Tuesday, August 27, 2013

LA TERRAZA at the Hotel CLARIS makes a truly tasty treat in Barcelona (8-22-13)

Dinner that evening was at LA TERRAZA in our lovely Hotel Claris(http://www.hotelclaris.com/#!en/restaurants/la-terraza-del-Claris) where you have an outdoor setting (it is partially covered) overlooking the roofs of Barcelona which can't be beat on a beautiful summer evening (temps in the 70's). The hotel manager has been a business associate of mine for many years, so when we arrived at the table, Maria Rosa had sent a complimentary bottle of JUVE I CAMPS Millesimee 2009 CAVA which is made from Chardonnay. The Cava grapes usually used don't include Chardonnay, so this was a nice and welcome change. Badoit isn't available here so we opted to skip the Vichy Catalan or Perrier and went for the still Viladrau, which is just perfect and has no saltiness at all like it's fizzy sister.The manager Jon was most helpful and guided us as the menu here is a la carte (not tapas) with a wide variety.
As we were about to order we smelled cigarettes from a table nearby, but Jon Assured us they guy was leaving, we were relieved as outdoor dining in Spain allows smoking and can be a real bummer when you are trying to smell, taste and eat a meal.
An amuse arrived of CODFISH CREAM with TOMATO. It looked like a yogurt cup with the red fruit at the bottom, but this was oh so much more. The Bacalao cream was rich and creamy and the tomato "confit" at the bottom was bursting with flavor to counter the creamy richness. The breads were tasty black olive, sunflower and ciabatta.
Will ordered the spectacular SEA BASS CEVICHE (Ceviche de Lubina) which was the best ceviche of sea bass I have ever tasted and sprinkled with gorgeous fresh local shoots. My WAGYU CARPACCIO with Mustard Sauce and Parmesan was sprinkled with Pine Nuts, Sea Salt & Greens as well. The meat was the most tender ever in a carpaccio and the flavor burst in my mouth.
We moved on to a bottle of TOBELOS 2008 TEMPRANILLO that Jon suggested and fell in love with its jammy at the end in the mouth flavor. It was a truly perfect pairing with my GUINEA FOWL with Asparagus & Preserved Tomato which came peeled and cooked but bursting with flavor, just like the tomato in the amuse. It's so nice to have tomatoes that taste like they should. Will opted for the CHIPIRONES, which is a smaller SQUID than Calamari and arrived with those oh so fabulous ST PAU BEANS we had for lunch the day prior. I think that's why he ordered the dish!
Samuel chose the VEAL TENDERLOIN cooked with Sage which was supposed to have Gnocchi, but Jon offered Samuel fries instead and that was a no-brainier.
At some point a couple arrived at a far away table, but the guy's cigar smoke magically seemed to waft right up to our table. Luckily the breeze was strong and it was not too bad. One day, I hope that all this smoke will stop and people who dine can enjoy their food outdoors as well.
A pre-dessert arrived in the form of a small CHOCOLATE MOUSSE with whipped cream and Gianduja nibs. Jon suggested P.A.R. a vinho naranja or orange wine from Bodega Igleasias in Condado Heulva. Will did not care for this orange flavored treat, but it was very Grand Marnier/Cointreau in style and I liked it, but not a ton. It is a bit cloying after a lot.
For dessert we all shared the WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUISSE with PASSION FRUIT which was a cookie-bottomed mousse with a fruit puree as well as fresh passion fruit and berries on the side with an almond tuille. YUMMY!
We rolled down the two flights to our room and to bed. These late dinners (830pm is when restaurants often open) were starting to take their toll.......