Sense Pressa is a small place with walls lined with wine and spirits. There are only about 6 tables so reservations are a must and well worth the effort to get one. Owner José Díaz keeps a close eye on the dining room and seemed to know many of the customers. The menu is available in Spanish, Catalan and English and luckily he and his son Victor are there to help you pick just the right selections, however Victor speaks much better English. In addition to the menu listings there may be specials of the day. Victor also is the wine buyer and was most helpful in that department. It was a thoroughly delightful evening in their house.
Tables are set with a snack of large briny olives and sardines and they are not a throwaway by any means. The house bread is crusty and doughy and I think I could have eaten the whole loaf, but be careful you want to have plenty of room for the tasty food to come.
We started with the chickpeas, fried egg and “espardenyas” or sea cucumber like ingredient. I didn’t get a picture when they brought it out where the egg is on top as they were helpful to mix it together for the best eating. The chickpeas were outstanding – tender and not a bit dry – and made a perfect accompaniment for the equally tender bits of seafood. The egg pieces added a touch of richness for a total yummy dish. This dish is on the regular menu and not to be missed.
Next was the clams and artichokes, a nightly special. A generous portion of sweet clams mixed with the well cooked artichokes and some wonderful seasonings made another outstanding offering. We devoured every bit.
Another nightly special was the throats of Hake fish. They were so tender and delicate and mixed with a tad of spice and a broth that I had to use the bread to soak up it was so good. I’ve never had a fish throat before, but if I see them again I will surely order them (however they have a high benchmark to surpass).
We finished with another standard on the menu, veal with mushrooms. The delicate pieces of browned veal were mixed with flavorful mushrooms for a perfect savory dish for a cool fall evening. Every bite was filled with incredible flavor and textures. A winner!
For dessert we chose a typical Catalan dessert, Coca del llavaneras. It is a pastry with a crispysugar coated top and bit of custardy center and a lovely tone of butter and nuts. It went down really easy and rates another Yum! I wanted an after dinner “grappa” type drink and after I described what I was looking for Victor placed a ‘mescal’ bottle on the table. I thought, ok give it a try. The bottle was chilled, the glasses chilled and the label peeling off. I loved it but this was not mescal. Turns out it is his of his own making. What a perfectly gracious gesture to park the bottle on our table and tell us to help ourselves. It really did feel like you had dinner in the Diaz home.