Tapas to try at Barcelona Wine Bar
Problem: You are out to dinner and having issues deciding what you want to order. The menu is like a swirling inferno of utter confusion, and you are trapped in perpetual befuddlement. “Do I want chicken? No wait, but the fish looks good too. But dear God, I need a steak!” Solution: Have lots of little dinners by eating tapas! That way you can get a little taste of everything to satisfy that bout of confusion. So, the good news is we have solved the first dilemma.
But the second question is, where does one go to find a menagerie of delicious tapas just ready to be eaten? Why, Barcelona, of course! With six locations in Connecticut, and each location having a unique menu of delectable tapas to choose from, it is no wonder that Barcelona won Best Tapas for the Best of the Gold Coast this year. I ventured to the South Norwalk location for dinner recently, excitedly awaiting the opportunity to sample the wide rage of tapas available.
There were four of us at dinner, and we found that a relatively effective way to try several tapas was to order about half a dozen to share family style, rather than ordering two or three per person. This way everyone would be able to take a small sampling without being completely overwhelmed. So please, come join me as I take you through my most delightful tapas dining experience.
Can't start without bread, right?
To our most pleasant surprise, an order of meatballs arrived to the table before our ordered tapas as a compliment from the chef. The meatballs (or Albondigas) were served with what was described as a “zesty tomato sauce”, and were tender with just the right amount of spice.
No friendly drop was spared
Spinach + Chickpea Casserole
The next tapa that arrived was the spinach and chickpea casserole with cumin and roasted garlic. The dish had a wonderful, warmth from the addition of the cumin, which gave this traditional recipe a little bit of a different kick. The spinach was perfectly cooked and wilted and paired well with the soft and tender texture of the chickpeas.
Next up was the crispy calamari, which was served with a smoked pepper aioli. The calamari was crisp and salty, which paired well with the slight spiciness and smokiness of the aioli. A twist of lemon added a refreshing lightness, which was well complimented by the richness and boldness of the aioli.
Well you know I have a hard time making it through a meal without any sort of fish on my plate, and my trip to Barcelona was no exception. The next tapa to arrive was the perch, which was served with a corn and arugula salad. The perch had a wonderful crisp and salty exterior and a juicy and moist inside, which was perfectly paired with the sweetness of the corn and the peppery bite of the arugula. Everybody had their paws all over the perch, it was a fight to the finish for divvying this one up! A word of advice: if you have several fish lovers in your family, you may considering ordering more than one round of perch. Or else risk getting your hand impaled by a fork flying in for another bite.
Grilled Hanger Steak with Black Truffle Vinaigrette
The next dish was the grilled hanger steak, which was served with black truffle vinaigrette. The steak, as you can see, was cooked to a perfect medium rare temperature, and the vinaigrette added a wonderful richness to the dish.
Gambas al Ajillo
Time for a little shrimp! This shrimp dish came with garlic, sherry, and guindilla pepper. The shrimp were perfectly juicy and succulent, and had just enough heat from the pepper. I only ate one, but I probably could have downed several orders on my own. And they were even sitting in their own cute little skillet, which I sort of enjoyed.
Tuna Tartare with Yucca Chips
I have a habit of constantly ordering tuna tartare at dinner, and this was no exception. This tuna tartare came very simply prepared, which allowed for the freshness of the fish to shine through. It was accompanied by yucca chips, which gave the dish a salty and crispy element. Plus, the chips were a lovely vehicle for scooping up the tuna and delivering it swiftly into my mouth.
Traditional Red Sangria
What would a round of tapas be without a little bit of sangria? We opted for the traditional red sangria, although Barcelona also offers white sangria, summer herbs sangria and sangria flora, which all sounded delightful. The traditional red sangria was cold and sweet, which was the perfect combination for a balmy summer evening.
63.65 N. Main St., South Norwalk; 203-899-0088