I have written about how anxious I become whenever Ferran Adrià comes to New York and there is even the slightest possibility that I may have to take him to dinner—or advise him where to go. I can assure you that Ferran suffers no such nervousness when I visit him in Barcelona.
On a Saturday in Barcelona at the beginning of October, he has me meet him at Tickets—the funhouse tapas bar that he and his brother Albert started in the city’s old theater district. Then, after a quick whirl through that place and Albert’s other venture, 41—the adjoining haute ticket in the foodie universe—we step across the street to Bodega 1900, a marvelous recreation of a turn-of-the-previous-century vermouth bar. Just about a month old, it is another of Albert’s restaurants—and another showcase for the idea that Ferran’s kid brother is the best cook—not just chef—in the world today. This is what passes for bar food at Bodega 1900—anchovies accompanied by spherical olives, tuna that has been cured like Spain’s great hams, jamon from the five-generation old purveyor Joselito that will make you weep unctuous tears. It all seems to have descended from the heaven occupied by elBulli—Ferran’s legendary restaurant that closed in 2011 but which lives on as a potent cultural icon for Catalonia, for Spain and for the world.
Ferran says, “We won’t eat too much here. We’re still going to dinner.”