Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Barrel Room

This week we went to The Barrel Room, a restaurant/wine bar/wine retailer. Since Briana is not drinking due to being knocked up (again), and Steve is an ignoramus (still), we invited our friends (and wine aficionados) Cory and Alice to join us for dinner and explain wine to us. Turns out it comes from grapes! Who knew?!

The Barrel Room is currently specializing in food and wines from Spain & Portugal, but apparently they switch it up every so often and do a different region. So they may have a totally different menu and wine list if/when you go check it out. 

Our waiter/sommelier/manager seemed very knowledgeable and passionate about wine, and was happy to recommend flights (they do wine flights!) for all of us (except Briana) to try.  

The night we were there they had about 20 different flights to choose from with three wines each. Cory had the Spanish Garnachas, Alice got the Obscure Spanish Whites, Steve tried the Riojas, and Briana had East Bay MUD.

Everyone liked all the wines, and the little hand written labels were a thoughtful touch. Well done Barrel Room!

Dates stuffed with goat cheese and marcona almonds. They were good, but not amazing. They complemented the wine nicely, and they kinda look like giant coffee beans.

Jamon, rosemary, arugula and manchego flatbread. The flatbread was nice and crispy, and the arugula seemed fresh and didn't wilt like you would expect it to sitting on top of hot bread. Everyone enjoyed it, but we weren't fighting over the last piece or anything.

The sauteed prawns with saffron rice and frisee were probably our least favorite dish. Not bad, just kind of bland.

The paella with chorizo, prawns, and chicken was also surprisingly flavorless. To be fair this dish was supposed to have chicken, but we were told when we ordered that they were out of chicken so they added more prawns. We can't imagine that it would be made much better with the addition of chicken, but there it is. Also, where's the chorizo? So it was basically just prawns and rice.

The sauteed green beans, pearl onions, and cherry tomatoes were OUT OF CONTROL DELICIOUS! We found ourselves spooning the sauce onto some of the other dishes because it was so good. Such a simple dish, but the flavor was so rich and light at the same time. We're not sure what was in the amazing tart sauce, but this was the standout dish. 

Tri-tip steak with chimichuri, fingerling potatoes, and green beans. This was really good, but maybe not $26 good? The sauce was tangy and the steak was tender, but split between four people, it wasn't a lot of food. But if the main complaint is that there isn't enough, that probably means we liked it a lot.

Peanut butter cookie / chocolate ice cream sandwich. Tasted exactly like it looks, and that ain't bad. We split this bad boy four ways, and it was the perfect amount of dessert, although Briana would have preferred a flight of ice cream sandwiches.

The space is small, but they've managed to fit in a retail wine shop, a wine bar, and a restaurant without it feeling cramped. The staff was very warm and friendly and their enthusiasm for wine and food is undeniable. The wine was great, the food was mostly good and occasionally great. We came away feeling like we would definitely come back, especially when Barrel Room shifts focus to a different area of the world.

Special thanks to Alice and Cory for joining us on this review and going sharezies on all the food. You guys get 6 Sabuys every time.

Barrel Room, you get a generous 4 Sabuys (think about those ice cream flights).

Next stop: Pucquio

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