It took us a while to get into this place, if you try and go on any night, it’s packed, and it’s a small place, but doesn’t feel cramped, with the floor to ceiling windows that open up to busy Diagonal (a street that cuts across the city, for all you non-Barcelonans). You have a few options of seating arrangements: marble (or is it granite?) counter tops that wrap around the bar, or big, rotund dark wooden barrels that often serve as the tables in so many establishments in that city. On one wall wines with old tags around their bottle necks are encased in glass. The menu is displayed on a couple chalkboards hanging around the bar. Not too long, but there are sure to be plenty of things you’ll want. So we did finally get in one night, and kept going back. They even have a killer breakfast, which I made sure to have a few days before departing. Oh, did I forget to say what it’s called? Bar Mut, for those who don’t know it. I guess it’s a play on the Spanish for vermouth, vermút, because both are pronounced similarly (mut=moot).
Bar Mut is not a cheap place, but the quality is well worth the price. There’s so much more to be had than the few pictures I have here, and I only wish I had taken pictures of that breakfast (I’m sure it included a glass of cava or two, eggs, perhaps xistorra, beans stewed in pig fat, and all simply but beautifully presented). For dinner, I went with esqueixada to start. Esqueixada is a ‘salad’ of bacalao (salt cod), tomatoes, olives, and onions, all bathed in olive oil.
It’s very Catalan. I don’t normally gravitate towards a fish salad (in my mind, a salad should have greens in it), but consider it a take on tuna salad. It’s cold and refreshing, and goes back to a basic pairing of olive oil and salt that plays well off each other. I’ve had it at a variety of restaurants, and wanted to see how they did it up at Bar Mut. They served it as a timbale (a built-up cylinder), and they had a sort of tomato puree on the bottom, followed by bacalao, and then some tomatoes and sundried tomatoes. Bar Mut read my mind and surrounded it with greens and a little olive tapenade. Good stuff.
For some reason, I insisted on foie gras. I think I was still in my phase where I had to order it every time I went out if it was on the menu. Not only did I order foie gras, I ordered it with two fried eggs. Talk about greasy and heavy. I used to subsist off bread and pasta, but with food like this, you can’t fill up on bread and not order the plate of foie and eggs. What can I say? It was seared foie and eggs, and I smeared some on bread and I would do it over and over again, whenever I do go back to Bar Mut.
The next dish is not my doing, and I can’t remember what it was…but I’m sure it was enjoyed.
Then came some steak, mushrooms, and potatoes. Delicious mushrooms, tasty, tender beef…I’m looking at the picture now and wondering if it might be beef cheeks? I was a big fan of those in Spain. They fell apart with a fork like brisket, and always were dripping with a rich brown gravy. Not a complaint here.
That ends our brief reflection on Bar Mut’s food, I’ll see what I can do about getting more photos (and food) but I think sooner than that yall will be reading about what San Francisco has to offer. I think it’s promising.
I will leave you with one final picture of, let’s call it, ‘atmosphere’. I still don’t know what those little spray bottles are, the ones with a green mesh covering, that appear in restaurants every now and then. I will say that they are dangerous. If you do decide to spray them, make sure and aim for your dining partner, rather than the person at the table next to you. You can barely catch a glimpse in the top right corner of the chalkboard menu, items written in curly letters. And a simple flower in a label-less wine bottle.