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Barcelona Tapas Brings Modernist Cuisine to Puerto Vallarta

Posted: 20/12/2015

By: C. D. Selph

Matamoros & 31 de Octubre - in Colonia El Centro

For the first time in Puerto Vallarta, Piso Paladar, a private dining room on the second level of Barcelona Tapas, tantalizes diners with modernist cuisine: molecular gastronomy. Pictured above are Barcelona Tapas owner William Carballo (center); noted sommelier Antonio Mara from Vinos & Wine (left); and Chef Gunther Auerbach (right), formerly of Mexico City and now culinary professor at University of Vizcaya in Puerto Vallarta. Their partnership has created Piso Paladar.        

Pictures cannot do the food justice; reading the menu only whets the appetite and teases your intellect. However, I’ll tempt you with some brief descriptions of the dishes we enjoyed during a recent visit.

      Preparation of Burbuja Sorpresa (mixed salad, pictured left) — composed of achiote-spiced pineapple enveloped in a parmesan crust with mixed greens tossed with a vinaigrette of Jerez and soya. See how the salad is infused with mesquite smoke. This is one of the many complex dishes constructed by Chef Auerbach with impeccable credentials from Colegio Superior de Gastronomica and experience worldwide including Gaylord’s Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

The open kitchen allows you to watch the preparation while dining in casual, air-conditioned elegance surrounded by the art of Nicolás Gómez. Don’t be wary— for the uninitiated, this is not chemical food— only the freshest of ingredients prepared with a scientific flair. The flavors, textures, and sheer beauty of each presentation will intrigue your taste buds and delight your artistic eye.

Gazpacho de Betabel de Casa (pictured below left) is an egg of beet gazpacho accompanied by homemade breads with whipped olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar for spreading. There was Tártara de atún (small cubes of Tuna Tartar) with Asian flavors of ponzu and hondashi on a glimmer of texturized avocado topped with an airy wasabi/lime cloud. WOW! 

Shrimp Mignon (pictured below center) bowed like a Hindi with flavors of tikka masala topped with julienned slivers of fried beets and leeks. The slight heat of the spice danced with the sweetness of the vegetables and sang a mantra in your mouth. Another WOW! 

Carnitas Tostada was a Mexican sombrero of rib-eye beef cooked for 24 hours in a sous vide (a vacuum pack process of water cooking) topped with pickled nopal and a lime chili foam. The droplets of molcajete green and red salsa would have tickled Diego Rivera. Yes, you’re catching on—that was another WOW!

We don’t like to play favorites, but we did agree with Chef Gunther and Chef Bill: if we had to select the dish we liked best, it would be the Parfait de Foie Gras (pictured below right). I can tell you about the jamaica gel, the honey pearls, and the foie gras cream with the handcrafted corn crackers... but words cannot describe the incredible taste. In our opinion, this was a triple WOW!


There are more plates, of course plus a special Sopresa (surprise desert) to sweeten the end of an exhilarating evening of food exploration. Listen to Sommelier Mora whose decades of knowledge will enlighten you even if you’re an oenophile which we are not. Chef Gunther helped us understand the culinary process which peaked our interest (both of us do a bit more than dabble in the kitchen). His company Molecular Chef supplies many of the implements and ingredients used for this type of cuisine in Mexico. From both chefs, we learned about Ferran Adriá, the 3-Michelin starred chef of El Bulli (Costa Brava, Spain) considered one of the world’s best and the creator of many of modernist cuisines techniques from foam to CO2 infusion. Chef Carballo’s story about dining there several years ago gave us a giggle.

All three men—William Carballo, Gunther Auerbach, and Antonia Mora— have ties to Puerto Vallarta, some for years others for decades. Their friendship and passion for food and wine have melded and created something special at Piso Paladar. Now you can enjoy this spectacular cuisine in Puerto Vallarta. Call now and experience your own WOW!

Six and eight course menus (695/895 pesos, respectively) are offered Friday and Saturday nights at 6 and 9 pm during season. Wines, both Mexican and international, paired by Mora are additional. For advance reservation and full details on the delicious changing menu call 322-222-0510 or visit 

<> updated: 2015-12-21 | 13:31:00 CST | js 

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