Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rita Rouge

Address: Carrer Carme 33, 08001 Barcelona, Spain. 934 813 686.

Review: Rita Rouge is both a restaurant and a lounge. For lunch, we picked the restaurant side and ordered from the fixed daily menu for 9.90 euro. Fixed menus are a standard deal in Europe, and are quite common in Spain (much more than I've noticed in other European nations). This one came with a starter (usually a salad or gazpacho of some sort), a main course (usually meat involved), and a dessert, plus bread and a bottle of water. If you can deal with the limited selection inherent with fixed menus, they are a very economical way to eat.

I started with a green salad accompanied by a salad of tomatoes and seafood something (more on this in a moment). 

The green salad was lettuce with corn topped with a balsamic vinaigrette. Didn't really taste the corn, but okay. The tomato and seafood portion was topped with a deconstructed balsamic vinaigrette containing (you guessed it) balsamic and oil. The seafood component, far as I could tell, is mixed seafood pieces suspended in a watery mayonnaise. It tasted like seafood, but it was entirely indiscernible what type of seafood.

My wife ordered the carrot, pumpkin, and coconut milk soup.

It was served cold, which is a great way to serve soup when it 95 degrees outside. The soup's flavors were muddled. If the menu hadn't informed me there was pumpkin inside I wouldn't have had the first clue. In fact, the coconut was about the only discernible taste.

My main was a timbale of cod. It was topped with a custard filled with caramelized onions and cod. The next layer consisted of eggplant and zucchini. And the base was a mix of potatoes and cod.

This I liked. Cod simply isn't the best fish, but cooked well it has a silky quality that tastes pretty good. Both times I've had cod in Spain it's been paired with creamy products (the first time with an aioli, and this time with a custard). This pairing was far more successful. The base of potatoes and cod was especially good since the silkiness of the potatoes complimented the silkiness of the cod. The vegetables were vegetables. They didn't really add much (eggplants add almost no flavor to anything ever). The caramelized onions, on the other hand, added sweetness, which was very much appreciated.

Demaree ordered the grilled veal.

The cut chosen was, again, a rib meat cut, which I imagine is popular because (1) it's cheap, and (2) Barcelonans have been eating it for centuries. I don't get it personally. Very tough when grilled, and fatty like a beached whale. The potatoes though. My goodness, Spaniards know how to fry them. And then the meat juices run onto them, it's like the best ketchup in the world.

And then dessert. I had the apricot tort. 

This was stellar. Nothing but apricots (and there is nothing better than European apricots) and a light pastry crust. So light, so refreshing, so flaky. Money.

And then there was the panna cotta with honey.

Little too gelatinized (it should be slightly looser), but other than that, very good. The honey chosen was thick and sweet and was great with the inherent lightness of the panna cotta. (If you don't think panna cotta can be light and satisfying on a hot summer day, then you haven't had good panna cotta).

In fine, there were some strengths and some weaknesses, like most restaurants. Overall, I'll come back for the desserts any day of the week.

Rating: 6.5/10 (5/10 is average).

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