Palo Verde Barcelona
2020 is the year all the cracks began to show. Like the Universe pulled the patched up fabric of our daily lives and held it up to the light. Restaurants, businesses and even relationships that could have puttered along lamely for years gave up.
Hope and imagination are usually persistent fellows. Like one of those trick birthday candles that after being extinguished with a mighty puff, sputters back to a steady flame. Defying expectations. Unless it gets submerged in water, then even the best trick candle doesn’t stand a chance. And 2020 was a washout.
And so it has been with the food and beverage sector. This is the time of the year that I usually wrap up the year. I tell you my top spots of the previous year. Not this year though. It would be more timely to give you a list of closures but who wants to read that?
Still. There were people who opened restaurants. And in the brief moments of respite, where humanity flooded back in to do what they were genetically programmed to do, connect over food, there they were: hope and imagination.
Palo Verde opened almost a year ago. Slotted into the long, narrow format that Eixample restaurants have to contend with. In reference to the green, there are green tiles in the kitchen, green cushions and green paint. Palo means stick and a lot of the food comes on a stick. Like a duck thigh, minced and glazed with a teryiaki like sauce then wrapped around a stick and cooked on coals (10.50€).
There is more to the name. Palo Verde is an Argentinian / Uraguaian expression that means a million dollars. If you have un palo verde you’ve made it. And from what I saw on a busy for Covid lunch service at Palo Verde, they just might.
They have a few advantages. Being small for example- just the owner and the chef. Palo Verde avoids the money drain of a menu del dia in favour of small plates hovering around the 10€ mark. Even for me, someone who eats little, it takes three dishes.
With the French chef’s expertise on the coals, the vegetarian dishes I order end up tasting meaty from the smoke. An eggplant burrata (7.5€) is plump and seedless. The Maitake mushrooms with home made “ñoqui’ (8€) should be ordered with bread to drag through any residual butter and smoke left behind. Palo Verde takes bread from the Turris bakery around the corner and briefly grills it, allowing for a contrast between the sour yeasty smell and the harsh smoke and making me mistake it for homebaked bread.
They’ve had a busy service so my only option for dessert is Goat’s cheese with fig jam and more bread. Not what I’ve been hankering for after a smokey meal. But I am assured that next time, there will be a slice of cake.
Palo Verde Barcelona
C/ Corsega 232