Friday, July 31, 2009

Txikito - Review

Txikito - Highly Not Recommended
240 9th Ave
New York, NY 10001-6602
Phone: (212) 242-4730

After our killer trip to Spain, I figured now would be the perfect time (or in this case not so perfect time) to check out Alex Raij's new Basque style restaurant Txikito. Chef Raij previously was the head chef of Tia Pol - my favorite tapas joint in NYC; where some of the dishes there equaled some of those we had in Spain. Reading the menu here brought back memories of San Sebastian, but unfortunately the flavors did not - still relatively tasty stuff. What killed me was the price points - way too expensive for the amount/quality you get. Overall, I give the restaurant a 60/100.

Our Menu
1) Patatas Mentaiko crisp fries w/spicy cod roe mayo *
2) Atuna
little sandwich of basque tuna, piquillo oil, sweet onion *
Bocata warm sandwich of unsmoked bacon, melted cheese ***
4) Arraultza sofrito, palacios chorizo, quail egg **
5) Duck Breast with Watercress and Corn Salad

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) Delicious, crispy fries - potato flavor is well pronounced and great hint of olive oil. The spicy cod roe mayo was a nice combo. This was definitely a refined version of the same dish they serve at yakitori taisho albeit three times the price, but not three times the impact though.
2) The chef, Alex Raij, is known for sandwiches (see uni panini at El Quinto Pino) and this one was decent, not great. After visiting Spain, the tuna should be extremely flavorful and creamy (I still have some cans from Spain and mine are way better). This was a tad dry, but the overall flavors of the piquillo oil and caramelized onion made it tasty. The winner was the bread though - really amazing...crispy, great flavor, and a nice chew too it.
3) A completely WTF sandwich. The unsmoked bacon had such an intense pork flavor which married perfectly with the cheese sauce. And obviously the amazing bread again.
4) Pretty fun combo. The chorizo was great and definitely brought me back to Spain. Breaking the quail yolk made a great sauce covering for the chorizo.
5) Flavorful dish, but it didn't work out so well. Duck breast was pretty dry, which was strange since the meat was nice and pink. The watercress and corn salad was nice, but the corn had the texture of canned corn and the carrots had that same unappealing texture.

Overall Restaurant Experience (60/100)
  • Food 8.0/10 – Food was relatively flavorful and pretty fun. The bocata sandwich was to die for though.
  • Service 7.5/10 – Our waitress was very nice, but she was lost at times - quoting specials which were already crossed off hours ago and not really sure what to recommend. Everyone was still extremely nice as the runners would even ask how things were. The host also apologized for our dry duck dish - we didn't send anything back, but he heard us say the dish was dry. Very nice guy and he offered free desserts. Food came out at a relatively decent pace.
  • Atmosphere 7.5/10 – Very loud and very crowded - place seats maybe 40-50 at the tables and another 10-12 at the bar. It seemed liked all couples (and groups of couple) at the restaurant. Place was relatively dark, so it was hard to describe the place but in the front there's a tiny L shaped marble bar where the bartenders are doing the high pours of sidra. There's also space against the wall where people can stand, but you constantly get bumped into. We got there at 7:15 on a Friday with no reservation and were seated in an hour 15.
  • Price 2.0/10 – This was the biggest problem with the whole restaurant - the price was completely outrageous for the drinks. In Spain, sidra and txakolina are fun glasses of sparkling wine, but it was about 1 euro at all the places I visited. Here, they're $9 or $12 which normally would be fine, but they try to replicate Spain and pour you the equivalent of 3-4 sips - maybe 2 joke. Plus, the Sidra served here isn't from Spain, but New Hampshire. Completely, WTF in a bad way. The food/service would have been a barely acceptable price point.
Closing Comments
It's so sad, since I loved Tia Pol so much but I will 100% never come back here even if the bocata sandwich is one for the ages. I have a price point threshold which Porthos and I talk about all the time. The more expensive the food is; the higher expectation I will have. Here, I guarantee for the same price, I will find another Spanish style restaurant that will make me much happier. The price grade is measures if I'm 100% happy to pay for my experience (food, service, atmosphere) and at Txikito - I 100% was not...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spain Wrap Up

After sitting and thinking about it, Spain may be my favorite place on Earth right now. The people are so cool and laid back, the buildings magnificent, and the food is 1000% my style. This style of cuisine is definitely overtaking Italian as my favorite right now.

I need to go back ASAP and try:
  • The three michelin star greats to see what they're about - El Bulli, Mugaritz, and Arzak.
  • Go in search of cheeses - I know the cabrales and the manchego, but what else does Spain have to offer?
  • Get some real paella - I've had glimpses of some spectacular rice at Moo, but I need to go to Valencia and get the real deal.
  • Go to vineyards and find some great wines
  • Eat some baby eels, a delicacy that the Spaniards love
  • La Cuchara de San Telmo - because it's my happy place of a restaurant

Ever find a hair in your food? Well...

...look what happened to this poor guy at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

La Cuchara de San Telmo

La Cuchara de San Telmo - Highly Recommended
Plaza Valle Lersundi (off of 31 de Agosto)
San Sebastian, Spain

Let's cut to the chase. This is by far my favorite restaurant of all time. I've been to some great restaurants in the past - Le Bernardin, Daniel, Jean Georges, French Laundry plus numerous Michelin starred restaurants in Italy and France. But, this place just does it for me. We're not talking about white table cloths and dudes/dudettes in tuxedos serving you, this place is a bar that serves up spectacular flavors and textures. Everyone is so chill there too and just having a good time eating and drinking - kinda like going to a sporting event. La cuchara reminded me of a combo between Au Pied de Cochon and Ko - huge flavors in a relaxed environment. Overall I give the restaurant a 96/100.

Our Menu (my best guess of what we ordered - apologies since the menu was a tad blurry and I don't know the Basque language Euskara)
1) Foie Gras (foie salteado con compota de manzana) **
2) Duck Breast (magret asado con manzana) **
3) Beef Cheek (carrillera de ternera al vino tinto) ***
4) Melted Cheese (queso de cabra a la plantxa relleno)**
5) Duck Confit (confit de pollo "luma gorri")
6) Sweet Bread (molleja de ternera asada au "tximi-txurri") **
7) Scallop Bacon (vieira "ttoro" en vuelta en tocineta bellota) *
8) Pigs Ears
(oreja de ciberico asada, prensada) ***
9) Pork Ribs (costilla de ciberico lacada de vinagre de modena) **
10) Chocolate Ganache (ganatxe de txokolate amargo naranja) **

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) The Spaniards love their foie gras and this place does it up right. Great flavor and crunchy from the salt and sear on the outside, but creamy and fun on the inside. Nice with the apple puree.
2) Magret duck made sense with the foie and this was cooked perfectly. Solid duck flavor and surprisingly tender.
3) A complete WTF moment here. Like my knees buckled and I had a hard time seeing after eating this. Uber tender beef cheek and the flavors were so intensely beefy - ridiculous stuff.
4) Kinda like a hunky of cheese that was torched up on the top kinda like a cheese creme brulee. A great fun dish and we 86'd it at around 9pm, so obviously a very popular dish.
5) Tasty duck confit. Not great, but still nice.
6) A great, great sweetbread. They got it so perfect over here. So crispy on the outside, but light and creamy on the inside - really perfect.
7) Solid bacon and scallop dish. Scallop was nicely cooked and slightly sweet, but kinda lost the scallop flavor with the bacon though.
8) Another ridiculous WTF moment. Fatty, meaty, and soft cartilage - a mix of great textures. Huge, huge pork flavors as well. So ridiculous...
9) Tender and meaty pork ribs. Pork flavor is decent, but seems to be drowned out a tad with the vinegar though.
10) Crazy ridiculous chocolate flavors lightened up with the oranges. So rich, chocolaty, and delicious.

Overall Restaurant Experience (96/100)

  • Food 9.5/10 – I can't remember another time where there were so many great dishes sprinkled with some WTF dishes (Bar Boqueria not withstanding). The weird thing is everything was so rich and intense, but I don't know if it's the use of vinegar or the fact that the plates were small, but my palate was never weighed down and I wanted to eat more. Beautiful plates as well.
  • Service 9.5/10 – You order from the bartenders and supposedly they're arses to non Spanish speakers. I didn't have a problem at all, but I did rock my terrible Spanish. Key phrase "que me recomienda" - what do you recommend. Also, the Berlitz phrasebook helped a ton with menu items. Any who, our bartender was extremely helpful laughing at how much I almost blew my load eating the food. And watching the cooks is pretty cool as well. Not sure, how they do it - just 3 dudes back there (one on la plancha, one on the boilers, and one on plating) and everything was out of control good.
  • Atmosphere 9.8/10 – Again, this is way more type of environment. Everyone is so chill there having a great time laughing and enjoying the sick food. Very tiny bar with no seats, but you basically eat at the bar or the tiny shelf space behind the bar. Also, as mentioned you get to see into the tiny ass kitchen - no bigger than a tiny bathroom. Got there at 8pm (early for Spaniards) and it was moderately busy - like 15 people. Went back after the real dinner at 9:45 and the place was crazy packed - like 30-40 people. Crowd consisted of groups of fellas and lasses as well as a bunch of couples. Majority were Spanish, but we met some Americans and I heard some German in there as well.
  • Price 10.0/10 – Each plate is about 3 euro and is a good 3-5 bites. The sidra and tintos are about 1 euro also. All together this probably cost 40 euros. By far the best deal on the planet...
Closing Comments
This place was so good we went back after eating at another full sit down restaurant...and proceeded to order 7 more dishes. I wish I found this place earlier cause I would've seriously gone back everyday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pintxo Alternatives

Like I said yesterday, I could only take so much of the same fake crab, mayo, tuna, anchovy, sardines, and pepper combos. So, here are some other pintxo alternatives we tried.

This was by far the best alternative if you're sick of rocking the pintxo/tapas night and day. We roamed the markets and the phenomenal upscale supermarket Don Serapio did it's trick.

Highlights included:
  • Doughnut Peach - sugary sweet and ridiculous juicy. The best peach I've ever had
  • Jamon Iberico Recebo - chewy at first that somehow ends up melting in your mouth. The funk is what makes this thing amazing. Kinda like a blue cheese type funk with huge pork flavor. I totally dug it although it was crazy expensive - about 79 euros per kg.
  • Collar Bellota - basically the best chorizo I've ever had. Incredibly flavorful and ridiculously tender.
  • Mousse pato al oporto - chicken liver mousse with port. Creamy and huge flavors with the sweet port and rich chicken livers.
  • Bread - great flavor, crisp crust, and perfect chewy on the inside. All for 1 euro!

Chinese Food

Ok, I know this sounds ridiculous but we wanted to rock the Chinese food for lunch. Again, we were all tuna/mayo/fake crab'd out, so we decided to check this Chinese joint out - there's a ton in San Sebastian. Food was definitely more of the stuff you get in the burbs, heavy on the corn starch thick sauce with a Spanish twist - everything was overly vinegary. Still satisfying to have some tea and white rice.


I know eating at McDonald's in Spain sounds ridiculous, but we were at the airport flying back to JFK. I was thinking of rolling pintxo's / tapa one last time, but I couldn't do it. So, we settled on good ol' McDonald's and the McDonald's Cafe Menu. Never seen the CBO (chicken, bacon, and onion) before, but it was delicious and I had songs of Born In the USA going through my head. Is McDonald's a curse or a dream to the world? On that day, it was a dream, but on most it's usually a curse...

Monday, July 27, 2009

San Sebastian

After my most excellent adventure in Barcelona, we traveled to San Sebastian - a city that has more Michelin multi-starred restaurants per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. While I flew to San Sebastian for the high-end food, I fell in love with the pintxo bar scene instead.

Picture this my fellow dudes and dudettes - old school narrow cobble stoned streets with about 10+ pintxo bars on every single block - have to be at least 80 in town. People basically pop into each pintxo joint, grab some drinks and quick eats, then repeat all night long. Think of it like a weird hodge podge of drunken musical chairs with an all you can eat buffet type of feeling. The kicker is that the sidra and wines are about 1 euro and each pintxo/tapas plate is around 2-3 euros each. What you'll see is either items skewered with a toothpick (pintxo), stuff on top of bread (montadito), or small plates of cooked food (I think tapa?). Phenomenal deal and great times...

I'll explain the etiquette as well, since we did not know what to do at first. Most places have plates of food laid out for you. Ask for a plate and start picking. There's an honor system of how much you eat, but they still know...always watching, even if they have their back to you. It was rare but there was occasionally a place that asked you what you ate, so make sure you pay attention. Also, try to get food from plates that come out more recently and avoid plates that sit out there for a long time with no one eating. The final thing I can say is "don't blow your load" eating 20+ items. Sample like 2-3 bites and bounce...if the one you liked best was 3-4 pintxo bars ago, go back! You're an adult and you deserve it ;)

Any who, since we visited about 20+ places, I'll just list out the places that were great and the places that sucked. Btw - although it was hella fun, you do see a lot of the same stuff which can get old if you stay more than 2-3 man can only take so much fake crab, mayo, tuna, anchovy, sardines, and pepper combos. Also another annoying note, be prepared for the smokers since they're allowed at most of the tapas bars...some places like Alona Berri ban the smokers though.

Alona Berri - Highly Recommended
Bermingham 24, 20001, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain‎
Phone: +34 943 290 818‎
Comments - The most interesting of the pintxo joints although off the main section (old town district). Really playing with textures and flavors - definitely more of the sweet and sometimes sour flavors. Pretty delicious stuff, but come here for the hot food which really rock. He's famous for his cooked uni cream and it's pretty delicious, but his beef cheek was spectacular.

Bar Bergara Gros - Highly Recommended
C/ General Arteche / Artetze Jeneralaren Kalea 8, 20002
Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain‎
Phone: +34 943 275 026‎
Comments - We ended up finding this place through the recommendation of a cab driver (Alona Berri was closed for our 2nd attempt). This place is definitely more of a locals joint and it is the best example of the classic pintxo/tapas in my opinion. This wasn't playful, inventive food like Alona Berri, but just solid representations of the pintxo/tapas. Example - loads of places did the tuna mayo combo, but the ones at Bar Bergara were head and shoulders about everyone else. Every dish was like that here...great stuff.

Irutuxlo - Recommended
C/ Puerto / Portu Kalea 9, 20003, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain‎
Phone: +34 943 426 208‎
Comments - Came here for the uni which was pretty sub par after trying Alona Berri's. What was spectacular was the delicious rice and foie gras dish. I would say it's basically like a well done mushroom risotto topped with solid foie gras.

Astelena - Highly Recommended
C/ Iñigo / Eneko Kalea 1, 20003
Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain‎
Phone: +34 943 425 245‎
Comments - The pintxos here are solid, but what kicks massive ars are the hot plates. Spectacular pieces of duck and amazing savory crispy crepes stuffed with foie gras and mushrooms. This place is constantly packed and the guys behind the bar are difficult to get a hold of though...slight dicks

Bernardo Etxea - Highly Not Recommended
C/ Puerto 7, 20003
Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain‎
Phone: +34 943 422 055‎

Comments - Our concierge recommended Bernardo Etxea as a high quality sit-down restaurant and man was she was way off. The food was serviceable (not great), but the prices were way out of control for the area (23+ euro per plate). We ordered two entrees and took off immediately afterwards.

Restaurante Ubarrechena - Highly Not Recommended
Address: Can't find it and don't remember where it was...just avoid it if you see it!
Comments - Ashamed as we were, I was sick of pintxos after 3-4 days of day and night eating this same stuff. So, I wanted some paella to break up the monotony. We should have known this was a bad idea as there was a huge sign on the street advertising paella. We didn't learn though and had some very subpar paella. Rice was soupy and no socarrat on the bottom. Seafood was very old looking and quite funky...definitely didn't touch it. Place was packed though, but do not be fooled!

Heladeria La Veneziana - Highly Recommended
Calle de Ramiro Gómez Garibay 4
Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain
Phone: +34 943 422 116‎
Comments - There are plenty of gelato places in San Sebastian, but this was our favorite in terms of texture and flavor - pistachio had huge flavors and great textures. Pretty f'n delicious and better than the excellent Gelateria Boulevard. Funny thing is they recreate flavors of the tiny chocolate snacks like ferrer rocher and thin mints.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mall Food

Just about every mall in NJ has a Nathan's HotDog joint.
I kinda dig it. Expectations are met and you get a feeling of July 4th in every bite.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

"Play on Words" I guess

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Saturday, July 25, 2009


DBGB - Highly Recommended
299 Bowery St
(between Houston St & 1st St)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 460-5777

Couldn't be happier to recommend this casua
l dining spot that's in a brand new building across the Whole Foods on Houston (below the east village)
Everything my table ordered and was served wa
s outstanding.

- French Bread (Baked in house) **
- Merguez *
- Boudin Basque (Blood Sausage) **
- Bordalaise Sausage (Pork, Mushroom, Bacon stuffed Sausage) ***
- Fromage de Tete (Head Cheese) **
- Pork Rillette
- Pate de Campagnard *
- Chorizo **
- The Frenchie ***
- The Yankee **
- Sundays

There was the right amount of casualness to the serious food being plated in front of us.
Every table there was there for the food and not for the scene or space to just simply hang.
So for a foodie, it's a good thing.
My table and I also peeked into the kitchen, and were glad to see the corporate chef and the corporate pastry chef both there overlooking the stations and making sure things were being done right.
Good to know the right people were working in the back.

And finally, surprisingly, they had one of my favorite beers on tap at the bar, Greenflash West Coast IPA.
And yes, it paired amazingly well with the sausages.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I was in Seattle last weekend for a friend's wedding.
It was my first time to visit since being a little kid traveling with my parents.
Naturally, I asked trusted friends of where to visit and there were 3 places I was told to not miss.

One was
Elliott's Oyster House

1201 Alaskan Way # 101
Seattle, WA 98101-2976
(206) 623-4340

2 was

Armandino's Salumi
(owned and operated by Mario Batali's dad)
309 3rd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104-2620
(206) 621-8772

and the third was Pike Place Market.

I'll start with Elliott's. Without a doubt, the best Oyster Bar I've ever been to.
My wife and I ended up ordering (and devouring) 3 dozen oysters and 2 steamed dungenous crabs.
What a treat. We had every single oyster on the menu and every single one had a distinct characteristic.
From clean and briny to rich and creamy. These oysters were off the wall delicious.
Aramis has a great write up on Dudes if you missed it.

Salumi on the other hand was a disappointment. The reason was, it wasn't open.
They take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off... and you guessed it, we were the for those 3 days.
Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

And finally the fresh produce mecca known as Pike Place Market.
When you leave fruits to ripen on the trees and vines, you get superior products.
The climate over on the Pacific Northwest is pristine for various fruits and vegetables. And it shows in the local produce. The rich sun beating down on the fields, literally cooking the fruits to perfection.
So why can't we get that here in the east coast?
Well one reason is, we don't demand it. Simple economics.
We are sensitive to price and that dictates market.
It costs less to transport lower quality goods from the west coast and feed us here in the east coast, than to harvest superior quality goods here in the east coast and eat them here in the east coast. The cost of land, the per capita days for oportune farming factored by the days of sunshine, the amount of rain, etc... all tip the scale and give the west coast the advantage.

So what produce companies do, they buy fruits from the farmers that haven't ripened yet, and load them in containers heading to their mass distribution hubs where they are separated, processed and repacked for individual supermarkets (sometimes across country). All timed to ripen when displayed at the markets.
If the fruit isn't getting neither the sun nor the nutrients from the plant to ripen in it's final stage, you are nowhere near it's full potential in sweetness and flavor. The glucose and fructose have not yet begun to fully mature and that's what we east coasters have to deal with.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chillin' and Relaxin'

I had an hour to kill Tuesday after work, and before meeting the boys up at Hearth, so I stopped by at Locanda Verde for a little pregame eats.

- Rabbit Terrine **
- Chicken Liver on Toasted Bread
- Porchetta
(The Chicarones that came with the Porchetta) **

All in all, it was pretty good food. The 3 dishes ran me $60 though. So in that light, it was an expensive snack that is hard to justify doing again.
I really wanted to see what Andy C. was doing these days while teamed up with Vito Corleone (Robert DeNiro). Although the dishes were executed very well, they were almost more French to me, than Italian.
The Rabbit Terrine was studded with bits of Foie Gras, the Chicken Liver was ultra smooth and garnished with brandy soaked raisins and pickled shallots, and the Porchetta was thinly sliced roasted lean pork loin with 3 or 4 bits of cracklins.

The part that really made me want to leave was the ambiance. A ton of corporate d-bags on dates flashing their wallets to impress the secretary or girlfriends they were with. The vibe was a close clone of Stone Rose, but with better food. The waitstaff were 3 or 4 star restaurant rejects who knew their drink menu by heart but lacked the penchant of the cuisine. Which is most important to me.

So after this hefty snack, I headed over to Hearth with Aramis and met up the rest of the boys for the Piggie Prix Fixe.
Advertised 3 course for $42 + Drinks and Tax... it was a cool $70 walking out the door.
The food wasn't bad by any means, but I felt it wasn't something I couldn't make at home.
And for $70 a head, thanks but no thanks. I'd rather make it at home.

- Amuse Bouche "Fava Bean Soup Shooter"
- Pork Terrine with Frisee *
- Suckling Pig Roast with Beans and Spinach

Perhaps I'm grossly generalizing and haven't had Hearth's tried and true dishes which the James Beard Foundation adores... but I just didn't see it.
In my case, more often than not, Prix Fixe meals come short of expectations.
After all, it's a way for the restaurant to advertise without really spending the $$ on print ads and or other media. They lure you with the low fixed cost and can cookie cut meals for everyone.

In summary, the night was a success. We got to meet up with great friends and had warm meal with drinks. A chance to catch up and even discover common interests... Keyword, "Heather".

And a dudes night topped off with a trip to 53rd and Broadway never disappoints either.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bar Inopia - Recommended

Bar Inopia - Recommended
C/ Tamarit 104
08015 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 934 245 231

Bar Inopia is the restaurant of Albert Adria, pastry chef of the world renowned El Bulli restaurant which is the immediate reason I wanted to check it out. Although this restaurant is owned by the Brother's Adria, there is not a foam to be seen any where. Instead, this place has the best canned ingredients and does some solid tapas. Overall, I give the restaurant a 86/100.

Our Menu
1) Gilda - anchovy, peppers, olives **
2) Chicharricos de cerdo - pork cracklings *
3) Ensalada de tomate con cebolla tierna y ventresca de bonito Tuna, Tomato, and Scallion Salad ***
4) Patates Braves *
5) Croquettas **
6) Bomba de l’Eixample ***
7) Bikini de Pernil *
8) Piña con piel de lima y melaza de caña ***
9) Cireres al Perfum *
10) Poulpe a la Galicia

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) Gilda is the classic pintxo that you see in a lot of pintxo and tapas bars. Pintxo being the tiny bites held together by a toothpick. A really fun dish with salty meaty anchovies combined with crunchy and sour peppers with a great olive.
2) Basically, pork cracklings that were store bought. Nothing special here, but still fun.
3) This is the first stand out WTF dish. The canned tuna here was out of site - great tuna flavor, really rich, and turns from meaty to almost creamy. The combination of the tomato and scallions were such a revelation that they really perfectly matched. Definitely a dish I will try to recreate.
4) Supposedly, the best patatas braves according to Batali - basically fried potatoes with a creamy and spicy sauce. These were decent, but no where near the best - flavors of the potato and the sauce were a little underwhelming . Supriginsly, the best I've ever had were at Tia Pol in NYC when the place first opened up.
5) Insanely creamy croquettes. Slightly crispy on the outside and creamy and light on the inside. Flavors was decent, but the texture was dynamo.
6) Another WTF dish. Again, slightly crispy on the outside, a creamy thin layer of potato, and inside flavorful really moist ground beef (flavorings of cumin) and spicy sweet sauce. Delicious stuff. Nice play of textures and flavors for each of the well constructed layers.
7) A good ham and cheese sandwich. Nuff said.
8) A ridiculously wonderful dessert. Sweet, juicy pineapple topped with lime zest and molasses which added a nice citrusy and sweet kick. Completely wonderful on the palate.
9) We saw everyone eating these cherries and we had to have some. Cherries were steeping in a liquorice liquor and sprayed with some more of the liquor combo at the end. Very bright, pleasant combo which also made the cherries very juicy.
10) These ocotopi were incredibly tender, but had obsolutely zero flavor. Kinda bummer...the olive oil was incredibly rich though.

Overall Restaurant Experience (86/100)
  • Food 8.6/10 – Expecting a phenomenal tapas bar, but ended up with a solid one instead. The canned tuna was out of this world, but everything else was mainly good with some being great. The fried dishes had some ridiculously good textures though.
  • Service 8.5/10 – The servers were very nice and incredibly helpful. It was funny that they looked like NASCAR drivers wearing the bar inopia t-shirt with a ridiculous amount of sponsors.
  • Atmosphere 7.5/10 – A narrow white room with only one table. Around the bar, their are stools but around the back you can eat, but it's standing room only. In the front of the bar, you see all the cooks preparing the food for you like most tapas restaurants. Crowds consisted mainly of young couples - there was one group of middle aged women. Big problem is there is no reservation (only for the big table) and the wait is absurd. About 45 minutes for a Tuesday night at 7pm.
  • Price 7.5/10 – Not too pricey as the whole meal was 70 euro for the both of us. However, comparing to other tapas bars it is very very expensive - and most importantly not that much better.

Closing Comments
Barcelona Girl warned me that this place is great for the canned products, but everything else is pretty average. Too some extent she's probably right and I don't think I would go again based on the wait. Too many other great tapas joints to check out...