The following post is a guest review from my lunch buddy Wu, who unfortunately, has abandoned me on our lunch outings due to the end of summer vacation and the start of the school season. Recently, he dined out at BARcelona and, finding it surprisingly affordable, forwarded me a quick write-up about his experience. Enjoy!
BARcelona, a restaurant in Clayton serving classic Spanish cuisine, has an inviting and almost funky feel from the moment you walk through the doors. The restaurant is painted with teals, golden yellows and rusty reds, invoking a rustic Mediterranean feel. Tabletops are beautifully decorated with bright mosaic tiles, creating mini works of art everywhere you look.
The menu is quite extensive, typical for a tapas-style restaurant. In addition to both hot and cold small bites, there were a few salads, mixed green and Ceasar, as well as soups to start the meal off. We began with the Sopa de Alubias, a black bean soup, which came garnished with red peppers and a dollop of sherry cream. Served at just the right temperature, it proved to be the perfect complement to the colder evening air.
Next we tried the Plato de Embutidos, a Spanish Sausage sampler served with a cumin and paprika aioli. The sausage ranged from bold and spicy, to mild and almost sweet, but all were wonderfully greasy. The aioli served to temper the bite of the spicier sausages, but did tend to overwhelm the milder ones.
Our next course consisted of far too few broccoli flourets topped with roasted sundried tomatoes, garlic slivers, and a red wine sauce. The broccoli still retained a bit of its snap, while the garlic was sauteed to sweet perfection. When the broccoli was gone, we found ourselves eating the leftover garlic whole, something I could never picture myself doing.
We ended the meal with a serving of Croquetas de Pollo y Jamón, chicken and ham croquettes. The meats were minced into an unrecognizable, stringy mush, and then breaded and fried. Served with same aioli as before, I wish the night had not ended on this note. For all of the sophistication and style of the previous three dishes, the croquettes felt better suited to bar fare.
On the whole, however, the meal was both pleasing and filling, despite some of the smaller portion sizes. Coming in at $36.46 for two, including tip, tax and a soda, I would say BARcelona is certainly worth a try.
Note from KMCA: Having drank here before on a few occasions, I can assure you that ordering a pitcher of sangria or a few cocktails (~$7.50 each) with your meal instead of keeping it simple with a soda can increase your bill quickly and dramatically. Consider stopping in during their Monday – Friday Happy Hour (4 – 7 pm) when select drinks are discounted, and when a small, light dish is the perfect filler before a late-night dinner.
BARcelona Tapas Restaurant
34 N Central Ave
St Louis, MO 63105-3813