New Year’s Day conveniently fell on a Thursday this year and most of my friends had the following Friday off work so we figured what better way to kick off 2015 than with a fun, group boozy brunch?! As we’ve gotten older, more people have split off to do their own thing on New Year’s so it was the perfect opportunity to catch up on the prior night’s happenings.
Six of us met at Barraca in the heart of the West Village. Barraca came at the recommendation of Jen, who had previously enjoyed the restaurant’s tapas and sangria selection over dinner and had raved about the charming decor. For $15 you can choose between eight different types of sangria for two hours plus the price of your main dish, all of which were priced reasonably around $11-$18 an entree.
Jen has excellent taste and she was right, the ambiance was outright charming. The eatery was sunny and bright with pops of teal accents, lush plants, and exposed brick. It was also a large restaurant, especially for the West Village location, making Barraca a perfect place to snag a group rezzie.
Our group tucked into a long table and surveyed the sangria menu. Although the restaurant filled over the course of our meal, it was still a bit empty when we were initially seated, which left us questioning the overall slow service. When our server finally checked in on us to take our drink order, we all started off with the sangria rioja, a classic red containing Aperol, guindilla pepper, and cherry heering liquor.
The rioja was as advertised–refreshing, fruity, but not too sweet. Over the course of our meal we sampled a few varieties of Barraca’s sangria and we kept going back to the rioja as a staple. I also enjoyed the Valencia, which featured rose, citrus oil, vodka, grapefruit juice, and ginger. It reminded me of a fizzy Moscow Mule fused with sangria and was a lighter option than the rioja.
By this point, we all grew quite hungry as we were still nursing some New Year’s Eve aftermath. We decided to share a few tapas and then all go solo for main courses. Jaime studied abroad in Barcelona and is quite familiar with tapas, informing us that it is hard to go wrong with patatas bravas, datiles con bacon, and bombas.
I blame my Irish heritage because potatoes are my favorite food in the entire world so I admittedly hogged the shared plate of potatas bravas, basically home fries slathered in a spicy tomato sauce and creamy aioli. The potatoes were perfectly crispy and we kept the plate long after the potatas bravas were gone so we could dip into the leftover zesty sauce. We ended up ordering two servings for the table because this starter was such a hit.
The datiles con bacon were bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese, aka heaven in a bite. What’s there not to love between bacon and cheese? This dish is hard to mess up and was well executed, although not the most original. But I suppose if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Our final tapas plate was the bombas, potato and beef croquettes with aioli and spicy sauce. Similarly to the patatas bravas, the decadent sauce really stole the show, but it drowned out the deep fried croquette flavors. The bombas had too much breading for my liking and basically tasted like fried dough dipped in sauce. Not the worst thing, but this tapas offering wasn’t particularly refined.
Although we all generally enjoyed the tapas, unfortunately the main courses were hit or miss. Jen ordered the coca del kale, a kale flatbread with Mahon cheese, caramelized onions, raisins, pine nuts, and topped with a farm egg. This was my favorite entree of the group. It was satisfying like a pizza should be, but we also enjoyed the plentiful serving of veggies atop the pie. The runny yolk of the fried egg provided a savory, creamy texture that completed this delicious dish.
Jen’s boyfriend Mike ordered the carne a la brasa, which was a hearty plate full of skirt steak, salsa verde, fingerling potatoes, fried Brussels sprouts, and an organic egg. All of the ingredients came together for a complete brunch dish, although he found the steak a bit fatty. The crispy Brussels sprouts were standout, especially as so many Brussels can be undercooked and poorly executed.
Jaime ordered the tortilla espanola, a potato and onion omelette with pan con tomate and a side salad. The omelette was a little dry and the greens were boring and unnecessary. On the other hand, the pan con tomate, the Spanish take on bruschetta, was well toasted and flavorful, and brought her back to her days in Barcelona.
Her boyfriend Daniel ordered seafood paella, which was a major point of contention during brunch. The rice was extremely crispy and Daniel found it practically inedible, even pointing this out to our server and asking if it was a mistake. Our server replied that this was how they intentionally serve their paella, although Daniel was not convinced. A few other members of our party tried the paella and didn’t find the crispy rice nearly as offensive, comparing it to an Asian fried rice entree.
I was a little boring and ordered the huevos con bacon. I could choose two eggs served any style, I went with poached per usual, which were served alongside bacon and more potatas con bravas. I had no complaints about my dish. Although it was pretty ordinary, the eggs were poached nicely, the bacon was flavorful, and I couldn’t get enough of the potatoes.
The Bitches say: B-. Great sangria selection and bottomless brunch option in the West Village. Go heavy on the tapas and skip the main entrees for brunch.
81 Greenwich Ave.
New York, NY
Barraca serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.