Monday, March 1, 2010

Eat Another Day: Barcelona

Oh Astrophill, you fool. Why waste such perfect Petrarchian verse on the eyes of a woman? “When nature made her chief works,” surely it was New Haven’s Barcelona. Do Stella’s eyes serve tapas or blood sausage? How about riney jamon? Of course Stella offers the physical delights of any woman: her legs, buttocks, smile, and strong vacuuming arm. Astrophill-why bring sand to the beach, flour to the bakery, morons to the frat house? Allow us: When Nature made her chief work…

Barcelona resides somewhere in the seventh level of “The Sweet Spot.” The dance floor is too small for Barcelona to be considered a club and the food, too good for it to be a bar. The quality of the service and cuisine is fine dining, but the atmosphere too young and too hip to bring the in-laws too for an anniversary celebration. Barcelona is like that cool, down to earth girl you met as a freshman in college; a perfect combination of sexy and sincere. Great comic book collection; lover of The Blue Album. The best aspect of this bizarrely perfect situation: she talks “Star Trek” in public. As a matter of fact this not only describes Barcelona, but its clientele as well. Barcelona is packed with beautiful intelligent women engaging in girl’s night outs and cougarly prowls. Professional bloggers have a term for this: “Clam Bake.”

Barcelona is an upscale restaurant chain. Stop right there. Not all chain restaurants are created equal: the staff won’t sing Happy Birthday over a frozen cake. Just think of it as a great restaurant in New Haven with a twin in South Norwalk. Barcelona is located on the corner of Crown and Temple in a non-descript building in an area known for gaudiness. Barcelona feels exclusive because it doesn’t advertise itself with twenty foot banners, hired human statues, or wooden bears. You have to know what you are looking for.

Hans and Mendez sat at the bar and received service Meineke can’t provide. The bartender is like Muhammad Ali: he pours cocktails like a butterfly and serves shots like a bee. The bloggers chose Morcilla Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, a Warm Octopus salad, and La Leyenda cheese soaked in brandy. The Warm Octopus Salad served with hot potatoes had a salty, smoked taste matching the crunchy texture. The cheese is also dry and smoky, paired excellently with a grape jelly cube. The blood sausage stuffed in a pepper and a complimentary dish of chicken empanadas, also smoky in taste prompted Hans and Mendez to peek into the open kitchen. Was Cyprus Hill working? The menu at Barcelona is a welcomed change. Where else in New Haven can one order blood sausage? Warm octopus is also hard to find. Not only are the selections rare, but so was the quality. Some of the selections are foreign enough that we did not know what to expect from the dish. Our server Jack saw our poorly concealed bewilderment and invited our questions, providing insight. While sipping on Kir Royale, Hans was pleasantly surprised to hear “Lay Lady Lay,” a smooth Dylan jam which hinted at the hits yet to come. The bloggers slowly enjoyed a glass of Ulacia, a wine with citrus tones and Allagash, a floral beer which tasted like a Dove soap bar (no offense to Dove). Mendez liked it, but a floral beer isn’t for everyone.

Barcelona’s music is scientifically chosen to hit every pleasure zone in one’s body like a massage. A steady supply of drinks helps too. The set list is every enjoyable contemporary hit played at an exhilarating pace and volume. Somewhere between the D.J.s rapid fire delivery of top forty and merengue, a voice found its way into Mendez’s head. Not the demonic one (which can be cured by a heavy medicine regiment), or the voice of a giant bunny (which he keeps around for fun), but a new, non-psychotic voice speaking with an Irish brogue. An eternal voice. It whispered, “Pierce Brosnan is having more fun than you are.” He looked around to make sure that the D.J. was not playing the infamous “get the gun, get the gun,” Judas Priest record. She wasn’t.

“Pierce Brosnan? The guy from ‘Mrs. Doubtfire?,’” Mendez cried aloud on the dance floor. We are sure Pierce is having a great time riding a white steed, unbreakable Picture Day comb clenched between his teeth, but, no one had more fun Friday night than us. Hans and Mendez did not wipe the grins off of their faces until the next morning’s hangover. We danced with each other. We danced with strangers. Our Charleston, Logan’s Run, and Water Sprinkler is noticed, respected, envied. Women look for wedding bands, men rings to kiss. If The Union League Café is rum, sodomy and the lash; Barcelona is Jack Daniels, swift vaginal intercourse, and eye lashes.

This is the place to go to do Friday nights right. Being a loyal reader you probably do not waste your time and dollar at establishments such as Hula Hanks, but you might at bars like The Blue Pearl or Rudy’s. Both fun places, but the type that leave you wanting more. You know those evenings, wishing someone extraordinary would walk through the door when the height of your buzz rendezvous with “Buddy Holly” coming over the jukebox. Barcelona has ended the pub crawl in New Haven forever. If you are after the perfect night, Barcelona is one stop shopping.