Moving into its fourth year of bustling business on 14th Street NW, Barcelona Wine Bar just nabbed a big culinary name in New York City to take over the kitchen.
Alex Ureña bills David Bouley as his mentor, having worked at his eponymous flagship restaurant for seven years.
In his new post, Ureña plans to keep making the seasonal tapas Barcelona is known for, while sprinkling in variations of classic Spanish dishes with a Mediterranean influence. Connecticut-based Barteca Restaurant Group, which owns 13 Barcelona Wine Bar locales across the U.S., plans to announce the D.C. chef change this week.
Barcelona’s new chef actually has Barcelona cooking cred, having interned with Ferran Adrià at the three Michelin-starred El Bulli — one of the best restaurants in the world while it lasted.
His resume also includes Blue Hill in NYC — which was nominated for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant during Ureña’s time there — and at Bobby Flay’s since-shuttered Mesa Grill in the Bahamas. He also launched his own Spanish concept, Ureña, in NYC. Ureña was most recently executive chef at the now-shuttered Tasca Chino in New York.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Ureña started his restaurant career as a dishwasher at River Café under Charlie Palmer. He replaces Christian Goerner, who joined the Barcelona culinary support team as the first culinary standard chef.