The subject of this week's cafe review, Majorca Bistro & Tapas, had every single one of my dining companions at odds over one thing: its striking red and black decor. We couldn't ultimately decide whether it was sexy or just silly.
In one dining room, the walls are dark black and covered with trompe-l'œil paintings meant to resemble old bullfighting posters. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling, barely casting light onto the red leather seats and black tables below. In the other dining area, gold trim surrounds a tray ceiling that's painted with baroque scenes while large red booths loom at both ends of the room. On the patio outside, giant metal sculptures of bull snort real flames from their steel nostrils.
One evening, my Arab dining companion commented on all of the gilt and gold: "This place looks like it's owned by Arabs." She was right, by the way; Majorca is owned by cousins Hicham Nafaa and Ali Bendella, both of whom are Moroccan.
It's all a bit overdone, but it's also Midtown -- home of late-night clubs with dark corners much like Majorca's. So does the aesthetic fit? Should it be enjoyed on its own merits, as a unique interpretation of Spanish decor through a Moroccan lens? Or with tongue in cheek, a wink and a nod to the overt, somewhat gaudy sexiness?
Have a look through the photos below and decide for yourself. One thing is for sure either way: The food -- which is also a Moroccan interpretation of tapas -- is mighty good, even if it's overdressed at times too.