Saturday, August 24, 2013

Barcelona's CON MAJO can make food, but can't satisfy with service (8-21-13)

For our first dinner in Barcelona, we chose a well known seaside spot as their menu is very child-friendly and it is such a charming spot, everyone seems to love it there....except us. CAN MAJO (kahn mah-zho) ( has fabulous outdoor seating on the beach overlooking the Mediterranean with lots of fun street activity nearby. We had a small band, various entertainers (looking for tips), lots of rose-sellers, and even what seemed to be a non-ending big band dance-in right nearby, which was loads of fun to watch.
We ordered a selection of starters as we enjoyed a crisp MESTRES COQUET BRUT NATURE Cava, which of course, is the only sparkling wine one drinks in this region and fits so wonderfully with all the seafood.
Our server, Antonio recommended this and we were very happy. We also told him at the start, that unlike many tourists, we prefer to dine leisurely and will let him know when to fire up our main courses. Galician Style OCTOPUS arrived with the slices on top of potato slices sprinkled with paprika and a spice oil. One of the best pulpo dishes so far....will there be more?
Andalusian style DEEP FRIED ARTICHOKES were such a hit with Sam that I seemed to miss my last two slices as we enjoyed the Steamed GALICIAN COCKELS. Here they are called BIGAROS, and are larger than the ones we have had on the English seaside, which resemble snails more; these were like teeny weeny clams and just sprinkled with lemon they needed no other flavoring to mar the superb taste.
We asked Antonio to recommend a big white and he suggested a brilliant XAREL-LO 2011 from Finca Viladellops (the same as I had at lunch), but this was XARELLO XXX which is made from three reserve vineyards and gets 16months in oak. It was like a crisp white chardonnay wine with a hint of oak, but local and better.
At this time Antonio arrived to clear the plates and we said we wanted about 20 minutes between courses....well, he said that the food would arrive in 10 minutes and since we ordered a paella, it could not be kept warm. We were okay, but it appeared in less than a minute and I almost blew my top. The large pot with the CALDERO do BOGAVANTE a paella-bouillabaisse dish made with tones of lobster was a big problem for Will as the lobster was in shell and not easy to extract. Furthermore, there were tons of small shell bits in the fabulous rice/soup mixture which was a real pain.
Will went to the loo and mentioned our issue about the break to the manager who told him her should have told the waiter when we arrived; when he said he did, the manager shrugged him off.
At this same time, Antonio returned and I asked for "mas vino por favor," and he promptly turned on his heel and walked away. I had to get up to reach the bottle and interestingly enough, Antonio never returned all night.
The couple at the next table had ordered simple fish filets and got lemon water to wash their hands. We who had struggled with the messy shells, got nothing more than our one napkin. What gives?
We didn't want dessert as we were so upset, but gave in as Samuel wanted the (guess what) FONDANT au CHOCOLAT and we tried the TRES FLANS of Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry (which was actually just vanilla with a bit of strawberry puree). No hit here.
I do have to laugh at the translation of TARTE TATIN on the menu to "Cake Apple to French Style."
But all laugh aside, avoid Can Majo unless you really don't mind awful service. We left nothing for Antonio and gave the guy who served dessert only several Euros!