After having the fortune to live in Spain for a summer, I have high expectations for any tapas restaurant that I visit. Last month, my dining partner (aka, spouse) and I tried out Bulla Gastrobar in Midtown. Tucked along 11th Street near the Federal Reserve Building, the location is at the end of the Crescent Avenue corridor. Monday is a quiet night, but there was a respectable crowd.
The tapas selection leans a bit toward Basque style, although the menu has the usual Spanish tapas selections with a special seasonal section. The wine list is almost exclusively Spanish, and there is a small, but inventive cocktail menu. We had a Monastrell and a Finca Resalso, both respectable and highly drinkable reds.
For dinner we choose the Pan de Cristal Con Tomate, Ham Croquettes with fig jelly, the Potato Tortilla, the Patatas Bravas, and the Cumin-marinated Pork Loin Pintxos. Every dish was exactly what it should be, and I was particularly impressed by the sauces: aioli that was subtly garlicy; Romesco sauce that was spicy, but not out of balance with the aioli; fig jam that was a surprising match with the ham croquettes; and a yogurt sauce that perfectly complemented the cumin pork. The portions were just enough for two people sharing.
The couple next to us had the Huevos ‘Bulla’ (over easy eggs topping homemade potato chips and Serrano ham with potato foam and truffle oil), clearly a dish taking its cues from Ferran Adrià’s famous culinary foam at El Bulli. That dish looked more substantial and could be shared by four people—or two very hungry people.
For dessert, the Copa Bulla (a base of Granny Smith apples marinated in Greek yogurt topped with caramel sauce and a feather-light dulce de leche whipped cream with strawberry garnish) was the perfect summer ending to a great meal—or so we thought. At the last minute we decided to try the Emilio Lustau Deluxe Cream sherry, which was described online at “not your grandmother’s sherry.” Indeed, it is not. I’m not a huge sherry fan, but I would drink this again at any opportunity.
Overall, the experience was a good one. The staff tries a bit hard for a high-end tone – something they don’t need to do given how excellent the food is. Bulla Gastrobar is definitely worth a visit.
Bulla Gastrobar is located at 60 11th Street in Midtown. For reservations and information, visit bullagastrobar.com.