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Mola, Spanish Tapas in Mount Peasant, From the Owners of Nido in the Former Radius Space

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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)

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We had a nice meal here during the soft opening.  Everything we had was tasty (esqueixada, black rice, quail picada), but the star of the show for me was the spinach ends with anchovy and romesco.  Really well-composed and full of flavor.  I've always liked Estadio's grilled-vegetables-with-romesco-sauce dishes more in theory than in reality, since I tend to find that the romesco overwhelms everything else.  Not the case here, as it was integrated very nicely.  One note about this dish: it contains copious amounts of almonds, which I thought were delicious and added a lovely crunch, but which were not mentioned in the menu description.  Those with nut allergies take note.

My girlfriend's favorite dish was the black rice; that was quite good as well.

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Tried it this weekend.  The design is nice, service was pleasant.  Interesting wines and cocktails.  Menu is small, portions are larger than you expect - not small "tapas" style.  That was a pleasant surprise.

Enjoyed the jamon serrano with fava beans, even if the fava beans were just scattered around the ham, not really integrated in any way.  The ham was tasty.  The olive oil poached artichoke was a star dish, pleasantly citric with lemon and crunchy with pine nuts.  I loved this dish.  Patatas bravas were fine.  Not the best, not the worst.  

The best dish was the mussels, which came with a fragrant tomato/chorizo broth that was really delicious.  I wish that they had some more absorbent bread (they give you little pita triangles) to soak up the juices.  I had a nice Spanish white.  Total for 2 people was around $80.

Having lived in Spain I am happy to have this little gem in the neighborhood.  It does exactly what it needs to.

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Just had a few things here tonight.  The boquerones fritos were good, if really expensive ($13) for ~10 sardines lightly fried and served with some piquillo pepper aioli and a lemon wedge.  I know it's not fair to compare D.C. to Spain, but it's hard not to think of how I had twice as many little fishes that were twice as good at half the price in Seville last year.  Also had the black rice, which was tasty and rich, and the mussels, which were tasty but a little salty (and, at $18 for a dozen or so small mussels in broth with chorizo, probably not the best value proposition).  The bartender was super nice and the wine was good.

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