Just when you thought the vibes at Baba couldn’t get any more Mediterranean comes Barbouni, a Greek-inspired ouzeri (a type of tavern) featuring a raw bar, a seafood menu and a “conservas menu” consisting of 48 tinned fish from around the world.
“In Greece we have these places called ouzeri,” said owner Debbie Sayegh. “It’s very casual. You have an ouzo, you have a drink with friends and you share little plates, which normally consist of seafood.”
Sayegh said the conservas concept can be found in restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, but she wasn’t sure it was found in Florida until now.
The nine-seat bar takes the place of the bakery at Baba in the Grand Central District. As part of the experience, staff will be shucking oysters and making seafood plateaus right at the bar, where guests can also have cocktails.
Other dishes include seafood crudo, a fried fish collar and a fried barbouni — a little red mullet found in the Mediterranean.
In keeping with the casual vibe, there are no reservations and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For now, Barbouni is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday, but it will soon have the same hours as Baba.
Sayegh is from Greece, and her husband and co-owner, George, is Lebanese. They opened Baba, with its Mediterranean menu and decor, in 2019 as an homage to their families.
Before that, they opened the popular Cuban spot Bodega, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in St. Petersburg.