Tag Archives: Barcelona Stamford

Fungus Alert: Barcelona Restaurants Now Selling Truffle Oil and Truffle Shavings!

25 Jun

Kristien and I always say that we went into the wrong business.  See, truffles are the most expensive food in the world, though it’s quite a mess and pain to get them.  Dogs and pigs are trained to sniff out and find the truffles, but the dirty work can often go to the humans who chase after and dig to find the famed treasure.  The ends justify the means, though:  a 3.3 lb. white truffle sold at auction for $330,000 and a little less than a three-pounder was sold to the same buyer for the same price.  Truffles of that size are rare, thus the hefty price tag, but more commonly you can expect these prices:

♥ White truffles = $5900 per pound.

♥ Black Périgord truffles = $575 per pound.

♥ Black summer truffles = $670 per pound.

♥ Pecan truffles = $100 per pound.

See what we mean?  We need to move to Italy or France and take up truffle farming.  Alas, that’s just a dream, but we can still enjoy truffles and truffle oil in and on our food.  One of the best truffle dishes that we’ve ever tasted came from Chef Arik Bensimon at Napa & Co.  It was a local duck egg with thick, thick slices of black truffle.  At first the smell was overwhelming, then intoxicating.  When you took a bite, something changed…you realized why truffles are so loved and didn’t want the dish to end, nor the truffles to disappear.

We’re sharing this with you because Barcelona Restaurants has teamed up with the Urbani Group (they control 70% of the truffle trade) to produce and sell white truffle oil and truffle shavings.  Let’s start with the truffle oil.  You get 8.45 oz for $28 which might seem expensive because you can buy “truffle oil” in stores for $12.  Barcelona’s Culinary Director Adam Halberg has said, though, that many grocery stores add in additives and artificial ingredients to mimic the taste of truffles.  So, at most stores you’ll end up paying for fake-flavored oil.  Go ahead and look at the ingredients next time, you might be surprised.  But, by working with Urbani, Barcelona is able to give you olive oil actually infused with real, gosh-darn truffles.  Think of adding to pizzas, risotto, sauces, and sauces such as the white truffle sauce (this is an excellent dish, btw) that goes on top of Barcelona’s hangar steak.

As for the truffles shavings, you buy the slivers in a can, packed in juice.  You can buy 7 oz. for $58.  Again, this is a pretty good deal if you’re looking for truffles to use but can’t afford to put down a few hundred dollars for a nice chunk.  Again, we’d use the shavings in a nice earthy risotto, with steak, eggs like Chef Bensimon, and also in sauces/marinades to really kick the flavor in.

You can get both the white truffle oil and shavings either at one of their restaurants or their online Marketplace.  Here’s a list of Barcelonas with their addresses and numbers for easy reference.  Now, we’re wondering…what’s your favorite dish made with truffles or truffle oil?  Let us know how you made it or where you got it!

Fairfield  
4180 Black Rock Tnpk.
Fairfield, CT 06824
Tel: 203.255.0800
 
Greenwich (Our favorite one!)
18 West Putnam Ave.
Greenwich, CT 06830
Tel: 203.983.6400
 
New Haven
155 Temple St.
In the Omni New Haven Hotel
New Haven, CT 06510
Tel: 203.848.3000
 
South Norwalk  
63.65 N. Main St.
S. Norwalk, CT 06854
Tel: 203.899.0088
 
Stamford  
222 Summer St.
Stamford, CT 06901
Tel: 203.348.4800
 
West Hartford
971 Farmington Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06107
Tel: 860.218.2100
 
Atlanta, Georgia
240 N. Highland Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30307
Tel: 404.589.1010

About Urbani Truffles USA Corp (Press Release Info) 

From its inception in 1850 under the guidance of Carlo Urbani, the Urbani reputation for excellence has been carefully and faithfully handed down from one generation to the next. We are at the fifth generation of Urbani, managing the company and each new generation blends the traditions and knowledge of the previous one, and adds its own unique sense of enrichment. Now, Urbani is the world leader in fresh truffles and truffled products, controlling 70% of the world’s truffle trade and continue representing the best in truffle sourcing and processing:  Urbani brings the best fresh truffles to tables of restaurants and foodies all over the world, and thanks to the combination of traditional methods and innovative technology specially designed for truffle preservation, enhancing the natural characteristics of the precious tuber and determine new occasions for its use. Important is the presence abroad of the Urbani Group with many offices and connections in several countries.

Stamford Downtown Winter Restaurant Weeks 2012 Heats Things Up

17 Feb

Leave it to Stamford to spice up the whole restaurant week thing into something great.  Yeah, well, you read the title correctly:  Stamford Downtown Winter Restaurant Weeks.  Weeks!  Yup.  Start eating February 26 and don’t stop until it’s March 11.  You’ll be able to try out 30 of Stamford’s best spots for diddily squat.  There are three price levels, starting at $10.12 lunch/$15.12 dinner, $12.12 lunch/$20.12 dinner, or $20.12 lunch/$30.12 dinner. Also mark down March 18 to March 23 for Stamford Uptown Restaurant Week.  We’ll update you when we get all the goods. ;)

If you’re looking for some info on some of these spots, we’ve reviewed Volta, Capriccio, Grand Burger, Lola’s, SBC, Bar Rosso (when it first opened), napa & co, Tappo, and Zaza Gastrobar, but we’ve been to most of these spots.  We’d love to try out Aria and Patrizia’s, so these two weeks would be perfect.  Is that crazy that those two and one other restaurant on the list are the only ones we haven’t eaten at?  Well, guess it’s not that crazy.  What spots do you want to hit up?  Let us know if you need advice, k?

$10.12 Lunch and $15.12 Dinner

Some of the amazing Coppe Speciali at Volta

Black Bear Saloon • Menu

Kujaku Japanese Restaurant

Picante Fresh Mexican Grill • Menu

Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza Company • Menu

Volta Gelateria Creperia • Menu

$12.12 Lunch and $20.12 Dinner

Elvis Burger with peanut butter, banana chips, and bacon at GRAND

BUtterfield 8 Restaurant & Lounge  •  Make Reservations

California Pizza Kitchen • Menu – 203-406-0530

Capriccio Café • Menu

Grand Burger (Dinner Only) • Menu • Make Reservations

Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen (Excludes Fri. & Sat.) •  Make Reservations

Quattro Pazzi (Excludes Fri. & Sat.) • Menu

SBC Downtown Restaurant & Brewery • Menu

Tengda Asian Bistro (Excludes Fri. & Sat.)

$20.12 Lunch and $30.12 Dinner

Aria Restaurant* • Menu • Make Reservations

Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar* (Excludes Sat. & Sun.) • Menu

Bar Rosso* (Excludes Fri. & Sat.)  • Menu • Make Reservations

The Capital Grille*  • Menu • Make Reservations

Chez Jean Pierre* (Excludes Sat. & Sun.) • Menu

House made fettuccine at napa & co

Columbus Park Trattoria • Menu

Emme of Capri*  Menu

EOS Greek Cuisine (Excludes Fri. & Sat.) Menu • Make Reservations

Ferrante*  Make Reservations

Mitchell’s Fish Market • Menu • Make Reservations

Morton’s, The Steakhouse* (Dinner Only)  Menu • Make Reservations

napa & co.* (Lunch Only)  Make Reservations

Patrizia’s of Stamford

Sam’s American Bistro at the Marriott • Menu

Tappo Restaurant*  Make Reservations

ZAZA Italian Gastrobar* (Excludes Fri. & Sat.) • Menu

* Not participating in the Kids’ Fans program.

This year in partnership with Stamford Hospital, Stamford Tables will host KIDS’ FANS 5-2-1-0, a program designed to promote nutrition and fitness in Stamford. All children under 12 will be offered a healthy lunch for $6.95 and dinner for $9.95 at the above listed restaurants.

The first 3,000 Winter Restaurant Weeks patrons will receive a voucher for a FREE medium popcorn with the purchase of a general admission ticket to the Avon Theatre, 272 Bedford Street, valid thru 3/31/12.

• List and info from connecticut RESTAURANTWEEK.  They have all the info you could ever want about restaurant weeks. •

Bartaco: They got half their name right and it’s not the taco part. – Stamford, CT + Port Chester, NY

5 Nov

Tacos at the Port Chester location...better than Stamford's?

Most people in Connecticut have been through the doors of a Barcelona restaurant, have sipped on sangria, and have fallen in love with their tapas.  So, when the same owners expanded with Bartaco in Port Chester, we were psyched but also wondered if they’d be able to keep the quality up while expanding so much.  Just months before we were disappointed with Barcelona Stamford as compared to the others – seemed like the sangria was weaker and the food just wasn’t up to par with their other spots.

Bartaco in Port Chester, NY

So, we decided to travel out to Port Chester and see what all the buzz was about.    It was a beautiful summer day so of course we sat outside in their really nice patio area.  In fact, the decor overall was really nice and cozy…when it’s not jammed to the walls with people, that is. Yeah, this place is always busy, so just be ready to do some waiting.  When we sat down we were given the DL on how things work.  Mark off what you want on the menu card, put it up on the metal arm, or if you have a question or need help, put up the dragonfly logo of Bartaco. Cool concept!

Not Tacos

We started with some guac that was not too bad, but maybe oversimplified with very little more than just some avocado, salt and a teeny squirt of lime. We also ordered a spicy cucumber salad that definitely had a kick, but didn’t have much else going on with it.  Again, boring and oversimplified. The cactus dish was fun, spicy, had a vinegary kick, and was just sweet enough to add a nice complexity to this dish. And lastly the grilled corn with lime and cotija cheese was nice in theory but the corn was mushy. Definitely not nearly as good as the same dish at Bodega in Fairfield.

Tacos

For our meals we went crazy with a mix of Baja fish, pork al pastor, tamarind beef, and spicy chorizo tacos.  The Baja fish had a nice crispness to it but was pretty bland and devoid of a real kick or flavor.  The pork al pastor was good with a nice amount of spice in it, but we’ve both had WAAAAY better al pastor tacos before, I mean WAAAAY better.  The tamarind beef taco, also had good flavor, but nothing mind blowing.  I ended with the spicy chorizo taco which had chorizo all crumbled up, kicked up with some nice bold smoky flavor. This was definitely my favorite.

Overall, we thought the food was decent, but not great or amazing as the buzz made it seem.  We both agreed that the tacos at Casa Villa blew these out of the water and were not as good as Tacos Mexico in Norwalk.

Bartaco in Stamford, CT

We waited to review Bartaco here to coincide with the September opening of its new spot in Stamford. We waited for about half an hour because the place was packed just like the Port Chester one.  We got our seats and saw they had the same kind of vibe going on in here, even with the little metal stands to place your menu orders on.  Now we like a rockin’ musical ambiance as much as the next 30 something couple, but DAMN is it incredibly loud in there! Seriously don’t plan to hear what the hell your friends say, or your waiter even.  Just pretend and nod your head, they’ll never know.

Not Tacos

We got the guacamole that was just like it was in Port Chester.  We do like the crispy tortillas that come with the guac though. They’re nice and crispy and salty.  We also had the snapper ceviche that also came with lots of cilantro, fresh snapper, peppers, and just the right amount of spicy kick.  It was pretty good overall. I saw a Foursquare tip about how awesome the blood orange margarita was, so I decided to go with that.  It came out waaaaaay too strong with an overpowering liquor taste.  I asked the waitress to add more mix to it and that helped a tiny bit, though it was just way too strong to be enjoyable.

Tacos

Porkslap Ale (it's boss) with tacos at the Stamford locale

We wanted to see if our original conclusion was correct, that Bartaco tacos were just okay.  Well, we had our answer by the end of our meal.  I had red snapper a la plancha.  The fish and flavors were bland.  Unfortunately, the only thing that stood out and gave flavor were the vegetables.  Yeah, bummer.  I loved the spicy chorizo last time and decided to get more of it this time.  Well, this time it was tough and overcooked.  The flavor was still there, but I was left disappointed once again.  Sadly, this wasn’t the worst of the night.  I decided to try the lamb barbacoa taco.  The flavor combos with the lamb just didn’t work and seemed awkward and not appealing.  There were chunks of lamb fat throughout the taco, but the killer was the chunk of fat that had lamb bone attached to it.  Quality control?  Meh. Kristien agreed, this might have been the worst taco we’ve ever eaten, and she loves lamb.  Worst lamb dish that I’ve ever had, hands down.

Postres

We are churros addicts and were excited at the prospect of some bad boys that came with chocolate sauce.  We were especially excited because only the day before we met our friends Darryl, Melissa, Renato, and Alicia at Barcelona in Norwalk and shared amazing churros.  They came out looking very good, but they were raw in the middle.  We were just going to leave and not bother, but we really wanted churros, so we asked for another batch.  The churros came out but, once again, they were raw on the inside.  We paid and left.

Overall Thoughts

There are so many FANTASTIC taco places in Stamford, Norwalk, and all over Fairfield County, but unfortunately, Bartaco isn’t one of them. It’s not even close. If you care more about the vibe and the cool factor, then you should come to Bartaco.  But, if you want the authentic Mexican experience and want to pay helluva less try these options that are nearby:

Casa Villa, Stamford

Tacos Guadalajara, Stamford

Los Molcajetes, Norwalk

El Charrito, Stamford

Bodega Taco Bar, Fairfield

Noms: 2.75
Cost:  $$$
Bartaco                                                                                        Bartaco
222 Summer Street (next to Barcelona)                              1 Willett Avenue
Stamford, CT 06901                                                                Port Chester, NY 10573
Phone:  (203) 323-TACO                                                       (914) 937-TACO
Site:  http://bartaco.com

Bartaco on Urbanspoon

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