Bar Ferdinand

I made an executive decision on Friday to go to Bar Ferdinand, sit outside, and just enjoy the weather with some tasty little plates. Everyone else must have thought this idea too, as the wait for an outside table would have been 40 minutes. I hate waiting, so we were offered a booth right by the door instead, and we grabbed it right quick. It was almost like being outside, so I say, it was close enough.
This is a very attractive restaurant. Surprisingly bigger than I thought it would be. It’s fairly dark, with lots of bull motifs everywhere. There are giant ceramic/glass mosaics of bulls that are fairly impressive. Dried hanging rose stems abound around the bar, which boasts an impressive number of wine bottles that end up as really nice decoration. Even though it was really attractive, it didnt’ feel at all pretentious to me. Even schlubbed out as I was, per usual, I felt completely comfortable. They have a really long table, which either seems to be for large parties or is a communal table.
We got a pitcher of white sangria. I’d read that these tend to be watered down, but I found it strong enough. It was really a great way to start out the evening. Sure, it could have been better and there could have been a wider variety of fruits in there (it was mostly oranges, lemons, and maybe some melon?) but it was still light and refreshing. I’ll admit it though, I drank most of it. I’m a sucker for sangria in the summer.

They have lots of wine and a decent selection of beers. A/H showed up a little later and ordered an Estrella Damm beer. What did he think? “Damm, this is ordinary.”

So since this is a Spanish Tapas restaurant, we just decided to order a bunch of stuff and share. Behold one of my favorite dishes of the whole night. It was one of the specials, a cold soup. I totally forget what was actually in it, but there was definitely cucumbers, watermelon, and probably roasted red peppers. It was garnished with some creme fraiche and sliced strawberries. Both R and I absolutely loved this cold soup. It was souper. :-)

Some calamari. I thought this was pretty good too, with a red pepper puree and a shallot aioli. Both these dips were good, and so were the calamari. The batter for the calamari seemed to have some cornmeal in it, which made it different than regular calamari, in a good way.
Charred watermelon with serrano ham and tarragon. It was fine, but the watermelon wasn’t charred in any way, shape, or form. But don’t get me wrong, it was still good.
One of the other favorites of the evening – mussels with chorizo, tomato, beer, and pasta. Oh man, get a big hunk of chorizo with some tomato and pasta. So, so good. The flavors in this were intense and great.

Duck confit with a berry jam/compote of some kind. This was ok, but definitely one of our least favorites. Not bad in any way, but none of us were particularly in love with it.
Ooh baby. Seared lamb with moroccan relish and citrus yogurt. I’m not usually into lamb, but a dish like this makes me want to change my mind. This was beyond good.
One of the cool things that Bar Ferdinand does is cook giant things of paella outdoors. When we got there, he had just started cooking up a big batch. Look how beautiful that is!
So you know I had to order this. This was cooked really well, and included veggies and shrimp, clams, and mussels. There was also a big hunk of chicken in there, but it was a bit undercooked, so I tried to stay away from it. I love me some paella and I would definitely order this again.
So it is definitely small plates here and nothing is of big portions. This isn’t a bad thing because there’s definitely room for desserts at a place like this. Don’t remember exactly what this was, but it was almond ice cream based.

Yet another dessert I don’t remember, but it was all kinds of chocolate / coffee stuff in a cup with a froth on top. This was extremely rich and strong. Way too strong for my wussy ass.
This was by far the best dessert of the evening, and one of the best dishes of the entire evening. Fried cider soaked bread wtih cinnamon ice cream and candied orange zest. So damn good I can’t even tell you.
Last but not least, a blueberry cheesecake. The menu had a regular cheesecake, but they only had this blueberry available. It was different, but good. Not something I would order again but certainly worth trying.

Service was ok. Our waiter wasn’t particularly attentive, but there were enough staff running around the place that eventually, you can flag somebody down. The food didn’t take super long to come out though, but the service could definitely be better here. My water glass was always filled though, so I can’t complain about that. When we ordered wine and beer, that took an unnaturally long time to come out. There was a nice mix of people there that night – tattooed nolibs hipsters, popped collars on dates, bachelorette party girls, and senior citizens looking adorable. Really, it was a lovely dinner.

PS – The place is fairly big, but only has three bathrooms. In fact, there’s only one unisex bathroom on the first floor. Down the stairs, there are two more. I don’t know about you, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough! Aren’t there building codes? They do have these cute little bathroom signs. It’s a two-headed man/woman bull thingy.

I totally dug these tile floors. I wish I had a spanish style villa so I could have floors like these.

The bathrooms themselves are ok. Clean enough, all marble and stuff… modern fixtures. I think the floors are the highlight.

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