Saturday, November 19, 2005

Restaurant 67: Bar Pilar (Valencia, Spain)



Clockwise from top left: The buckets on Bar Pilar's floor; Mussels in tomato broth; The cheapest wine Spain had to over - a liter box for 45 cents!; Afternoon in Valencia.


RESTAURANT: Bar Pilar
LOCATION: Calle Moro Zeit 13, Valencia, Spain
DATE: August 30, 2005
FOOD: Split the following: Mussels with Tomato Broth; Patatas Bravas; Black Pudding and Lomo Boccadilo; Ham Omelette Boccadillo
BEVERAGE: Glass of Marista Vino
PRICE: 8.25 Euros

The night before joining in Europe’s largest food fight seemed the appropriate time to try a restaurant where throwing food wasn’t only acceptable, it was downright encouraged. Bar Pilar’s reputation as an inexpensive but dependable tapas place frequented by locals came from the reliable Lonely Planet, Europe on a Shoestring, guidebook. Bar Pilar fit the description perfectly. Waited on by a kindly, middle aged man, who was most likely the owner, our meal was as low key as Bar Pilar’s simple, black and white tile d├ęcor. Danny and I decided to split an order of patatas bravas, two boccadillos (Spanish sandwiches) and the mussels for which Bar Pilar is known.

While throwing hundreds of tomatoes the next day at Tomatina 2005 was childishly addictive, the fact that the mussel shells we threw into buckets on Bar Pilar’s floor couldn’t be thrown back with harmful velocity gave the meal an advantage over its festive food competition. The mussels had a pleasant chew and the tomato broth served alongside gave a nice, salty gloss to the dish. While the patatas bravas couldn’t match those of Tia Pol, the dual layering of saucing, with heavy mayonnaise on top and pepper broth beneath, caused the crispy fried taters to have a surprising degree of complexity. However, both sandwiches were forgettable at best, unappetizing at worse, the omelette too oily, the black pudding like onion and mystery meat gruel and placed in bread that was noticeable for its American grocery store deficiencies, especially when compared to the other great breads we’d had in Spain. Thus, while Bar Pilar may have given our arms a warm up for Tomatina, it should have been the sandwiches and not the mussel shells that were tossed by the wayside.

RATING: 4.5/10
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