $16 ($19 if you want steak, $18 for shrimp), you’re served a massive—we’re talking takes-two-to-finish massive—bowl of garlic fried rice with sautéed lemongrass, vegetables, red cabbage, and cilantro. And then there were the Street Tacos. Stuffed as we were, we ordered up the pair—one spicy mayo-topped steak, one chicken with beer cheese (served together for $13)—and it was the best decision we made all night. In fact, even before taking my last bite, I thought, “Maybe I’ll block off an hour at lunch tomorrow to get these tacos.” They were that good.
As for the faithful patrons for whom newness isn’t their thing, the new menu still includes Barlow’s classics like Parmesan Truffle Fries (a personal favorite), Steak Tips, and the Barlow’s Burger. It’s a menu, as Chef Wehner brilliantly thought out, that will appease everyone—regulars and newcomers alike. And that, is what keeps a restaurant kicking in a place like Fort Point.