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225 Park Ave. S. (E. 18th St.) Send to Phone
Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert goes Spanish at this Gramercy Park eatery.

Lunch & Dinner daily
  • Dress code: Business casual
  • Full bar
  • Reservations suggested

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Barca 18 Restaurant Review

: Barcelona is so hip that it's not even necessary to spell it in full. Barça is sufficient to tell that it's the place for Spanish, or more precisely, Catalonian food. The decorator has played successfully with three metallic pillars sustaining the high ceiling where the brouhaha of this vast, tiered Spanish-style brasserie evaporates making conversation possible, helped all the more by the well-separated tables. Orange chandeliers cast their light on the dark brown walls and on the round tables donned with leatherette of the same color. The very popular tapas are, of course, the attraction of Spanish food. Here they are served as appetizers hot or cold: Bacalao Coca, the Spanish rendition of the pizza, a thin dough topped with salt cod, grilled peppers, onions, olives and manchego cheese; Pimientos de Padron, fried green peppers; and Buñuelo de Bacalao, salt cod fritters with a saffron aïoli. Be aware olive oil is mucho involved in these preparations. The cold tapas are lighter, like the rare seared tuna in sherry vinegar or the simple but exquisitely refreshing marinated anchovies served on hearts of romaine. What would a Spanish restaurant be without paella? Executive chef Brian O'Donohoe (who has joined forces with celebrated Eric Ripert) does better: he offers three variations of it. The Paella Negra (Black Paella) cooked in the squid ink (which to us is the most authentic); the Paella de Langosta enriched with lobster, clams and chorizo (red sausage), its rice being cooked with saffron; and the Paella Barça for two with chicken added to the other ingredients. Also very Spanish is the Conejo, rabbit marinated and cooked on a slate. As expected, the wine list is rich with Spanish wines with a large selection of the local varietal, the Tampranillo. But the highlight of the wine list is to be found in the dessert wines with the sherries from Alvear (Oloroso, Pale Cream or Solera) to accompany---or not---the desserts. Service is swift and cool.
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