Last night we had dinner at Barcelona in New Haven. Till then I did not know how many locations they have; there are six. We had previously been to Barcelona in New Haven. The last was in conjunction with the "Wine Dine, Design" tour that happened last year. A participant, Gray Organschi Architecture, on Crown, did Barcelona's interior.
We were there fairly early in the evening and as we left about 7:45PM, the large place was starting to fill. I just think Barcelona's four different eating areas are fantastic. In the area beside the kitchen the wood ceiling slopes downward. There is a huge hanging of slices of a log mirrored against each other in the adjoining room. The bar area and lounge is very interesting and comfortable. I can see why the bar is a draw. There's just a lot going on if you like interior design and pretty things. Beautiful woods are everywhere. The tables in the bar area are thick, solid walnut.
We started by asking advice for a Spanish red wine. Our young server correctly suggested that a knowledgeable person assist us. Though we received good sugestions I had wished that he had stuck to the Spanish wines as I suggested. He offered to many options. He did ask our price comfort range. I decided on a Cabernet/Tempranillo/Garnacha, "Portal", Cellers Pinol, Terra Alta 2007. It was a little cold, but opened up nicely, with hints of chocolate. A nice, robust fruit-forward wine for $38.
We shared tapas: heirloom tomatoes, with basil, arugula and a gorgonzola-like dressing. There were several green tomatoes included. They were OK, but not expected or particularly flavorful. I loved the cheese sauce/dressing.
Spicy beef empinadas. These were good, but not overly impressive,. The fresh tomato sauce was divine. Again, good for bread dipping!
Blood sausage stuffed peppers (Marcilla stuffed Piquillo peppers): There was a lot of rice in these. Though flavorful, we felt the blood sausage was given short shrift and the peppers could not take the forefront on their own. Still good.
Hanger steak: this took them a longtime to prepare; not sure why. It was worth the wait and came with a relish (mojo verde), of green pepper, parsley, scallions and lime (I believe). The waiter forgot to ask how we wanted it cooked and we forgot as well. It came medium rare.
Best for last: chorizo with figs. This was a luscious, smoky, earthy dish. We ordered bread, which was delayed too long, but when it arrived we used it to soak up the brown sugary rich juices. This was not a spicy chorizo. Damn good though! The bread was quite excellent and came with very good olive oil.
Though we were virtually their first customers of the evening they were out of the citrus-cured salmon.
Overall, I think the tapas here are more sophisticated and complex than the ones at Ibiza Tapas in Hamden.
We did not order dessert.
Generally, the service was excellent. It think it was more the kitchen. A couple of items did not come out quickly like others. The bread definitely should have come out earlier or first.
We really enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to going back again soon to sample more of the menu. Meal total: $86, before tip.
http://www.barcelonawinebar.com/newha... for info, menu and many photos.
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