For those who like to try new takes on dining out, Barcelona Tapas offers something different.
The way Barcelona Tapas, 201 N. Delaware St., serves Spanish-style food breaks the mold of conventional restaurants. Rather than each person looking at a menu and ordering a main entrée, visitors to Barcelona view the menu together and order something to share. Portions are smaller than a full size meal but big enough that everyone can enjoy. When patrons are done with one course, called a tapa, they figure out what they would like next and then order that.
There are many advantages to having dinner this way, explains head chef Roger Duran: “A lot of people are into the small bites, one because it is more health conscious, and two it is very social and you can share it around.” Both points are valid. Part of our obesity problem comes from people ordering huge portions of food and then feeling obliged to finish. Ordering parts of the meal one at a time makes it less likely that someone will overindulge. As far as the eating style being social, a quick glance around the restaurant confirms Barcelona as a social butterfly’s natural habitat.
This style of dining is a Spanish tradition. It may have originated as a method of food accounting: “A tapa is a lid for a wine glass,” explains Duran. “When you order your first pintxo (small bite), the lid is flipped over and becomes your plate. Each pintxo has a stick, which you put in your tapa when you have eaten it. When you leave, the amount of sticks determines your cost.
My table tried several tapas. The first, Sopa de Alubias (black bean soup), might have been my favorite. It had cilantro, tomato, and sherry cream sauce on top, and was deliciously simple. Next, we tried pincho de pollo y chorizo, a tapa featuring chicken and chorizo sausage on a skewer over a cumin alioli sauce. Then we tried a Barcelona signature – solomillo con cabrales. It is beef tenderloin served with blue cheese, spinach and a specialty rioja reduction sauce (Note: I believe rioja is the Spanish equivalent of “ancient Chinese Secret,” because it’s darn good and the restaurant uses it on lots of dishes). Last but not least, we tried desert – the Montserrat chocolata brownie. It is a rich Spanish chocolate brownie with molten fudge inside, served with homemade whip cream and a strawberry. It may induce chocolate overdose.
All in all, everything I tried was delicious, and I’m sure that anything that you try should be good as well. Duran, who has 15 years of culinary experience and is a member of the prestigious American Culinary Federation (ACF), will insure that. He wanted me to relay a special message to Recorder readers: “On behalf of the ACF, I would like to extend an invitation to Barcelona Tapas.” For the best deal, visit on Tuesday night, when the restaurant offers “two for Tuesdays” where you get an appetizer, four tapas, and dessert for $30.
For more information, call (317) 638-8272.