I don’t quite even know where to begin with this one. I’ve seriously attempted to blog this a few times within the last week since having this meal and it always starts off like an episode of Sex and the City, where Carrie attempts to write her column and struggles for the words. I searched other blogs that have also written about the Tickets experience and I find comfort in their experiences of not even realizing or remembering what was had but just that it was incredible. So here goes, I’ll try to share.
It is no secret that this is not an easy ticket to get (pun intended, always). Reservations must be acquired 60 days in advance to the day, online and at 6pm, Barcelona time. My husband and I are forever grateful to his sister and her husband for being so relentless in getting a table for four on the last night of their stay in Barcelona. I’m always a little weary of jumping through hoops for a restaurant. Is it hype? Is it pretentious? The answer is no, not even close. In fact, the atmosphere was super relaxed, the service was so friendly and I suggest you put the menu in their hands and let them guide you on a culinary tour of what they do best. I’m not going to bore you with one picture of each menu item (code for: I couldn’t tell you what each dish was even with a photo of the menu on hand). The photos were swiftly taken so not to interrupt the eating. What I also enjoyed was a simple explanation on how to eat certain dishes. Again, you might think that to be pretentious, but it’s them wanting you to experience the food the way it was intended to be tasted. A perfect example is the Tickets olive. It’s molecular gastronomy. It’s hard and a bit silly to describe what it feels like to have food explode in your mouth, but it does just that. And it was unexpected. I truly believe some experiences are meant to have just once. You don’t want to get accustomed to eating in this manner.
I will say, if you are looking for a beverage recommendation, this is the place to have the Estrella Damm Inedit beer. My husband and I first had this in Hong Kong at the restaurant Yardbird. We learned that this beer originated from the now closed El Bulli restaurant as a beer to compliment meals like this.
Let’s just look at pictures instead of me trying to assemble something intelligent to say about this. A few things to note, the first one on the second row was a take on tuna nigiri and it was sitting on a rice puff that had a meringue texture. The middle picture on the bottom row is basically pizza with the Inedit beer.
I have no idea what this first one was but it was explained that it had something to do with winter so we aptly named it the John Snow. The third one was an oyster that our waitress poured a fresh Bloody Mary on top. The noodle dish was made with oyster mushroom pasta!
These are the desserts. This is a beet tart that I found to be interesting and delightful but if you are not a beet fan, could be an odd taste. Next up, a wafer with a cheesecake, a delicious tableside prepared sea salt chocolate ice cream and finished with a shot (shared with our amazing waitress).
The restaurant is circus/movie theater themed. Everyone is dressed as an usher or a ringmaster. It puts you at ease. We were reminded of the scene in Ratatouille, where the restaurant critic takes a bite and is transported back to his childhood. This is what that meal feels like. Recalling your childhood, recalling that meals were a time shared with the ones you love and how food brings people together.
Based on what I’ve seen about other Tickets meals, is that no two meals are alike. It’s tapas without the pretense. We were the last ones in the restaurant and we joyfully walked out well after the subways stopped running and managed to hail a cab back to our neighborhood singing “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” (not really but doesn’t that make for a good story?).