Jump to content
Simul Parikh

Barcelona, A Connecticut-Based Spanish Wine Bar Serving Tapas on 14th and Corcoran Street and Reston Town Center

Recommended Posts

This restaurant serves Tapas and Spanish style food on 14th Street.

The service at this place is impeccable. While waiting in the bar, there were so many servers and bussers going past and instead of making you feel like they were in their way, they made you feel like they were in your way. The bartenders actively make eye contact with the patrons, instead of you fighting to get their attention. And, in case you didn't know, this place is packed to the brim nightly.

I came tonight, on a cold DC Thursday expecting the absolute worst. I've walked in and walked out because I was told there was a 2 hour wait. They don't do many reservations, and I actually don't know their rules for doing them.

We were told 1 hour and it ended up being close to 1 hour and 30 minutes. When I went up as the annoying guest asking "are we there yet?" they took the time to tell me why it was taking longer and then let us know an updated time, which was fairly accurate. We were seated by a vivacious and energetic hostess that had been dealing with impatient and likely rude guests all evening, and she never broke her smile the whole night.

I came with 7+ a high chair for a 21 month old. We were placed at a cozy table and I'll tell the truth, we told them 6, and added one at last minute. We were those people. They added a chair and we got very close. Waters delivered immediately, two waiters introduced themselves, and took drink orders. They also told us that specific dishes took a long time (paella and grilled meat platters), which got us to put those in first. We ordered 2 patatas bravas, 2 asparagus with aioli, seafood paella, a churrasco, multiple hamachi crudos, gambas ajillo, 2 tortillas, blood sausage, 2 chorizo with fig, scallops, lamb chops, 2 lamb burgers, 2 beef empanadas.. I think that's all of it.

The pacing was impeccable. Rarely were we overburdened. Service was slowed down when it needed to be, but with attention to whether we needed more drinks. The food quality was high - highlights included lamb chops, churrasco, chorizo, hamachi crudo... Paella was not like Barcelona the city, but tasty in it's own right. Not one dish was bad. I never order patatas bravas because stateside it's essentially French fries and hot sauce, but here the fiery tomato sauce and aioli made it impressive.

I can't really get thinking about the food, even though it was fabulous, I'm just so impressed at the way the restaurant presented itself. A prince amongst men...

I hated the idea of this place - a Connecticut chain, the hottest gals and guys in DC, a hostess that could be a model, a fancy bar and terribly long wait times. But, sometimes the execution and the effort overstate any potential negatives.

If the food gets any better and the service stays the same, this place will last a long time. And, final caveat - I freaking hate tapas state side.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We went a few weeks ago for my cousin's birthday. We saw a Sunday matinee show at the Kennedy Center, and had a reservation at Scion for like 6:00 (which was what she had booked at the absolute last second). But we had a couple hours gap and head to her apt on 14th Street for her and her mom to go over some wedding stuff. Since it started snowing, my aunt and uncle didn't want to walk all the way to Dupont for Scion, so we were able to walk right into Barcelona around 5:30 and snag a table for 6 people.

I don't remember everything we had, but I agree for the most part with your assessment. Our server was a little pushy on some things like the paella and one of their special jamons. They have a large charcuterie and cheese selection at the top with everything having a listed price, but the jamon he was pushing didn't have one, and since we knew we were in for a big meal we opted for a different jamon, which seemed to disappoint him.

Highlights for me were the kale salad, the calamari (the plate was stuffed with tentacles, which are by far my favorite part and most people in my party didn't touch those, opting for the rings), and the chicken and jamon croquettes (had to order another round of those). The piece de resistance, however, was the roast suckling pig, which was accompanied by roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, pickled onions, and chimichurri. It's $18/person so we ordered one for "2 people" which yielded plenty of pork for all 6 of us. Very tender meat and juicy, covered in loads of very crisp, crackling skin. The onions and chimichurri added a great hit of acid to balance out the fattiness. Now, I've had suckling pig in Spain many times and am used to just getting the whole animal, nose to tail, on the plate. The piece we were served here was roughly the same size, but seemed to come more from the rib area of a larger pig. Perhaps they just can't get the actual suckling pig product in high demand here, perhaps US customers freak out at seeing essentially a whole pig on the plate. Whatever it was, it was delicious, and I still think about it.

I remembered we ordered the hangar steak with truffle sauce, and the tapas were supposed to come before the pig, but when the pig came our server said that would be the last of things, and we reminded him of the steak. He apologized and went to go check on it. As soon as he left it showed up. He came back to let us know he had put the order in again but we showed him it had come and he said ok and walked off. Then about 10 minutes later another one showed up delivered by him. We weren't charged for either, and really the second one was totally unnecessary given all the food we had (but I guess it was too late).

And because he overheard my cousin mention it was her birthday he said dessert would be on him and he brought back an entire large cutting board with like 5 different desserts on it, including a flan, chocolate molten cake with cherry chocolate ice cream, nutella crepes, and a couple of other things I forget. The crepe was great, and the rest were fine, but we put everything down.

The Spanish wine selection seemed pretty good to me, and they had a whole page of the Ribera del Duero region, which is near and dear to my heart because I studied abroad in Salamanca, just nearby. They were quite reasonably priced we thought, at roughly $35-40 for the three bottles we had.

All in all a great meal, and we wouldn't hesitate to return.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to both of you for posting such detailed reviews; every time I've walked by Barcelona it's been utterly mobbed, and I've been wondering about it.  Just down the street is M Cafe Bar, which is utterly empty every time I've walked by.  Has anyone been there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about your reservation at Scion?

we cancelled it. since it was my cousin's birthday I let her call the shots on where we went, but I did make sure she did that at least.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Along with BarTaco, a branch of Barcelona Wine Bar has opened in Reston Town Center.

They also have a third area location on Wisconsin Ave. and Macomb St. which opened in the Autumn of 2014.

Simul and Deac (or anyone else): I currently have Barcelona Wine Bar listed in the "Spanish" section of the Multiple Locations Dining Guide (as opposed to the "Wine Bars" section). Do you think that's a correct placement? If so, I have them ranked behind Jaleo, and above 100 Montaditos. Do you think that's a correct ranking? Jaleo is one of the most overrated restaurants in the United States, but it's still decent for a chain, and I'm bristling at the thought of ranking Barcelona Wine Bar higher than they are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The weekend Bloody Mary bar at the 14th Street location was absolutely awesome the one time we went. And half-price bottles of wine on Monday yields some great deals -- try the San Roman.

(And I would put them at least on par with Jaleo, and probably above. And I share your feeling on chains.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After seeing "something" on fb, I came back here to reread about Barcelona Wine Bar on 14th (and elsewhere)   Frankly the reviews of meals look pretty good.  Admittedly I haven't been there:

But its that FB "something" that grabbed my attention:

Based on comments about the chain, and the "execution" and set up...and lets get back to the reviews about the food....it would seem that being a chain and presenting excellent meals and service are NOT mutually exclusive--> but it is difficult.

In any case...returning to the "commercial" side of things...that "something" seen in FB.  (it is Christmas time)   :D

post-9660-0-85392600-1450458801_thumb.pn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After seeing "something" on fb, I came back here to reread about Barcelona Wine Bar on 14th (and elsewhere)   Frankly the reviews of meals look pretty good.  Admittedly I haven't been there:

But its that FB "something" that grabbed my attention:

Based on comments about the chain, and the "execution" and set up...and lets get back to the reviews about the food....it would seem that being a chain and presenting excellent meals and service are NOT mutually exclusive--> but it is difficult.

In any case...returning to the "commercial" side of things...that "something" seen in FB.  (it is Christmas time)   :D

attachicon.gifbarcelona wine bar.png

Went to the Barcelona in Reston a week ago and toasted Estadio and its owner who sadly has passed.  Barcelona was mediocre chain but I liked the ambience.  Estadio was special.  We did not have paella but I make paella (bomba rice, serious chicken stock, smoked papripka, saffron, chicken from Fields of Athenry...) and have become hesitant to order it in any restaurant this side of the Atlantic no matter the reputation.  Actually it's really difficult to find a good paella in Spain, too.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This place is good. I hate admitting a chain is good, especially being a lover of Barcelona - the city. The food is good, the service is good, the ambience is good. It's reflective of the great places in Barcelona.

It's better than Jaleo. Haven't been to 100. It's more expensive then equivalent places in Barcelona, but you save on transportation costs. It's one of few chains I'd rank as high. People should go and give it a chance.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This place is good. I hate admitting a chain is good, especially being a lover of Barcelona - the city. The food is good, the service is good, the ambience is good. It's reflective of the great places in Barcelona.

It's better than Jaleo. Haven't been to 100. It's more expensive then equivalent places in Barcelona, but you save on transportation costs. It's one of few chains I'd rank as high. People should go and give it a chance.

Good for you, Simul - you've shown bias, but not prejudice: There's a big difference between the two. I am biased against chains based on my past experience with them, but that bias drops away the moment I walk inside the door, and they're treated like every other restaurant - it's the only fair way to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good for you, Simul - you've shown bias, but not prejudice: There's a big difference between the two. I am biased against chains based on my past experience with them, but that bias drops away the moment I walk inside the door, and they're treated like every other restaurant - it's the only fair way to be.

Your discussion of bias spurred me to write up my experience at China Chilcano.  It's nice to be proven wrong sometimes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We stopped in here for drinks and a snack after a fun night watching the Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre. Accompanied by my two twenty-something kids and my daughter's friend, I felt a bit like a fish out of water waiting for our table in the large bar--a room jam-packed with people half my age. The bar on a Saturday night definitely has a young and hip vibe, but once we sat at a table in the restaurant, I saw many others who, like me, likely get AARP applications regularly in the mail. 

The drinks were delicious and the waitstaff was superb. We ordered food mostly to justify taking up table space, as we had a large meal at Central before the show. Our Manchego and Drunken Goat cheese with Serrano Ham was heavenly. I want to go back when I am hungrier and try more of their food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...