El Filete Ruso – Spices: so small and yet so powerful

Finding a decent burger in Barcelona surely ain’t easy – unless you want to content yourself with the offerings at the Hard Rock Café. It’s not without reason after all, that we got so excited about the burger we had at Komomoto. And even that was easily topped by what we got at an American friend’s BBQ. There’s got to be something better out there! According to a friend there is – El Filete Ruso, we were told, has the best American style burgers in town. Time we went and checked it out.

Situated on the tranquil Carrer Enric Granados it gets a lot less tourist traffic than Rambla Cataluña, which is only a couple of blocks away. So even on a sunny Saturday afternoon chances are good to get a seat on their terrace. The menu looked enticing – a number of delicious salads, tapas-style starters and at least 10 or so different burgers, among them California (bacon, cheese, BBQ sauce, avocado and pickles), French (aubergine, brie and dijon mustard), Chicken (with goats cheese cream) and Chicago (bacon, fried egg and cheese). Following the burgers there was a selection of tasty smoothies and desserts that included American classics such as brownies and pie.

We went for a tomato and cheese salad with walnuts and pesto to share for starter, a Chicago and a California burger, non-alcoholic Piña Colada smoothies and some French fries. First came the Piña Coladas. They were refreshing and tasty, truly fab or as some of us put it: “Probably the best Piña Colada we’ve had in this town!”. This was an excellent start to our Saturday lunch, if the rest was as good as this drink El Filete Ruso would get the full five stars!

The service was quick and efficient, so before long our ‘salad’ was served. Now call us naive, but unless someone is talking about caprese or a fruit salad, we would expect there to be actual salad in our salad – especially at a price of €7.50. Our faces could barely hide the confusion when we got served a stack of five tomato slices with cheese in between.

Drizzled over it we probably had 1.5 walnuts in a bit of pesto and balsamic dressing. How were we even supposed to share this? The waiter quietly disappeared. Using a steak knife we managed to split this little tower of insolence. It did taste alright, but if this had been Ready, Steady, Cook!, we could have made something better out of the same ingredients.

Not long after our burgers were served inside a white bun that was a bit too hard for our liking. Other than that they certainly looked yummy, so we couldn’t wait to get our teeth in it.

Then the first disappointment – we forgot to tell the waiter we’d like it medium-rare… this burger was well done. Totally our fault for not remembering, but some help from the staff by asking us how we like our burger would have been appreciated. Second disappointment – the flavour. The meat didn’t really stand out from the other ingredients. It was almost tasteless. Now that they really should have done better. Meanwhile the French fries split opinions – some of us loved them for (seemingly) being hand-cut; some of us disliked them for (seemingly) being hand-cut.

Having gone down from a certain 5-star to a 3-star experience, we cut our lunch short at this point and decided to skip dessert in favour for a visit at the nearby Cup & Cake Barcelona (look out for our next review). We’d come back here anytime to sip a non-alcoholic Piña Colada, but that’s where the love ends.

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