Vermouth, anchovy and (good) ‘sushi’ in the bar of a lifetime

  • Chiqui Bar, with bulk wine, cans and sandwiches, adds to the Grade Sushi offer, with a Japanese menu and a lunch menu of € 11.50

Above the entrance, the classic poster: ‘Bar Chiqui, tapas, sandwiches’. And below, and on one side, a luminous in capital letters: SUSHI. Actually, I should say Grade Sushi, which is the full name. But Bar Chiqui or Grado Sushi? Both because It is one of those places that emerge naturally driven by catastrophe.

It could be confused with an establishment designed by a decorator of impostures or by a fast-paced marketing brain, one of those fake dry cleaners or stores that led elsewhere and where the idea was more important than the content.

Bar Chiqui / Grado Sushi

Vilamarí, 29

Tf: 933.25.08.33

Average price (without wine): € 25

Lunch menu: € 11.50

Nothing of that. Chiqui was founded by the parents of Enric Riasol in 1959 and the confinement of 2020 made the daughter, Sonia, he added, to survive, a ‘delivery / take away’ of ‘sushi’ prepared by his partner, Douglas Alves, Brazilian.

In this start a fundamental piece is missing, the mother, Núria Camprubí, who takes charge of the tables and talks about ‘uramakis’ and ‘yakisobas’ from the lunch menu (at € 11.50, without drinks) with the same naturalness with which take note of a chistorra sandwich.

Sitting in the back, facing the bulk wine barrels, I ask Sònia if for her parents, for Enric and Núria, it is hard the transit to a world that was alien to them: «As a joke, my father says that with anchovies he was already dedicated to ‘sushi’. But yes, it is difficult. It is, sure, although they seem to have tuned in well with the raw fish wave.

The mother concentrates the passage of time in a few seconds: “Here come all kinds of customers. When the track was open & mldr; [cerró en 1999]. Cops, Dumpsters, Public Works Workers & mldr; “A dumpster passes by, entering the lavatory. The bar as a service, of course.

Although they have sakes, I join the winery drink: first, the vermouth, «from Reus», says Núria, «I serve it like everyone else, without ice», of course, with the Cantabrian anchovies “And the sauce of the house.” Good anchovies, meaty, with a high point of salt, followed by a gilda and her mischief. In a small glass, I have a red wine from Priorat and a white from the Penedès (hopefully colder).

On the marble table chopsticks and soy, in recycled soda bottle.

The entrance into the Japanese is majestic: ‘usuzukuri’ of tuna belly with salmon roe and chopped ‘wasabi’.

I appreciate the quality of the fish (they are planted in Mercabarna at six in the morning, and they leave the bar at midnight) and the cut, magnificent, which appears again and again: in the ‘sashimis’ (amberjack, sea bass, salmon …) and, again, in the ‘usuzukuri’ of lemon fish with jalapeño, which reminds me of the classic from Nobu, where Douglas passed before closing, as well as the combination of butterfish with truffle, also on the menu, leads to Ricardo Sanz.

Douglas says he chose ‘sushi’ for love (He was beginning to go out with Sònia and she preferred that he do an internship in a Japanese rather than in a hotel) and went through Ikibana and Mishima: “But where I learned to cut was in Tunateca.”

I ask about the weight of the ‘nigiris’: “12 grams of fish and 11 grams of rice.” Interestingly, if you flip it over, the grains take up almost the entire surface, rather than clumping together on a zeppelin. Minori rice, del Delta, for me, a bit hard, but that, on the whole, gives good results. Award for ‘nigiri’ of fuagrás and eel (which Douglas buys alive and kills).

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There are more ‘nigiris’ and also ‘uramakis’, with the usual fancy name, Crazy Tuna, with avocado and tuna ‘tartar’, and the Tobiko, with shrimp in tempura and salmon. For dessert, green tea truffles.

At the next table, an older woman has taken the menu: ‘japo’, of course. Then he ordered a bottle of ‘vi ranci’ and another of mistela to take away, the perfect balance between Sushi and Chiqui.

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