Spanish Mainstream

Looking for that big break at Barcelona

In recent years, Spanish cuisine has graduated steadily upward from cult to trend to, at the moment, rage. The next step is breakthrough, but I wonder if Barcelona will be the instrument of that final conquest of the mainstream. Its tapas, though largely excellent, are a little expensive, and some of its main dishes could use a bit of off-center West Coast imagination. At dinnertime, the restaurant's atmosphere is redolent of Spain's moody charm, but while regional authenticity might draw crowds eager for a taste of the new and unfamiliar, the real test is whether it will hold them over time.

Barcelona, at 7 Spring St., serves lunch weekdays from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m, dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 until 10 p.m., and dinner Friday and Saturday from 5:30 until 11 p.m. Tapas are available at the bar during afternoon hours as well. Call 989-1976.

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