We’ve been consistently impressed with chef Luis Roger's beautiful and delectable cuisine since we reviewed BCN Taste & Tradition just over a year ago. So, when we were invited to check out the new winter menu, we said yes, knowing full well the kind of photo opportunities the food presents. BCN Taste & Tradition is a restaurant ideal for romantic dates, special occasions or diners simply seeking some of the most ambitious, beautiful food in Houston.
Looks aren’t everything and it wouldn’t matter if the dishes were merely stunning on a visual level. They are delectable, too. Brace yourselves, because we’re going on a photo tour of delicacies. You might want to have a snack nearby.
A good meal begins with a good cocktail. BCN is known for its inventive range of gin and tonics, but the latest addition almost sounds good for you. It's a combination of winter soothers called suspiro de limón. "Suspiro" means "sigh" in Spanish, and there's a Peruvian dessert that has a very similar name, suspiro de lime. The tart and herbal combination of lemon juice, chamomile-infused pisco, Lillet, lemon marmalade and sage will cheer up a gloomy day for citrusy cocktail lovers.
The patatas bravas BCN is one of those dishes that are utterly dependent on high-quality ingredients for success. Good olive oil, rich aioli and garlic are the key to success. A striking, flag-like stripe of high-quality paprika grabs immediate attention, and pools of hot pepper oil are embraced by more aioli if a diner wants to spice up the potato cylinders. The golden, light-catching gems on the plate are little spheres of olive oil.
No one ever said comfort food couldn't be pretty. BCN's take on what is essentially beefy pasta, called Grandma's Canelón, is briefly browned under a broiler before being nestled in a pool of milky béchamel. This is one of the Spanish restaurant's milder, more approachable dishes.
BCN has added to its menu one of the most unique takes on dumplings we've seen. They are "shrimp dumplings," but instead of shrimp being enveloped in a wrapper, the shrimp is the wrapper! The dark rivulets of sauce on the plate are a reduction of shrimp stock, and diners who cut into the dumplings will discover they are filled with mushroom duxelles.
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Diners might very well be taken aback by the $58 price tag of BCN's suckling pig "a la Segoviana" with apple in textures, but it's a dish well worth sharing. On the plate is a succulent, fatty, shatteringly crisp plank of what is some of the best pork we've ever tasted. A bite might make your eyes roll back and lead you to exclaim, "Oh my goodness!" It's that good, so to take the price point pain away, bring a friend and share the wealth. Around the plate are roasted apple wedges, apply foam and apple compote wrapped in a cylinder formed from an airy ribbon of crepe.
That brings us back around to this beauty for dessert. In Spanish, it's called "Falso bizcocho de naranja con sorbete de limón y sopa de naranja sanguina." Here's how that descriptive mouthful translates to English: "false orange sponge cake with lemon sorbet and blood orange soup." The "false" part is because the foundation of this is not a cake at all. Yes, the cake really is a lie. Instead, it's a rectangle of carefully whipped, airy gelatin and may be the lightest dessert most diners have ever had. The sweet blood orange sauce is prime for gently dipping hunks of the "cake," and the lemon sorbet serves as a final cooling touch for the end of the meal as much as for the dessert.
Chef Luis Roger is as ambitious as ever and BCN Taste & Tradition will likely continue wowing diners and making new fans for quite some time to come. Just be sure to make a reservation first. On the night of our visit, the dining room was full, and with good reason.