Barcino is a new Spanish restaurant from the Absinthe group (Absinthe, Barzotto, Comstock Saloon) in Hayes Valley, in the space that used to be Boxing Room. I had an early dinner here.
toasted catalan tomato bread
This was ok. Slices of grilled toast along with a small dish of tomato sauce and some flaky salt, with which you can make your own pan con tomate. The tomato sauce was kind of bland, maybe could have used more salt or olive oil or garlic. A bit expensive.
crispy potato cup, bravas salsa, charred-scallion alioli & dust
This was an interesting take on patatas bravas. Four deep fried discs of potato, each with a little well in it that had a layer of salsa and then topped with a generous amount of green aioli. I liked it. It solves the problem of running out of sauce and aioli that you get sometimes when eating typical patatas bravas. Maybe a touch too much aioli and a touch too little of the salsa.
lamb meatball, padron pepper, saffron-braised noodle, corn, pine nut, chive-labneh
I thought this was very good. The lamb meatballs were tender and flavorful. They were cooked medium rare - a little pink in the middle. In a meaty broth or sauce with some vermicelli sized broken noodles in it. There was a nice play in textures and flavors between the meatballs, al dente noodles, the crunchy pine nuts, sweet raisins, and tangy chive labneh. The raisins, labneh, and spicing gave it a bit of a North African flavor.
Also had a gin and tonic ($13), which you order by picking out a gin and a tonic from their menu. It was refreshing. And herbal - there was a sprig of rosemary, some thyme, and a bay leaf in the glass.