March 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm , by Serina Patrick
Following my haute dog lunch, I continued to celebrate my birthday with food and wine at Barcelona Wine Bar. It’s the hottest new restaurant in town, experiencing its 15 minutes of uber-trendiness, making it nearly impossible to get a reservation.
You might expect this place to be the brainchild of one of Atlanta’s genius restaurateurs, but in fact, it is the seventh location, with the original six strewn about Connecticut.
Each with a vastly different decor and layout, Atlanta’s Barcelona is made for partying, with a lively bar on one side, rows of tightly packed tables on the other, and a patio with communal seating and a fireplace. Wood plank walls give the space warmth and provide a rustic contrast to the industrial white tiles with black grout that surround the open kitchen. Lighting is perfect for a sexy rendezvous.
Having been to Barcelona, Spain, a few years ago, I was expecting plates of fried seafood laden with grease, lots of boring potatoes, marinated baby fish, and meatballs with tomatoes. I know, the food in Spain is supposed to be amazing, but that’s just like saying the food in New York City is amazing. Sure it is….if you know where to go. Even with the best advice, I stumbled upon some rather unappetizing dishes in Barcelona.
But the reviews said otherwise. Me, B and C squeezed ourselves into a tiny corner table, birthday gift bags in tow. C kindly agreed to be our designated driver, so B and I began scouring the wine list for an appropriately spicy bottle of red. Perhaps a malbec or temperanillo? B asked our server to recommend one that would suit our taste and pocketbook, but he insisted that we would not be happy with the less expensive bottles and finally persuaded us to go with a Spanish cab. It was rather tasty.
We decided to order a selection of tapas to share. B and I love Brussels sprouts so we started with a bowl of them, grilled until tender with crispy charred edges. Then the octopus arrived, prepared with peppers and fingerling potatoes….great flavor.
A dish of chorizo with sweet and sour figs was certainly more sweet than sour, but delicious nonetheless. I wasn’t as impressed with the chicken empanadas or the grilled hanger steak, but B and C enjoyed them. Our final dish of mushrooms with herbed goat cheese was sublime but turned out to be one dish too many….we were stuffed.
But that didn’t stop us from ending my birthday dinner with, not one, but two desserts. Dulce de leche crepes with chocolate sauce was an enormous portion and the fleur de sel vanilla ice cream that topped them tasted like plain ol’ vanilla. A bucket of churros with chocolate dipping sauce were etherial in their lightness despite being fried dough.
Our tapas experience was just the tip of the culinary iceberg at Barcelona. Offerings include an entire selection of charcuterie and Spanish cheeses, medium plates like lobster risotto and rabbit roulade, and entrees ranging from serrano ham wrapped monkfish to pepper-rubbed filet mignon. Paella for a table of two to six is also available.
And yes, of course the restaurant serves crispy fried calamari, marinated boquerones, traditional albondigas, and patatas bravas.
It could take me a year to work through this menu. Thankfully, the fervor will have subsided by then and I will likely be able to walk in without a reservation at all.
240 N. Highland Avenue NE 404-589-1010
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