For restaurateur Reza Rahmani, service is everything.
“Service is naturally a big part of my life. I talk to people and I interact with people in a natural way. I love every, every one of those interactions. It’s never because of the business. It’s because I genuinely love being around the people that come in here.”
So he’s making sure to provide you high end service, low prices, and some fantastic food at Bar 25.
Located in beautiful downtown Newburyport, Bar 25 is a new restaurant offering shareable Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.
“The food is inspired by Middle Eastern/Mediterranean and what we call street foods and street foods really in the Middle East and Mediterranean is what in America we call fast food and what we did was we took some very traditional dishes and put our own spin to it.”
The space itself is stunning. There’s a gorgeous patio for when the weather is right. A cozy dining room with exposed brick walls and elegant lighting, and a fun bar where exciting, unique cocktails are always being served. And when Reza wanted the dishes he grew up with to be spot on, there was no better choice than Executive Chef Joe Messina
“When you go to a restaurant, you want to be taken care of, and I think when they come here, they can get an abundance of flavors, textures, highest quality ingredients, great service, great drinks and knowing that I’ve done something that people will talk about and tell their friends and come back to is really what keeps me going, getting me up in the morning to come to work.”
So Phantom grabbed a drink, and checked out the menu in search of the PERFECT MEAL.
There is no better way to start your meal at Bar 25 than with some of their housemade hummus, served with crispy cucumbers and bread for dipping. There are juicy sliders topped with griddled onion, melted brie, crispy bacon, tomato and special sauce, all on a squishy potato roll. And this twist on a mozzarella stick, using a Greek cheese called halloumi.
“What I wanted to do was create the Middle Eastern style mozzarella stick. We panko crust and deep fried them and it just again burst with flavors and also texture. You just cut off pieces, dip it a little bit into the marinara and, and you will love every bite.”
But the best way to begin has to be Bar 25’s Street Fries.
“Street fries has a truffle garnish tzaitziki sauce, a really great crispy french fry , shaved ribeye Parmesan cheese, a little pecorino cheese, and we do crispy fried onions on top with the with the little fin herbs to garnish it with. So there’s a lot going on there. It’s not just a french fry dish. It’s it’s taken it to another level.”
For something handheld, Bar 25 has a variety of mini shawarmas.
“When I’ve traveled the Middle East, one of the things that always stands out to me are the shawarmas. Usually they’re very small, but they’re packed with taste. So what we want to do is create these little shawarmas almost like a taco style. And then and then we infuse different flavors.
These fluffy naan sandwiches come stuffed with both shrimp and lamb topped with cabbage slaw, red onion, grape tomatoes and prosciutto crisps. But the shawarma that’s truly special is the Crispy Fried Chicken one.
“The chicken one is very popular. It’s a yogurt and saffron marinated chicken thighs and they are flash fried. Nice and crispy with the Napa cabbage slaw. Every one of them gets crispy prosciutto which is a nice touch…and that one also gets a fried carrot on top for some crunch there.”
Main dishes range from traditional kebabs like lamb and shrimp, which can be paired up with one one of their rice dishes. Or you could try the tender octopus served with crispy sopresatta over a chimichurri mayo. But for the ultimate entree at Bar 25, order the braised beef short rib. Served in a parsnip demi glace with cauliflower and potatoes, this dish is slow cooked and sumptuous.
“I think the short rib is all about what you cook it in and how you cook it. We do a slow braised 24 hour short rib here. It really is the best and only way to cook that meat. You should be able to spread it on toast, and I think as far as a piece of meat is concerned, that’s the only way to do it.”
At dessert, there’s a decadent Black Berry Jam Cheesecake with a chocolate crust or the Turkish Brulee Rice Pudding made with sushi rice, cream, vanilla and cinnamon- with a bruleed sugar crust- a Messina family recipe
“My mom actually made it one day and she just said you want to try some rice pudding and I said, Okay, I need this recipe and it’s been on the menu ever since.”
Bar 25 Street Fries, Fried Chicken Schwarma, Braised Short Rib and the Turkish Brulee Rice Pudding make for the PERFECT MEAL at Bar 25.