ABOVE: Counter-clockwise, marinated anchovies, Mussels al Diablo, the rear dining room and tuna tartare.
BARCELONA WINE BAR: 222 SUMMER ST., STAMFORD
The lone torero, stoic, motionlessly taunting his prize, stood printed on a banner in front of 222 Summer St. for months, similarly beguiling passersby eager for what was to come: tapas and Spanish wine.
Barcelona Wine Bar has establishments in virtually every other city with a sizable population in Fairfield County, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before they expanded into Stamford. The Spanish tapas restaurant officially opened yesterday and has taken over a space on lower Summer St. which has seen something of a transformation in the last few months.
The restaurant features a large central, u-shaped bar and several booths with additional seating in front and on the street-side patio. A small dining room is also available for more traditional, quieter dining.
Barcelona carries over their chic, modern decor, accented with photography depicting the ritualized art of corrida, bullfighting being a central visual theme of the restaurant group.
Diners familiar with the other restaurants will also find the menu nearly identical, ranging from charcuteria plates, salads, full entrees and, of course, tapas, the main draw.
After deciding on a pitcher of sangria we went with a charcuteria plate [Manchego, chorizo and Jamon Serrano], anchovies with garlic and olive oil, tuna tartare, mussels and a plate of olives. I wouldn’t say we found ordering difficult, but there is a lot to choose from and it all sounds fantastic.
The mussels were a perfect garlicky, bacony dish and the tuna tartare is prepared with just the right amount of citrus and capers to contrast with the fish and olive oil. The fresh, marinated anchovies were my favorite – owing to their simplicity – drenched in garlic and olive oil, eaten alone or with warm bread.
Barcelona’s vast array of tempting menu options guarantees we will be back. Next time, hopefully, with a better understanding of the wine list.
POST SCRIPT: Check out the photoblog for a vignette from Summer St. last night.