15 December 2007


I had heard nothing but good things about Barcelona before I checked it out, and I was not disappointed in any way with the German Village tapas joint. They offer a wide variety of vegetarian dishes alongside carefully crafted cocktails and exciting wines by the glass and bottle.

I think tapas are so much fun. You get to sit around a table and pass little plates around, sharing and discussing the merits of each dish.

Stories abound that tapas were developed in Spain as a snack for the ill King Alfonso the 10th to nosh on for sustenance, or that the good king wanted wine to be accompanied by food to prevent drunken revelry by the citizens. There is also a more practical tale that says that tapas were developed as a lid to keep flies out of wine glasses at the local Spanish taverns.

Although rooted in Spanish culture, tapas have been adopted by many different cultures. In Columbus, for example, places like the Burgundy Room serve tapas that have Asian and American culinary influences. Most of Barcelona's tapas are classically Spanish, but a few items have a more international flair.

My first dish fit this bill. Pictured above, the Catalan flatbread was like the Iberian take on bruschetta. It was a big piece of soft, crumbly bread grilled with olive oil and topped with caramelized onions, roasted peppers, capers and flecks of Manchego cheese. The flatbread was a sublime combination of savory notes with tangy pickled notes and the sweetness of the onions. This came after an amuse bouche pea and mushroom salad.

The spiced olives were pitted and seasoned with fennel, cumin, rosemary and chile flakes. They were tasty, with a few different varietals of green and black olives mingling together in the seasoning and the oil. The bread was served with an oil infused with tomato and herbs. It was also very tasty.

The patatas bravas are a very traditional Spanish dish. At Barcelona, the small fried potatoes are topped with a garlic aioli and a fiery tomato sauce, and the presentation was fantastic, with each of the sauces swirled on one side of the potatoes.

Again, though, there were many other tapas at Barcelona that are more internationally flavored. The soba noodle salad is a Japanese buckwheat dish with cucumbers and other greens in a lemon vinaigrette. It combines European and Asian flavors on the same plate with great success.

My final dish tasted unlike anything else I have ever eaten...and that's a very, very good thing. The chilled spiced peach soup was redolent with peaches. It has the consistency of apple sauce, and undercurrents of ginger and cinnamon. It was also an ingredient in one of the mixed drinks, which I'm upset I didn't get a chance to sample.

The service was excellent. The staff was very helpful. I was told that the chef could make a few special vegetarian additions to the menu, including a veggie paella. They made sure my delicate vegetarian sensibilities were well accounted for in the dining experience.

My favorite cocktail was the carrot cake martini, made from cream, amaretto, Goldschlager and something else I can't name. The liqueurs combined into something that tasted like creamy alcoholic vegetable dessert. I loved it. I was not as big of a fan of the white grape martini, made with white grape juice and Ciroc vodka. The featured by-the-glass tempranillo wine was excellent, showing notes of tobacco, leather and plum, all for about $8.

I didn't try dessert, but it looked good. The bar was also very lively. Barcelona has definitely earned its stripes, which include being recognized by Wine Spectator with their Award of Excellence and being ranked slightly low by Jon Cristensen in the Top 20 restaurants in Columbus. Check out my poorly lit pictures, and then definitely see for yourself.

Barcelona on Urbanspoon

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