Saturday, December 06, 2008

Can Majó, La Barceloneta, Barcelona

Bacallà en Salsa Verda i Cloisses

This place still leaves me scratching my head completely puzzled. We made the trek out here (23 Almirall Aixada, 93-21-5455) because everything we had read about this place was that it was one of the best seafood restaurants in town, with everything fresh and on the waterfront. And these included listings in both Zagat and Michelin, so there was no way any of this could go wrong, right?

It seemed encouraging enough when we went in. The cozy old-school building was unpretentious, the host was engaging, and live seafood was abound in the glass casings. An appetizing aroma of grilled shellfish greeted us from the kitchen, and we all got pretty excited at how likable this place was.

Then things started to crumble apart. My order of grilled mushrooms off their list of specials somehow turned into grilled jumbo shrimp. When we pointed this out to our server (who defensively kept pointing to that plate of shellfish insisting that they were "mushrooms"), it became clear that this was because we were ordering in English. So I didn't have a problem with her resultingly curt attitude as long as the food was good.

But what surprised me even more was that some items were not as fresh as they could have been, including an order of gambas al ajillo that - while edible - just wasn't as mindblowingly fresh as the standard set by what we've had in the past two days here. The kitchen was also oddly out of stock of a lot of items given that it was still relatively early on a Saturday night. Could it be due to the fact that it was in the middle of winter when business was slow?

Well, at least my bacalao above was half-passable, as were some of the other items that came to our table. And maybe we simply should have ordered fideuà instead. But for a place that had gotten so much public praise, we were completely let down, feeling like we got suckered into a tourist trap. This was by far the only bad experience out of what has otherwise been a great food trip.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live in a "touristy" area of Western NC. Some of the resturants have been written up in the NY Times and the Atlanta Constitution. They have a great reputation, and draw great crowds of persons, but if you watch, it is mostly tourists. The locals go to other places. Seems like your criteria for good food is the same as mine ( It's gotta taste good, be a fair serving, and ambience be damned.) Good places never have to advertise nor use 'gimmicks'. Bad ones don't last. I enjoy the effort you put into your blog. Thanks and Best wishes to you.