Barceloneta

 

A First Look at a cavernous den of belly-filling tapas from the Pubbelly crew

barcelonetta

Sara Liss

The goods: Barceloneta, a raucous Spanish tapas bar in Sunset Harbor, is the third installment of the Pubbelly empire. Chef Juliana Gonzalez (La Broche) heads up the kitchen, keeping the cooking down-home and unpretentious – no foams or gelees here. The restaurant doubles at a gourmet market with products imported from Spain, including Manchego cheese, rice, pasta and olive oil.

Ambience: Located in the old Picnic space, Barceloneta has a rustic feel with wood paneling, chalkboard menus and long, wooden high-top tables. A small raw bar stocked with langoustines and oysters occupies a corner of the bar, while the open kitchen provides a clamorous exclamation point to the bustling dining room.

The grub: Spanish tapas with a focus on Catalonia. Food is served in small terracotta bowls, and massive jugs of red and white sangria stand at the ready in the back of the room. Prices are moderate: plates of serrrano ham can be had for as little as $3 while larger, more substantial dishes are $9-$36.

Dinner starts with complimentary pica pica, house-made marinated olives. Segue to plates of Iberico ham or Manchego and Idiazabal cheeses. Menu highlights include brandada de bacalao (a salt cod spread) served with a mini-loaf of Spanish bread; coca flatbread (pictured), topped with a rich melange of foie gras, grilled eggplant and chives; roasted padron peppers tossed with sea salt; piquillo peppers stuffed with garrotxa cheese; butifarra (house-made pork sausage) spiked with brandy and cream; gambas (prawns) with chocolate picada and garlic, and cazuela de mejillones, mussels in a saffron rouille with  tomato and garlic.

Save room for dessert – the torrejas (Spanish-style French toast) comes with a side of ice cream, while the chocolate soufflé packs a not-too-sweet punch.

Verdict: A cavernous den of belly-filling tapas from the Pubbelly crew.

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