The boy and I had visited Plan B on Mulberry St a couple years ago, excited to try their snake sausage, however, they did not have any the time, had no clue when they would, and we stayed, and somehow ended up spending so much money on so little food that wasn't any good. (The worst possible outcome to that short story, I know.)
And so Plan B's plan b came through, and Barca has since replaced the restaurant, maintaining the same space, but with a new chef behind the helm and an updated menu more focused on Spanish cuisine.
The rebranding seemed effective - the restaurant was jammed with lots of people nibbling at small plates, sipping sangrias and having a gay ol' time.
Compliments of the kitchen appealed to us immediately - fresh, young stalks of asparagus wrapped tightly with salty, serrano ham and a drop of herby, marscapone cheese. A very good start to the meal.
We continued with the restaurant's namesake ahi tuna appetizer, with plenty of chunks of fresh tuna, but little seasoning and never enough bread for the likes of my fat face.
The braised brussel sprouts were barely bitter, just tender and deeply fragrant with thyme.
We deviated from the tapas menu to sample one of the four paellas on the menu: the arroz negro. Arriving in the signature paella pan, the squid ink rice is speckled with bits of tomato and seafood.
And after the first, second and third bites of hard rice in my mouth, I wondered if maybe I don't know what paella is supposed to taste like. Is the paella rice supposed to be as al dente as true Italian pasta?
The flavor of the paella was actually quite nice, but the rice was overwhelmingly undercooked, though the waitress expressed that you could have the chefs cook the rice longer, if needed, but yes, this is how it is supposed to be. One day, I will go to Spain and confirm that, but in the meantime, I do know that the shrimp was painfully overcooked, rubbery to the core, and the mussels a little too goopy (yes, a technical term!) so really, it's just a mishmash of unfortunate circumstances.
As was the tres leches cake that was somehow dry and also hard - as in hard texture and hard to eat.
Han's Nonsensical Rating: Stick to the tapas if you must, or just skip altogether.
244 Mulberry St
New York, NY