Best Spanish Restaurant - 2003
La Barraca - CLOSED
The focus on Spanish food these days seems to be all about the avant-garde gelatins and foams with which the young chefs, many from the Basque region, are playing. Imagination has its place, but so does tradition, which is why we're grateful to chef-proprietor Jorge Luis Fernandez. Where other Spanish chefs are taking paella and putting it in the blender, Fernandez is serving the rice dish as it should be, though he is hardly ignorant of progress and process -- the vegetarian paella, for example, is made up of organic roots and vegetables with the rice and saffron. Fernandez has as firm a handle on international flavors as he does on his classic mustache. Thus, you can get anything from Australian lamb chops to French cuts of meat. But keep in mind that the tapas, including sautéed cuttlefish or pickled white anchovies, are generally so good that it's all too easy to fill up on the first wave.