Bellota, Absinthe Group’s 888 Brannan (the AirBnB building) Spanish project, is moving right along toward its anticipated early 2016 opening. Chef Ryan McIlwraith (Coqueta) just returned from a three-week research trip to Barcelona and brought back tons of menu ideas, especially for the space’s eight-foot wood burning oven and hearth. "We’ll be roasting whole animals, whole legs, terra cotta pots, whole fish, whole vegetables, making paellas," McIlwraith told Eater. "For us it’s the soul of the food. Not many people are doing that sort of cooking." McIlwraith is also planning tableside pinchos for the picking, plus offering dishes in full and half portions. "In Spain you can have so many different experiences through the night; it’s not the classic appetizer, entree, dessert, go," McIlwraith told Eater. "There are so many different ways to eat, and so we're really playing around with that." The move seems very reminiscent of State Bird Provisions — and could be a handy ploy for upping the average check amount.
As for the food itself, it will be pretty traditional Spanish. At upcoming Feastly pop-ups to preview the food, dishes include mussel escabeche, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo and fabada bean stew. The cooking will all go down in the space’s "very open, very visible" kitchen, which McIlwraith hopes adds an element of entertainment to the experience. McIlwraith is hesitant to nail down the opening to anything clearer than "soon," but did hint at "end of the year, maybe beginning of next."