Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SAUC has sublime cuisine, if the service isn't superb, it's still a Michelin star spot at the Ohla Hotel in Barcelona (8-23-13)

We returned to the OHLA Hotel that evening and started off in Bar Ohla where our friend said the drinks were amazing. They were. But at 15Euros($20) a plop, they better be,
especially in a  city where you can have three courses for the same price!
I loved my SAVORY MARGARITA with Ocho Blanco Tequila, Jalapeno, Cactus Nectar, Lemon and a Smoked Salt Rim.
I was about to taste Will's PICNIC in JALISCO when Samuel sadly spilled his whole beautiful CHILL OUT all over the place. The little tables were so wobbly it was silly.
It took 10 minutes, but their drinks were replaced and I tasted Will's made from Tequila Reposado, Lemon Juice, Cointreau, Passion Fruit marmalade and was accompanied by a formal presentation of a sugared half of Passion Fruit which was caramelized by a small torch tableside...it was a stellar presentation. Samuel's CHILL OUT was all red fruits with apple, pineapple, lemon, soda and vanilla syrup. No alcohol brought the price down to 9,50Eruos($12.65), but they could have given more juice and less ice!
We moved upstairs to SAUC and its warm subdues dining room with only 12 tables. There was one captain and two waiters and sometimes they were around the corner in the long L-shaped room; this created an issue if we needed something, which is not good for a Michelin-starred establishment, and they were only at half occupancy.
Will & I ordered the TAST Menu at 78Euros with 3 apps, 4 mains, cheese and 2 desserts--what a deal; we asked for accompanying wines which were very reasonable at about 25 euros extra for the entire meal!
Samuel ordered the FRISIAN BEED TENDERLOIN with Provencal Herbs and Roasted Veggies. It came with a spicy avocado and red pepper purees, but he thought the meat tasted very odd. I have to admit that Frisian Beef is quite a different taste from the other cows we know. We explained and the captain graciously ordered to replace it. so he ordered a gorgeous burger which came from the Tapas Bar downstairs we had eaten at two days prior. They charged us only for the burger. A+ there.
As we sipped the last of our drinks we were offered Green Italian Olives (I had learned that Italians use Spanish olives for much of their oil, so this seemed an anomaly) on toothpicks propped into a small stone.
Alongside these were black olive gels which were spectacular.
Pa Tomat that omnipresent Catalan favorite, tomato bread arrived, but here with an emulsion of coconut, curry and crunchy ham pieces.
Our first appetizer was PARMESAN CURD with HERRING Caviar, Galician CLAMS and what I thought was melon, but was actually a chemically altered kind of cucumber.
Our first wine was a bright "Agaliu" from the south of Barcelona in Costers del Segre made from Macabeu by L'Olivera which was great with these intensely flavorful dishes with lots of acidity as well.
It lasted through the second starter of Creamy Duck FOIE GRAS Pate on ONION BISCUIT, Lemon and small jellied dots of Moscatelle Wine. It was another superb dish and we began to repeatedly revel over each bite.
We ran out of wine and finally got our server's attention and they poured a new white TRASCAMPANAS VERDELHO which lasted thru the third appetizer:
Pompadour of CRAB in foam of Tupinamba (Artichoke)
Our first main course was paired with TAYAIMGUT Sauvignon Blanc from Saint Joan de Midiona and had that green apple, citrus feel and was ideal with the SMOKED EEL TARTAR, Green Apple and Herring Caviar. The Green Apple was in the form of a sorbet and the whole dish just went smokey in my mouth and head to the extreme; we loved it.
CANNELLONI of Roasted DUCK with Emulsion of FOIE GRAS, Pear and Pine Nuts and truffles needed a RED wine, but they kept pouring the Sauvignon Blanc. We were later told this was due to the next course being fish and I said, one can always change wine colors and go back, even though in olden days this was taboo.
Roasted TURBOT came with a Potato &Bacon Terrine that was crispy delish and a Roasted Beet Puree. We moved to an A COROA Godello from the Valdeorras region. The fish was supreme, but we were ready for red wine and the big climax.
Spit-roasted BABY GOAT with Salsify, Root Veggies, Marrow Sauce & Gremolata was indeed BIG, but thankfully the portions were not large and it was paired with a wine we had requested as the hotel's Sales Manager's father owns the winery: QUMRAN 2011 is a Tempranillo from Roble in Ribiera del Duero where red wines rule. It was a delightfully big wine, but needed a bigger glass than the same white wine glasses we had all evening.
Catalan farmhouse cheeses were next and were a treat as we hadn't had really local ones much:
Serrat del Tormo was sheep
Serrat del Triade was cow
Cleda was a sheep with a distinctive mint flavor
and Artelac a gorgeous creamy goat that was quite aged as well.
Orange maremlade and Quince paste appeared with small coiled rolls
Samuel ordered the (SURPRISE!) CHOCOLATE FONDANT and declared it excellent
while we enjoyed a Red Wine and Peach Sorbet with Mascarpone Shredded Wheat in a Bird's Nest shape with Peach Infusion that was oh so refreshing.
The "TEXTURED FRUIT" Dessert came next with Strawberry, Lychee, Mint, Melon, Mango, Pirouettes, HardBoiled Egg, White Coconut Meringue and when described sounded weird, but was indeed an inventive creation. Capcanes Pansal del Calas 2010 D.O.Montsant was a wonderful dessert wine from Granatxa and Samso, a grape we had also discovered we loved again at the Abadal winery that morning.
Macaroons with Coconut Cream, White Chocolate with Maracuja, Chocolate BonBons with Hazelnuts, Carquimolis-biscuits of almond, pistachio and nuts(think nutty biscotti with toffee) sent us home MORE than full.
Don't you just love Barcelona!!