Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hold It One Sec, BARcelona Tapas!

Well, folks, I hate to rain on the BARcelona Tapas parade, but our al fresco lunch there yesterday was interrupted suddenly when an employee came out to say that, because they have not received their permit from the city to serve food and alcohol on the sidewalk, we would have to move inside. I guess that they were just hoping that they could get away with it, but they were suddenly threatened with a citation if they didn't move people into the main dining room. Not sure when that will change, but, for now, their seating is a bit compromised.

Furthermore, our waitress said that the hours between 2 and 5 p.m. are "off shift" for most folks, and it showed. Drinks took forever, our waitress seemed confused by the names of all but one dish, forcing us to hold up the menu and point, and the overall food quality was much lower than when I first dined there in the evening last week. Especially disappointing was the tortilla Espanola, which was just bland and lifeless, almost tasting like the last evening's leftovers. An assortment of exceedinly delicious sausages almost saved the day, however (the mini chorizo were divine!).

The place was absolutely abuzz with activity--but not a lot of it focused on the customers: business meetings, a photographer snapping photos, salespeople stopping in for visits. I guess the key here is to dine when the staff is a little more focused on making sure that everything is right for the customer, and it doesn't seem that the middle of the afternoon is that time. Sure, it's only the second week for the place, but when a restaurant takes that long to open, you would have hoped they would have ironed out more of the kinks before they opened the door. Here's hoping they'll get these things taken care of soon.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...
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SCUBAchef said...

Another "coming-soon" place that I spotted downtown this morning: "Ta Ta's," (I believe) - a Cuban place (maybe a Cuban Hooters ;-) at 137 W. Market St.

Anonymous said...

terry, you are such a good soul. thanks again for bashing a newly opened restaurant on week two. good luck at the indianapolis monthly.

braingirl said...

Anonymous, I deleted your first comment as a courtesy to Terry. However, since you clearly want to just bitch about his post, I'll address it and clarify for any folks reading that Terry has not accepted (nor as far as I know) has not been offered any formal reviewing position with Indianapolis Monthly. I'll let him clarify if he chooses.

And if you're mad Terry is bashing a new restaurant on week two, I'll be glad to add my two cents about the crappy service and dishes we ordered that were ordered and never served when I was there earlier this week. (I've still never gotten out of there without having to make adjustments to the bill.) I'll be back, I like the place, but it's not perfect.

You all only want mentions of your restaurants when it's good news, but offer up any critical points at all and it's piss and moan. Get your opening right -- or don't complain when someone notes it's wrong. (Maybe the much-delayed opening could have been delayed another week to train staff?)

If you want a postive gauranteed review, go get InTake to review it.

Anonymous said...

braingirl, you go girl!

Anonymous said...

There are some kinks that no amount of pre-open time and training can work out. That's why you give them a month or so before you review them. And why you don't write your review based on an odd time of day, when prep work is being done, when deliveries and sales calls are being made. I've been several times and the food and service has been fabulous every time (no, I don't work there or know anyone who does). Of course I'm not excusing bad food or service or saying the only good review is a good review, but wow, man, that was a little harsh.

braingirl said...

There have been a lot of positive reviews/comments posted here on BT. Terry's was just one of several and offered the only real negative comments. Are the positive reviews less valid because the restaurant's only been open a couple of weeks?

I'm sure that the management knows that every single customer is a reviewer. Every person having a meal there -- regardless of the time -- is potentially someone who will have and a bad experience.

Sure, the time of day was strange with deliveries, shift changes, etc. Fair to make negative comments? Most restaurants close between 2 and 5 for those reasons. If they're open, it's implied they're staffed up to support customers. No reason that service shouldn't be just as solid as the rest of the time if they're willing to seat and serve customers.

almostAchef said...

You know, I just re-read it, and it really wasn't even that negative.

So many people are afraid to complain or send things back at restaurants, but ironically, this is the only way management can make things better. If they don't know, they can't fix it.

Joanne said...

I agree, this didn't seem too negative at all! My husband and I went there on the first Saturday they were open and we were very happy with it, although it was weird at first. We were sat at a too small table that was wobbly, and there appeared to be several servers standing around before we got greeted by any of them. HOWEVER, everyone seemed so nice and excited to be there, we kind of caught the vibe and went with it. The food was really good, but we ordered the creme brulee (not what it's called but I can't remember). We sent it back, it was just super runny. Not only was the waitress really nice about it, but a chef (the chef?) came out and said he was sorry, that they were still making adjustments, etc. He took that off the bill AND the bread pudding that we had, that was fabulous, so that was really nice and took care of everything.

I didn't even mention that in my first comment about Barcelona, because it did seem to be just new restaurant type problems. When we went back the next Thursday, they were on a wait and that band that was near the door made us not want to stay, anyway.

This did not seem like bashing to me, it seemed like a *report* of what happened. There is NO excuse that it's a different time of day because it's my guess that they're still charging the same prices right? If you're going to be open all day, be open all day. I have worked in a million restaurants that are open between lunch and dinner and you have to treat everyone the same way, no matter what time it is, in my opinion.

Also, a friend of my husband's went there last week for lunch and she got her meal and was finished with it, almost, before her husband got his. That's just ridiculous - you should never bring one patron's lunch before the others, I don't care how long you've been open.

So this is all my long way of saying lighten up, 'anonymous'. This wasn't bashing, it was just a report of what happened. It was by no means harsh!

Anonymous said...

Actually, the positive reviews deserve even more validation because the restaurant's only been open a few weeks. Opening a restaurant is tough, frustrating work in the classic vein of "anything that can go wrong, will." The fact that anything is going well or tasting great as consistently as it is this early is a minor miracle. (And I'm not the "anonymous" who posted the bashing remark, btw, I'm just a concerned citizen who wants to see something besides a steakhouse make it in Indy. Have a great weekend!)

terrykirts said...

Thanks to everyone who turned this thread into a positive and level-headed debate. I didn't think my original posting was harsh, nor do I wish this restaurant any ill fortune. I loved it the first time I went, which is why the second visit was so disappointing. And it always seems that when you take people there and tell them it's great that everything that can go wrong does. I definitely think that BARcelona Tapas has taken a chance in a rather iffy area downtown, and I'm confident from the looks of the crowds so far that this is going to work out. Nothing excites this restaurant critic's heart more.

By the way, I will be writing reviews for the foreseeable future at Nuvo, and I'm happy about that. I love the freedom to report on both the spiffier places and the not so spiffy ones (where some of the best food can be had).

Thanks to braingirl for the opportunity to air some observations in a more informal environment here.

Happy Eating!

Terry

Anonymous said...

I've been there 6 times since they opened. Nothing but good service. Except they were out of the Bread Pudding twice when I asked for it. I was there three times for lunch two times for dinner and then once for a bar crawl! I enjoyed it and will keep going back. It helps that the hostess and our waitress are hot - Spicy Hot!

Michael said...

Went to Barcelona Tapas last night. Could Indy be buiser this weekend? Fun to see so many people walking around downtown.
Place was jammed, but we actually had great service--it may have even been the highlight of the experience. Food came out in a timely manner and Damien was full of suggestions that panned out for us. As has been mentioned, this place is loud. I think BT needs to decide whether it's a restaurant/bar or a club. I hate when a place tries to be too many different things. It's one thing to shout a conversation at a concert or nightclub, but pretty annoying when you're trying to eat.Thankfully, our server turned off the music in our room. Bursts of applause followed.
Spiffy manager type came out to talk to us after the meal. Not necessary, but it gave us that faux-important feeling we all love.
We did notice people eating outside, so they must have gotten that straightened out.
I'd definitely go back.

Gastroholic said...

I've been once. The food was mediocre, the server was really bad ( I was brought my Sangria, finished it and then my fiance got her glass of wine). The music is disjointed.

When someone gives you some criticism, absorb it, it just may be the truth.

Anonymous said...

I don't normally leave negative comments on places, but after eagerly waiting for Barcelona to open I was very dissapointed with my first meal there. Had lunch on Sat. with my husband around 1 pm. We were expecting much higher quality food than we received.. I found the food to be under-whelming in spice and prep. Chicken was dry and overdone, garlic potato salad was missing the punch- it tasted and had the texture of deli food, meatballs were in a sauce that tasted mostly of tomato paste. Service was OK, however we did ask if we should stagger the orders (we ordered 4 items). Our server said they would come out at different times and not to worry about ordering as we go- well, they all showed up at once! Not great for a place that is supposed to be about leisurely dining and drinking. We had 2 clean tapas plates btwn us, and not once did they replace them. I have had tapas before and normally you either have several stacked plates, or they float around and exchange them between dishes. Drinks were great- but way overpriced at $7.50 a pop, a glass of sangria was watery and not very tasty (and mostly ice at $4). The desert of Tres Leches cake saved the entire meal, the only highlight sadly. For a $60.00 lunch with tip, we were looking for more, much more. I would be willing to try them one more time, in the evening and see if it was just an off day. Here's to hoping!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I think it wasn't an off day (from the previous poster).
Not great by any standard, and not worth the price or poor service. I mean, come on- we are close enough to Chicago to be able to at least be close to par with them? Hopefully they will close (as rumored) and be replaced by something better in the small plates category, with better food and much better service. Indianapolis needs some small-plates good cuisine places, this one never lived up to the promises and all the rumors seem to be pointing in the direction of splitsville soon. On the opposite end from tapas- Fogo is fantastic! Great meats, fantastic attentive service, great drinks fairly priced and a salad bar that rocks!