Cadaques Tapas Bar
188 Grand Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Owner Mathieu Reboul's parents got married in Cadaques, a small seaside town in Catalonia near the French border where Salvador Dali spent much of his childhood. Reboul, who grew up nearby in the South of France, spent his whole life working in restaurants, from busboy to manager, before deciding to open a cozy tapas spot in the neighborhood he has lived in for four years.
He took 14 months to do everything himself; the remodeling, the electricity, everything. It paid off. The space shows a commitment to the past without feeling forced or kitschy. He rusted the tin for the ceiling in his own basement, cut apart burlap sacks to line walls and repurposed the wood from the space's old incarnation, two ground-level apartments, to line the walls.
I first discovered the Cadaques while walking past on a warm spring day; the front windows were wide open while Spanish guitar poured out into the street. The bar in front is inviting, a handsome mix of metal and wood, lined by leather seats. Order one of the 50 different Spanish wines or seven draft beers, including local craft brews and imports like Leffe and Stella.
Most of the dishes, aside from the seven different paellas, draw inspiration from Catalonia. Chef Guillaume Thivet, who trained under David Bouley, prepares a wide array of tapas such as the very popular croquetas (filled with everything from Serrano ham to Manchego cheese), steamed clams with chorizo and white wine, and fried artichokes with fennel pollen aioli. There are entrees as well, including a nicely seasoned lamb chop seasoned with garlic and parsley.
Cadaques is Spanish through and through, especially when it comes to music. On Thursdays musicians come in play flamenco while DJs stop in during weekends to spin Latin lounge jams. The vibe is pleasantly relaxed, making it a great place to order a charcuterie plate sporting the Rolls Royce of hams: Mangalitsa, the wooly haired pig with the soft, creamy fat that dreams are made of. Take a bite and imagine you're in a place far warmer than New York.
Photos by Ashley Minette