A couple of years ago LC and I found ourselves stuck at P’cheen (now Last Word) in the Old Fourth Ward as a parade of bicycles outfitted with noisemakers and ridden by costumed adults and children passed by. It turned out to be Atlanta’s annual Moon Ride. We ordered another shot of infused moonshine and watched.
Fast forward to 2015. I used the Moon Ride as an excuse to dine in that neighborhood, hoping to see the amusing cyclists again. Although it was a busy Saturday night, LC and I found two seats at the bar at Barcelona within minutes of our arrival.
Having visited Barcelona, Spain, tapas are traditionally served at the bar, along with lots of wine. Breaking from tradition, we started with cocktails rather than wine; a caipirinha for me and a greyhound for LC. Despite several meals here in the past, this was the first time I was served bread, a large doughy boule that failed to impress.
We started with my favorite dish here, the chorizo with sweet and sour figs and a sweet balsamic glaze. It’s not a beautiful dish, however, each bite of the rich Spanish sausage with the stewed pickled figs was simply divine. LC and I almost always order octopus when it’s offered. At Barcelona, the tentacles are grilled then chopped and paired with potatoes and arugula dressed with a smoked paprika vinaigrette. The flavor was great but the star of the show was seriously overcooked and chewy.
A third dish, the crispy cabbage, was one I had not tried before. A wedge of cabbage was battered and deep fried, then topped with crumbled goat cheese, a drizzle of honey and coarse black pepper. Delicious, but it hardly qualified as a vegetable. However, it was the most authentic of the dishes we tried considering that many of the tapas served in Spain are fried and rather greasy.
Our final savory dish was the redfish a la plancha, a thin filet that spent too much time a la plancha. The herbaceous drizzle of pesto made it palatable.
We rarely skip dessert so we chose the panna cotta with berries. The custard was smooth and light, nicely complimented by macerated blueberries in their own juices.
With a total of twelve locations, half of them in Connecticut, it’s surprising that Barcelona manages to maintain its unique atmosphere. I probably wouldn’t feel that way if there were five more locations in town. After dinner we walked out into the steamy summer night as the first wave of noisy cyclists passed by, wearing fur vests and funky wigs.
240 N. Highland Avenue NE 404-589-1010