225 Park Avenue South between 18th and 19th Streets
$130 for three, with a few drinks, with tip
A last-minute decision after a much-needed downpour led us to Barça 18 off Union Square for some stiff drinks and small plates of Spanish food. The spicy chorizo hit the spot and left us hungry for more. We ordered the dry cured pork loin and the Catalan Garrotxa cheese ($4 for two small pieces) before we shared the crab pizza topped with tarragon and roasted peppers, the octopus with sweet pepper confit and the lamb skewers in red pepper chutney which interestingly tasted just like the chorizo. A small pan of paella negra with mussels and shrimps in squid ink sealed our night.
Catalan pizza with crab pieces and parmigiano
The bar is at a first come-first served basis but a larger dining room takes reservations. The waitresses, as soon as you get their attention, are more alert than the busboys because a couple of plates meant for the small table next to us came our way. Suits from the investment banks in the area swarm Barça 18 but for an Eric Ripert-Brian O’Donohoe partnership, I can let that, and some sinewy lamb, slide.