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A Taste Of Spanish Food, Music Grows In Plantation

By Joan Brazer Durante
Special Correspondent

September 26, 2003
Copyright ©2003 SOUTH FL SUN-SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

La Barracas Tapas

Where: 1831 N. Pine Island Road, Plantation, 954-693-9757

Music: modern flamenco 8:30-11 p.m. Fridays, 8-10 p.m. Wednesdays

Minimum: no

Cover: no

Parking: free lot

Dress: neat casual

Think quaint, ethnic, atmospheric and original -- that's La Barraca, an intimate eatery offering live entertainment Wednesdays and Fridays.

The converted storefront in the Jacaranda Square Shopping Center is nothing if not unique. Bright paint, light wood, tile flooring and interesting accents such as faux windows and portals are eye-catching.

On one side of the rather narrow room is a bar with a wooden roof. Nestled among the tables is a small, raised wooden stage, large enough for two flamenco dancers and a guitarist. It even manages to accompany customers called to the stage to interact with the performers.

With its foot-stomping, hand-clapping, quick-paced rhythms, the music crosses across cultures. Flamenco is a Spanish folk art generally defined by characteristic melodic and harmonic structures creating a joyous mood. Such an atmosphere prevailed the Wednesday I visited. The restaurant was filled to capacity (it holds about 30 people). Puerto Rico, Cuba and Columbia were represented by the customers, with only a handful born in America.

Not understanding Spanish was a distinct disadvantage when the performers interacted with the Spanish-speaking visitors. But it was impossible not to appreciate the upbeat environment as smiles and laughter transcended the language barrier.

At the rear of the cafe is a raised television set showing the owner/chef preparing food in his kitchen. Food is an important part of the evening, so much so that when a paella was presented to a table of 10, the chef paraded it around the room so everyone could appreciate the artistry in his cooking.

Tapas (small portions of foods, both hot and cold) are offered as well as entrees, ranging in price from $3.75 to $14.95) and fulfilling the tradition of offering light bites in a Spanish wine bar.

As for libations, a glass of wine costs from $5 to $7.50, and a glass of sangria is $4.50. Whenever you go, or whether you go for food or entertainment, try to make a reservation.

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