Part B of our A to Z Munchie Mission across Austin!
There’s something civilized about tapas, allowing your meal to develop at your pace as you respond to the latest dish, sip, conversation, or what your neighbors’ ordered. You enjoy a variety of dishes, important when everything is enticing. And you can cut things off right when you’re sated, which is a side benefit to this fatboi taught to clean his plate because poor people are starving in Arkansas.
Barlata is the perfect place to live la vida tapeo. The owners/chef are Spanish, so they thoroughly understand the culture and the food, offering 40 different dishes to sample, with appropriate nods to local cuisine. The space is open, modern, and comfortable with a huge vertical-slice-of-a-tree-trunk bar that pennisulas deep into the room creating a nice barktable of culinary comradery.
We showed up on a Sunday 15 minutes before happy hour closed at 7:00 pm and sat at the rooty end of the tree trunk. The bartender was busy but attentive, making sure we knew that if we ordered before 7:00 we’d enjoy lower prices. We started off with a house sangria ($4HH!) and a Lola’s Cooler (St. Germain, Dolin Blanc, Yellow Chartreuse, Honey, Citru, and Cava; $8HH), both delicious, complimented with orders of fire roasted shishito peppers ($5HH) and grilled chorizo in red wine sauce ($5HH). The bride, a shishito aficionado, declared the peppers the best she’d ever had.
We followed that first round with a tempranillo rose paired with the savory daily paella ($7HH) in an adorably tiny roasting pan with perfectly cooked rice (much larger paellas are available as full meals) and a yellowtail jack “crudo” ($14). We had our eyes on several other plates, but decided to move on to dessert where we chose the pear & currant stuffed puffed pastry with valdeon & fig ice cream ($9) with the recommended pour of Lustau East India Olorosa & P.X. ($3!!!).
If we lived within walking distance, we’d be here at least once a week, stopping in for a bite and bottle. It’s a great place for taking a date (especially if you’ve crossed that let’s-share-spit-and-a-dish threshold of the relationship).
This review is part of our sequential tour-through-the-alphabet of Austin’s restaurant scene. Now you know our ABCs!
web&where: interwebs; 1500 south lamar boulevard; (512) 473-2211
overall: *** (food***; drink***; atmosphere**; service**; instagrammability***)
does it scramble? nope: it’s tapas, so it’s just enough
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]