Three sweaty and tired men roam the humid streets of Barcelona, Spain. They are extremely hungry and looking for any food that will rejuvenate them for the day and night ahead. The wanderers take a turn into a small narrow street. A sign that reads Petit Comitè: Cuina Tradicional Catalana catches their eyes. These guys have been wanting to try a traditional Catalonian restaurant, and so without any hesitation they enter the restaurant. As soon as they walk in they feel a bit out of place in their t-shirts and shorts, as the restaurant is hip and trendy, most likely a fine dining establishment. Despite some reservations, they continue in and are invited to sit down for what will be one of the best meals of their trip in Europe. These men were my two good friends Eugene and Phil, and myself. We stumbled into a Michelin guide and gastronomic restaurant, with no clue what kind of treat we were in for.
Chef Nandu Jubany, a master of Catalonian high-end gastronomy, opened up Petit Comitè in 2014. He has been cooking since his childhood and one of his other restaurants, Can Jubany, located in the district of Osona, has held a star (signifying high quality cooking) on the Michelin Guide since 1998. Petit Comitè has a plate (signifying very good cooking) on the Michelin Guide. The chef uses seasonal products that come right from the local ground, so dishes may change depending on the time of the year. However, the menu at Petit Comitè offers a large variety of both traditional and non-traditional dishes that feature a modern presentation.
Petit Comitè is located in the heart of Barcelona on Pasaje de la Concepción No. 13, which is known as the Culinary street of central Barcelona. The exterior is modern with a black awning displaying the restaurant’s name. Once you enter the restaurant your eyes are filled with with colors, shapes, and imagery that excites the senses. The interior is extremely modern and chic, with one wall painted bright green and others containing plates of glass with stripes and polka dots on them. There are also futuristic and magical elements that include a honeycomb looking light fixture and what seem to be swans made of nets hanging from the ceiling over the bar.
Once my friends and I were seated we were immediately offered appetizer and bread service which we accepted. Among the best given to us during this early part of the meal were the exquisitely presented and shaped chicharrones, which are fried pork rinds. They were a nice salty and crunchy start to our meal. We were also given refreshing cups of gazpacho, a soup traditionally served cold, made from raw vegetables such as tomatoes. The soup was insanely flavorful and fresh, and was quickly slurped up by Eugene, Phil, and myself in a matter of minutes.
The star of the show at Petit Comitè was the bone marrow with tartar. The large bones containing the marrow, steak tartar, and other accompaniments were presented in a modern, yet earthy format on top of a sliver of a tree stump-looking platter. The combination of extremely tender steak, fatty and rich marrow, and crispy bread puffs (not really sure what these are called, but we can all agree they look like delicious pillows) was a match made in heaven. It was by far the favorite dish of the meal for all three of us and is the best bone marrow I’ve ever had.
For Eugene and Phil’s main course they decided to split the Grilled octopus with mashed potatoes and cayenne pepper. With an unfortunate allergy to virtually everything that swims, I was unable to try this delicious looking plate. However, Eugene and Phil both enjoyed the dish. For my main course I ordered the boneless pork stuffed with duck confit, topped with dried apricots and pine nuts. The meat melted in my mouth, and the accompaniment of a the sauce and the dried apricot gave it a sweet, fruity, and rich flavor. It was certainly one of the most interesting dishes I tried in my time in Barcelona.
For dessert we went with the sugar burnt pineapple with yogurt. The pineapple was caramelized and drizzled in honey, served with a yogurt ice cream. It had just the right amount of sweetness, and the yogurt ice cream was especially smooth and creamy. After this dish we were given mignardises, bite-sized desserts traditionally served at the end of the meal. Each of us received a small bite size piece of lemon pound cake, a lemon marshmallow, and chocolate truffle. The lemon pound cake was very moist and the chocolate truffle was decadent, melting in my mouth. But it was the marshmallow that ended up being the best mignardise. The marshmallow had a perfect chewy yet soft consistency, which made it a great sweet bite to end a fantastic meal.
With fabulous food, an amazing environment, and stellar service there was little to find fault in my experience at Petit Comitè. While one of the more expensive meals of the Euro trip, my friends I felt that every dollar we spent was worth it. It was an unsuspected fine dining experience for us all that we will remember for quite some time. I would highly recommend Petit Comitè for dinner or lunch if visiting the beautiful and lively city of Barcelona. As suggested in the restaurant’s name, the plates are small, but the taste is out of this world.
-Michael Averbook, Foodie Extraordinaire