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Found 27 results

  1. I saw an ad for La Tasca today. It said "so authentic that you won't find anything better in Spain." I'm at a complete loss of words here. That and my undershorts are all wet.
  2. Seeing Katelin's post reminded me that a third encarnation of Boqueria was supposed to open this year at 1837 M Street (the old Penang space) - does anyone have any updates? Their DC website is here.
  3. When I moved to the DC area in 1997, one of the first "serious" restaurants I went to was Jaleo. I was just back from nearly a year in Europe with over a month of that time in Spain, so I was hankering for a tapas bar. I was prepared to be disappointed with Jaleo, but instead found myself returning every few weeks over the next couple of years. I intended to go to Cafe Atlantico last night, but the bar at Jaleo looked tempting. And for the first time in a long time, it looked like there were a few free seats. I started with a couple of scallops in Romesco sauce. I enjoyed the sauce, and the scallops were a bit past their prime but still decent. Queso de Tupi "Abuelo Tunica" was a surprise. This was a soft cheese that had been mixed with some sort of Spanish liquor served with bread and fig puree. It had a boozy sharp flavor that hit the spot. I also tried the Ensalada de Remolacha which consisted of beets, orange segments, walnuts, mixed greens and Cabrales-- one of my favorite cheeses. This was tasty, though the beets just didn't taste super fresh. I wouldn't go so far as saying they were canned, but they had definitely been around a while. I finished up my meal with a variety of sliced Spanish sausages: Chorizo, Soria, Butifarra, and Salchichon de Vic. All the meats were great, but I didn't care too much for the whole wheat toast points that came with it. Everything was washed down with a Garnacha, Carinena, Syrah, and Merlot blend called Perlat. I'm glad I stopped in. It had been too long. If I'm in the area, and it's still early enough in the evening to get a seat at the bar, I'll be back. Soon.
  4. I posted a review in Intrepid Traveler, but the Dining Guide includes Fauquier County, so here is another observation. In a few words, this is the best Cuban restaurant within 50 miles of Washington DC. Setting aside the noisy bar area and the slow service, this quaint little gem is decorated in a nice Cuban/Spanish style, and somewhat hidden in a large strip mall on the eastern edge of Warrenton. The food is very good, the prices are reasonable and the mojitos are great. I enjoyed a great tapas sampler tonight and I'm going back tomorrow for a Cubano sandwich. Tonight I had the pulpo (octopus) a la Gallega, spicy mussel tapa, scallops in paprika and lechon (pork) asado, all of which were spot on. I accompanied these dishes with a couple of mojitos, straight up originals instead of the many variations on the menu. I'll say that the octopus -- in a garlic-oil sauce with perfectly cooked potatoes -- was superb. The scallops in paprika were perfect, fresh and moist on the inside and nicely crisp on the outside. The lechon was the best pork dish I can remember enjoying in a long while, nicely specked with fresh chopped onions and fresh parsley. And the spicy mussels were buried under a spicy tomato sauce that begged to be sopped up with all the bread in sight. And speaking of bread, before all the tapas arrived there was bread on the table with an interesting dipping sauce of oil, lemon, garlic and grated cheese, so there wasn't a lot of leftover bread! And these four dishes, with two mojitos for me and two glasses of wine for Lady Kibbee, along with tax and generous tip, added up to a mere $80. I'll admit my judgment may be a bit blurred by a pair of mojitos, but I have been searching the DC metropolitan area for good Cuban fare for years. If I bite into a decent Cubano sandwich there tomorrow, I will sing the praises of this place high and low, near and far. Please add this jewel to the Fauquier County list in the Dining Guide, and count on multiple additional visits from Kibbee Nayee in the future. UPDATE -- Returned today for the Cubano sandwich, and it was very good. I can't truly say it was better than any Cubano in the DC area -- there was one at Acadiana as a special that was about as good, but it trounces anything I've tried at Cuba Libre or Fast Gourmet, for example. The bread was perfectly pressed, and the ham and Swiss cheese inside were very nicely warm, balanced against the briny crunch of the pickle. The pork looked like the pieces of pork that otherwise ends up as lechon asado, but this was a darned good sandwich. I swapped the side of fries for the plantains, and I'm glad I did. Crisply sweet on the outside and almost creamy on the inside, they were very good. I declare this restaurant the best Cuban restaurant in our extended area, and despite the trek, it's a heck of a lot closer than Miami.
  5. This restaurant serves Tapas and Spanish style food on 14th Street. The service at this place is impeccable. While waiting in the bar, there were so many servers and bussers going past and instead of making you feel like they were in their way, they made you feel like they were in your way. The bartenders actively make eye contact with the patrons, instead of you fighting to get their attention. And, in case you didn't know, this place is packed to the brim nightly. I came tonight, on a cold DC Thursday expecting the absolute worst. I've walked in and walked out because I was told there was a 2 hour wait. They don't do many reservations, and I actually don't know their rules for doing them. We were told 1 hour and it ended up being close to 1 hour and 30 minutes. When I went up as the annoying guest asking "are we there yet?" they took the time to tell me why it was taking longer and then let us know an updated time, which was fairly accurate. We were seated by a vivacious and energetic hostess that had been dealing with impatient and likely rude guests all evening, and she never broke her smile the whole night. I came with 7+ a high chair for a 21 month old. We were placed at a cozy table and I'll tell the truth, we told them 6, and added one at last minute. We were those people. They added a chair and we got very close. Waters delivered immediately, two waiters introduced themselves, and took drink orders. They also told us that specific dishes took a long time (paella and grilled meat platters), which got us to put those in first. We ordered 2 patatas bravas, 2 asparagus with aioli, seafood paella, a churrasco, multiple hamachi crudos, gambas ajillo, 2 tortillas, blood sausage, 2 chorizo with fig, scallops, lamb chops, 2 lamb burgers, 2 beef empanadas.. I think that's all of it. The pacing was impeccable. Rarely were we overburdened. Service was slowed down when it needed to be, but with attention to whether we needed more drinks. The food quality was high - highlights included lamb chops, churrasco, chorizo, hamachi crudo... Paella was not like Barcelona the city, but tasty in it's own right. Not one dish was bad. I never order patatas bravas because stateside it's essentially French fries and hot sauce, but here the fiery tomato sauce and aioli made it impressive. I can't really get thinking about the food, even though it was fabulous, I'm just so impressed at the way the restaurant presented itself. A prince amongst men... I hated the idea of this place - a Connecticut chain, the hottest gals and guys in DC, a hostess that could be a model, a fancy bar and terribly long wait times. But, sometimes the execution and the effort overstate any potential negatives. If the food gets any better and the service stays the same, this place will last a long time. And, final caveat - I freaking hate tapas state side.
  6. Some friends and I had a wonderful lunch at Joselita today, in the old Sona Creamery and Wine Bar spot around the corner from Eastern Market. The space is beautiful aesthetically, with a wall full of black and white family photographs in the main room, another covered with posters, a very long sleek bar, and cafe tables and chairs. It has a European feel, as though one had stepped off Capitol Hill and right across the ocean. As has been noted in reviews, the menu offers three sizes of portions: tapas size, half size, and full size. We ordered five tapas portions, two from the "cold" side of the menu and three from the "hot" selections. Our server helpfully pointed out that the hot portions tend to be a little larger than the cold ones of the same size category, which we found generally to be true. I tried all but the Jamon Iberico de Bellota “Capanegra” - $12/23/45; Jabugo hand cut black foot Iberian ham, country bread. My friends loved this. The "country bread" were very small croutons shaped like itty-bitty baguettes. My favorite dish was probably Almejas a la sarten - $10/19/39; Manila clams, garlic, oloroso sherry. This was a more generous portion than I expected for a tapas serving, filling a decent-sized bowl, and I was glad for every last one of them. The clam broth was exquisite soaked up with the chunks of wonderful soft and crusty rustic bread that was brought for the table. (I also ate quite a bit of the bread with the plate of excellent salt-, pepper-, and rosemary-accented olive oil that accompanied the bread basket.) We ordered two types of pork with very different flavor profiles. One was Solomillo de cerdo al whisky con papas fritas - $10/19/39 Iberian pork tenderloin, garlic, cumin, fries. This boasted a winning combination of flavors enhanced by a slightly boozy sauce. Once all was gone, I further cleaned the plate of the sauced bits of onion and garlic remaining. One friend said that the fries topping the plate tasted like french fries filled with mashed potatoes, which is a creative description that hits the mark. Speaking of mashed potatoes, the other pork tapas dish was Presa Iberica a la plancha - $16/31/na; Grilled Iberian pork shoulder, mashed potato. The mashed potatoes were a perfect grilled or griddled mashed potato cake. There was a flavor to this pork we couldn't pinpoint, almost like maybe a mildly sour flavor. The tenderloin had a more assertive peppery flavor to it, which I think I liked little more, but both cuts of pork were good. It seemed odd that shoulder was significantly more expensive than tenderloin for about the same amount of meat, but it reads from the menu that the shoulder might actually be Iberico and the tenderloin something else. Not sure and I didn't ask. The other cold tapas that one friend ordered and I had a bit of was Crudo de atún y aguacate con cebolletas y almendras - $9/17/33; Tuna carpaccio, avocado mousse, spring onions, almonds. This was perhaps the smallest portion of all. It was very clean-tasting and fresh, though the avocado mousse didn't seem to have much flavor. Perhaps it was meant to be a blank canvas against (well, below) the tuna. Service was just great. Our server was very attentive and went above and beyond while we fussed over splitting the check. We agreed that we would order any of the things we tried again. If I were ordering only one kind of pork, I think I would go with the tenderloin, but I would certainly eat the pork shoulder again. Joselito is a great addition to the Capitol Hill/Eastern Market dining scene. There's nothing else like it around there, and I hope they thrive.
  7. Mola opened tonight, in the former Radius space on Mount Pleasant St (the same building as Purple Patch). I was lucky enough to be invited by owners Karlos Leopold and Erin Lingle to the soft opening last week. Good, adult-tasting cocktails and a nice, short list of Spanish wines. We didn't try the seafood dishes, but the veggie plates had a lot of depth of flavor, the sort of Mediterranean treatment that's more common in California restaurants. Below: fried goat cheese with honey and beet chips, and sherry-glazed artichokes with herb, egg, and pine nut sauce. Their website at http://www.moladc.com is still under construction. The initial menu is here (350523116-Mola-Menu.pdf)
  8. Pamplona soft opened yesterday (food is 20% off yesterday and today), and their official opening is tomorrow, Thurs, Jan. 12 (Washington City Paper).
  9. For tapas? Jaleo. Hands down. Don't waste your time elsewhere. There are many restaurants that serve "small plates" as they say these days, but tapas is Spanish and for the best tapas in DC you go to Jaleo.
  10. A branch of Philadelphia's Amada opened on April 25, 2016, at 250 Vesey St (via Zagat). Website.
  11. Just as an FYI the brothers who were the original GM and cook at Fast Gourmet, Manu and Nacho, have not been affiliated with the spot for a while. They have split from their partners at FG and are now solely at the new place on 19th and M NW, called TakEatEasy. Unfortunate name aside, the sandwiches that everyone raved about for a while (then wondered why they dropped off in quality/consistency a few months later when the brothers left) are now located there. TakEatEasy opens today with a work in progress menu of salads and sandwiches at lunch, moving into tapas and drinks at happy hour, and then some larger plates at dinner. It's definitely a work in progress at the moment but if you remember how good Fast Gourmet was at the start, you'll have this on your radar immediately. EDIT: I should have mentioned they also have a liquor license. Chivito + beer.
  12. I tried Kyma yesterday evening for a light dinner and came away feeling - meh - another corporate concept restaurant. Think a very small Zaytynia without the zing (same architectural designers, the executive chef came by way of of Jaleo in Crystal City) - exposed brick walls, minimalist furniture and decor, open kitchen with wood burning oven. The place bills itself as a Greek mezze and Spanish tapas place. All menu items are color coded: yellow for Spanish, blue for Greek. We tried a couple of their "pizzas" - the pide "Athena" with Greek meatballs in a tomato and eggplant sauce with feta, and the cocas "Catalana" - roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and goat cheese. Both come on a long narrow piece of flatbread - tucked up in the corners for the Greek pizza. At $6.00 each, these were tasty and well executed. We also tried a couple of meat tapas: montado de lomo- marinated pork loin smothered in roasted piquillo peppers on a large toasted roll, and the pothi arnou - lamb shank morsels with eggplant puree and rosemary glaze in a baking ramekin. Neither one wowed us as the meat had very little flavor, the pork was tough, but the eggplant puree was nice. As with so many of these concept places, I'd wager that there was nobody in the kitchen last night who was either Greek or Spanish. I won't go out of my way to go back, but I'll probably try it again to try some of the other tapas. A couple of heads up notes: if you want some bread to sop up any sauces, it costs $5, and a soda will set you back $3.50.
  13. I couldn't find a thread for La Malinche, the tapas restaurant on Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring, and it's not in Don's dining guide "“ so, I will start one! The place calls itself "Spanish and Mexican" tapas, and while it is certainly not as polished or refined as someplace like Jaleo, it fills the need for a quality neighborhood spot like this "“ I can't think of any other small plates place in downtown Silver Spring off the top of my head. That may be why it has lasted for over three years in an area that sometimes turns over non-chain restaurants pretty quickly, but I do think it is an above-average choice, particularly in one area (that I'll get to momentarily). I'll try and be comprehensive, since I'm starting the thread and have eaten there several times. I returned the other night for dinner, and the food was very good, but as is often the case with small plates, is not necessarily a great value at that time. We wanted to keep it relatively small, so we only ordered four tapas between the two of us "“ the basic patatas bravas, tortilla, and then the scallop and salmon preparations. The basic dishes are tasty, but not standout, although I will say that they are pretty generous with the potatoes for a tapas place (bigger than dishes I've had elsewhere for around the same price point). The fish dishes were very good "“ the fish seemed very fresh and well-cooked, and the sauces (a corn salsa for the scallops and a tequila sauce) were flavorful but not overwhelming. They did not ask how we wanted either dish cooked, which is probably more relevant for the salmon. I'll note that value proposition may come into question for some here "“ the fish dishes were each $10, with three medium-sized scallops and a relatively small piece of salmon (on top of purple potatoes and Brussel sprouts) "“ and that is certainly the path to a high bill at a tapas spot. On previous trips, I've enjoyed various other preparations, including both meat and veggie dishes, - I've never ordered anything that I disliked or had to turn back, though I also can't remember a standout dish either. Dinner is not where the restaurant thrives, in my opinion "“ it's in some of the value propositions they offer at various times. The happy hour is good "“ a collection of $3 and $6 tapas and $3 drinks, though limited to the bar only. They have a special $20 prix-fixe lunch (which includes 20+ choices, though if I recall some of the more pricey fish and meat dishes are not included), as well as an $30 prix-fixe brunch menu on weekends , including alcohol. While there are some other solid brunch offerings in Silver Spring, La Malinche is one of the only ones that offers that sort of deal "“ and considering the quality and variety of the choices (though the options may sway a bit more towards the lunch end of the spectrum, if I recall), as well as the included alcohol (which is mimosas and bloody Marys, but also sangrias and draft beers), you can certainly get more value than you might at standard lunch and dinner sittings. Anyway, wanted to finally put this place on the board here "“ Don, while I don't necessarily agree with everything about the dining guide order in Silver Spring (and I'd be happy to parse that with you elsewhere), I think you can safely put this place in the middle of the pack (non-italicized) until you or others have a chance to explore it and chime in.
  14. Mrs JPW, Peanut, and I stopped by Isabella's for lunch on Saturday. The best I can say is that the service was good. Shrimp on black rice was overcooked add oddly flavorless. Duck sausage on relish was OK, but a tad too gamy. Goat cheese empanadilla had no distinct goat cheese taste, but the crust was light and flaky. I'd go back, but only because tapas is a good way to eat with Peanut. What really shocked me was the prices. Granted that it's been a while since I've been to Zaytinya or Jaleo so my ability to make direct price comparisons is limited, but Isabella's prices seemed to be about $1 higher for every plate than they should be.
  15. After a long day of black Friday shopping Momma and I slipped into Boqueria for some tapas and drinks. This place isn't very big and was quite full, but we managed to have the perfect timing to grab a table. The hostess checked our shopping bags for us which was nice. We got a bottle of Valonga 2009, Chardonnay which was something Mom really liked, I wasn't as big of a fan, but was happy she was happy. We ordered a salad with blood oranges and grapefruit with a light vinagrette, chicken and blood sausage croquettes, lamb skewers and bread with tomato. The salad was really good, we had wanted something refreshing and this really was just that. The fruit was really ripe and had great flavors that went well with the other accompaniments of romaine and some sort of blue cheese and peanuts??? but it tasted very good. The lamb skewers were excellent, a little chew, but not abnormal for lamb and had great flavors. The croquettes were rich and almost creamy flavored inside, but with more of a shredded meat texture, I am not describing them in a very appealing way, they were a little strange, but good, I liked that they had interesting flavors. Mom and I both adored the simple but good bread with tomato. The flavor was just spot on a little salty, not too chewy, but just crusty enough with some small olives. This was a great place for dinner after a long day where we could just eat a bit of this and a bit of that. We really enjoyed all the food.
  16. Mr. Monavano and I went to Amada, an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, last week. Amada is located in Old City, and features 3 seating areas; a large bar and high table area, restaurant table seating, and a few seats looking into the kitchen. We sampled about 10 dishes ( I can not remember one) and the red sangria. The sangria had small diced pears and apples with a cinnamon stick to swirl in the aroma. Our dishes included: Complimentary flat crisps to scoop up a tuna, caper and balsamic dip. Charcuteria mixto - I'm not a connoisseur of serrano ham, but it was delicious and freshly sliced to order and paper thin Tortilla Espanola - This came with a saffron aoili, presented in a mortar and pestle. More saffron was sprinkled on top to be ground in. Fun. The "tortilla" was more like a big potato pancake with onions. It was fantastic. It's filling, so consider that. Almejas con chorizo - Tiny clams and chorizo in a broth just begging to be sopped up with the bread. Albondigas - soft bite size lamb meatballs and fresh peas in a creamy manchego cheese ? sauce Flat bread with manchego cheese - this was good, but we ordered it without knowing we'd be getting gratis crips with tuna dip. Probably redundant. Kobe beef carpaccio - This was a special. Seared kobe slice thin and fanned out. Topped with truffle emulsion and garnished with candied carmelized onions. This was melt in your mouth good. The emulsion lent an earthy tone to the dish. Even though it was Kobe beef, it was only priced a few dollars over the regular menu items. Arroz con leche - warm creamy rice pudding with current compote. Served in an old fashioned glass, this was totall comfort, not your mom's rice pudding! (at least mine, sorry ma) Almond crips - complimentary after the meal. I will not make the mistake of being in Philly and NOT eating here again. It will be interesting to go to Jaleo now to compare and contrast. eta: all this for $85 before tip. Our server (Stephanie) and runners were very hospitable and kept the meal going at a perfect pace for us.
  17. According to Jessica Sidman in the City Paper, 100 Montaditos is now open. The menu (PDF) looks like it might be interesting to try, though no need to take my vegan girlfriend! Just because I got a bit bored, looks like it'd be $167.50 before tax to order each of the 100 montaditos. Someone out there will do it...will it be you?! (Though, that would get a bit boring as many are just slightly different: X, X w/Y, X w/Y&Z...)
  18. Last Saturday night my wife and I ate at Guadado's in Bethesda. They are on Del Ray ave in Bethesda with parking accoss the street. To be able to dine in Bethesda at 8pm on a Sat. night without reservation is a feat in itself. I prefer being dynamic and this worked out well. This is a tapas and paella place. The shrimp and Chorizo was great as wwas the mussels and marinated mushrooms. The sangria was respectable. The place has no atmosphere but who cares.. The price was right and the food was good. If you have ever been to Centro Vasco in NYC, this is that kind of place. Highly recommended ..I'll be back
  19. I noticed that there isn't a thread on Ranazul (at least that I could find, mods please correct me if I'm wrong) so I thought I would start one. Here is the website. Ranazul offers a number of small plates, tapas style with a really nice wine program. I would say the food tends to be spanish influenced, but you shouldn't expect your checklist of traditional spanish tapas dishes although some standards like patatas bravas are there. I would like to see a more seasonal bent to the dishes and more frequent updates to the menu, but after having eaten there a number of times, I can say that across the board the food tends to be consistently good. The lamp chop, scallops, and duck breast from the hot tapas are several of my favorites and the fritto mixto is always well prepared. I also think the specials are always a good choice. The wine program is headed by Julie Dalton who has completed level 3 (Advanced Sommelier) in the Court of Master Sommeliers. The wine list offers over 2 dozen wines by the glass and 1/2 glass with many of them being good values. Overall, I think it's one of the better places to eat in the area, with really good food and wine, great service across the board (the regular bartender is especially attentive and friendly), and a lovely decor. I should offer the disclaimer that I know Julie personally as I became involved in a blind tasting group that meets at Ranazul, but I had eaten at and enjoyed Ranazul several times before becoming involved.
  20. Old Town Alexandria has Las Tapas on King Street, which is a few steps above the dreadful La Tasca (Now with two locations to serve you!) but far below the quality of Jaleo.
  21. New tapas restaurant in old Tackle Box space in Cleveland Park. http://www.pulpodc.com/ http://www.washingto...veland-park.php
  22. I am headed to Tinto with some friends tonight. They will probably want to order the tasting menu -- does it provide dishes that would ordinarily not be available, or is it simply a combination of various menu items without any logical progression?
  23. We tried this place Saturday night and have a couple of nice things to say about it. The skirt steak was well seasoned, juicy, and with a pleasant amount of charring, and the service staff was sincerely apologetic about not bringing out the appetizer we ordered. Unfortunately, the rest of our meal didn't live up to the steak. The lamb sausage wrap with harissa was a real disappointment. The sausage resembled microwaved breakfast links and didn't have much flavor at all. The tuscan potatoes were dry and bland, and looked the kind of home fries you'd get at an office breakfast cafe downtown. The decor was interesting and novel at first, but its design (cross between Hogwarts and Vegas) didn't make up for the fact that its couches were uncomfortable and better suited to lounging and drinking than eating a meal.
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