08015 Barcelona, Spain
After days of strolling the streets of portside Barcelona, late night tapas and happenstance meals (some wonderful, some mediocre) we headed for something a little more high brow. Ferran Adria's newest restaurant is located in his home town of Barcelona and has a circuslike atmosphere and an impenetrable velvet rope. Well, kind of impenetrable. You can make reservations months in advance and barring that you can request to be squired into 41° next door, Adria's darkly luxurious bar with a wide range of nibbles and a playful drink program.
Drinks start on with the right ice. Ice with as little oxygen as possible frozen into the giant cube from which smaller chunks are chipped off all evening long. Note the glassy appearance.
Salted air margarita.
Our bartender adds the salted air made from, well, salt & a lime fluid with soy lecithin for foaming...
...atop the lightest most well balanced margarita you may ever have the joy of tasting.
The bull motif is in full disco effect.
Plating for the liquid olives.
Liquid olives are served in an olive oil bath barside...
...and scooped gently into our personal spoons. Despite what the bartender insisted, that Ferran's olives are the original and really better than Jose's, really, they were the same. Delightful and yet kinda weird.
The oysters were by far the highlight of the visit (aside from the drinks, which were sublime).
With salmon roe in a miso broth.
Something and a little of something else. I stole a copy of the menu and promptly lost it. Or lost it later in my office after returning to LA. You tell me.
Kim chee marinated oyster on the half shell.
Japanese inspired seaweed and crispy sesame seeds.
A crispy rice treat with spiciness on the outside, this reminded me of Rice Crispies repurposed and seasoned with Lucas.
This absolutely threw D over the edge. All the creations at 41° are inspired by world cuisines, Catalan and elsewhere. The above crispy rice treat was shaped like an octopus and colored with squid ink. But it tasted like Rice Crispies. Nevertheless, it was fun.
Bloody Mary with rosemary, nothing molecular about it. Simply delicious.
The very popular Romero y Julieta.
Vodka with rosemary, lemongrass and some other nice stuff. None too sweet.
Annoying and intriguing at the same time. The sushi served at 41° looks very similar to the wonderful sushi we get in Los Angeles, but. BUT. The rice is actually a savory rice marshmallow. Why? Just why?
I don't know why. Why not?
The last two items were the most similar to tapas all over the city. Above is a puff pastry shell filled with cheese and topped with a sprinkling of smoked paprika. Delicious.
Hot little cakes filled with cheese and meat. After all the strange airy nibbles above we were both ready for something that would proverbially stick to the ribs.
Far and away the best item on the menu at 41° was the service. Every single person behind and in front of the bar gave service of exactly the style one would expect at such an establishment. Sleek and glossy, friendly without being necessarily personable. Every recommendation food and drink-wise was on the money. The staff took their job seriously, but not themselves seriously, if you catch my drift. It was a lovely experience. Next time I am going to be in Barcelona, I will try harder to get a real reservation at Tickets, and after dinner head directly to 41° to top it off.