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Taberna del Alabardero, A Madrid-Based, Spanish, Fine Dining Gem on 18th & I Streets NW


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CrescentFresh said:
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.

Tapas are also very good at Taberna del Alabardero. I was there a few nights ago again. The tapas still stand strong, although they aren't much better than Jaleo's and cost slightly more per plate (unless you get there for half price tapas between 3 and 5 p.m. weekdays, I think). The wine by the glass and the sangria were outstanding values (and not many over $10 a glass).

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taberna for tapas excels in every single respect, add to that a gorgeously ornate soaring-ceilinged room and the existence of a semi-permanent edible bar decoration (ie: a leg of jamon serrano bolted into its carving pegs, awaiting apotheosis with manchego) and you have, in my opinion, every single reason to avoid jaleo and come here. true, the prices are several dollars more than mc-jaleo but consider that: a: i believe them to be quite delicious and far more consistent and b: whilst you may pay 10 dollars for gambas con ajo, you probably receive about one and half times more than jaleo's version, which is... say six or seven; thus the bottom line, as i see it, being that you pay slightly more for more food and a heightened level of deliciousness

a heightened level of deliciousness; is this not what we seek? is this not why we are all denizens of this electronic milieu?

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loved Galileo as always; they contine to do a fabulous job with RW.

Teatro del Alabardero, however, was a major disappointment. went last night and their menu consisted of very little. plus, other than the complimentary shot of gazpacho, you couldn't really see a "spanish" influence in the food.

the menu starts with the gazpacho and one choice between a salad with duck confit and goat cheese or chilled patato leek soup with smoked salmon and shrimp. next, for the entrees, you had a choice between mahi-mahi or steak (so uneventful that i can't even remember the finess)--the mahi was good but dry in spots and chewy. for dessert you had a choice between bread pudding with raisins and apricots and chocolate mousse with strawberries.

have a reservation for Teatro Goldoni but from what i'm hearing i think we might cancel it...

Edited by hgolightly
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Had dinner at Taberna a couple of weeks ago. While the food details are blurry in my mind - technically sound, quality ingredients, but nothing truly special - there IS something about it that stands out.

So many posh restaurants today specialize in making you feel forever young. This is achieved by an overload of chrome, glass, stainless steel, and seating that makes you either stretch or perch. The resulting effect is the feeling that you OUGHT to be under thirty, sport the latest label on your snookerball bottom, toss back cosmos, throw your head back a lot and generally look like you are having the most fabulous time known to man. It is tiresome enough to watch on twenty-somethings; when fifty-somethings fall into the same stream, it becomes downright sad.

Taberna's dining room, with its dark crimson walls, massive molding, plush seats, lacy covers and an objet d'art-ified bar, makes you sit up straight and feel unabashedly adult. This is the place to wear grown-up clothes, have grown-up conversation, drink grown-up drinks and practice grown-up manners. It makes me want to balance my checkbook, use protection, watch my posture and go to bed before midnight.

Every now and then, the feeling is even welcome.

Edited by Nadya
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In my somewhat limited experience, Taberna has some of the most unobtrusive service of any restaurant in town. The food appears when it's supposed to, the water and wine glasses are at the right level and the bread plate is never empty--all without interuption.

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Tapas- Amazing!

I went for the 3-6 Happy hour special, half priced tapas, $3 sangria or 12 for a pitcher. The Sangria was good, and tasted like they used better than boxed wine, which is more than I can say for some places but the Tapas were standout.

I ordered 2 tapas, the chorizo and the spanish tortilla. The chorizo was rich, well grilled and very tasty. Plus it came with a side of- light mushrooms or cabbage- couldn't tell what but it complemented the sausage well. The Tortilla was delicious, it tasted freshly made- was moist, and flavorful. It was came with a great garlic alioli on the side.

The portions were huge for tapas. I ordered two figuring I would order more later, but I couldn't finnish what I ordered. Great value- my tab came to under $12 for one of the better dinners I've had recently.

The bar itself is small but very social and relaxed. I got there right at 6 and was worried they would not be doing the happy hour special anymore, but they let me, and people who came in after me have the hh prices. Great atmosphere with people talking to each other and being friendly- the woman next to me was kind enough to share one of the mini open faced sandwiches they have- hard boiled egg with smoked salmon- and it was a wonderful bit of brunch at dinner.

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I swung by here after work yesterday to catch the tapas happy hour (until 7pm now). The portions are quite generous, so three dishes ended up being way too much food for one person. Orders of Octopus Salad with Peppers and Onions, Fried Calamari, and Potatoes with Cabrales were all excellent, and had for the princely sum of $12 :) And Manolo is a great bartender who will take good care of you. Along with the Charlie Palmer prix-fixe lunch, this is one of the best deals in the city.

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I swung by here after work yesterday to catch the tapas happy hour (until 7pm now).  The portions are quite generous, so three dishes ended up being way too much food for one person.  Orders of Octopus Salad with Peppers and Onions, Fried Calamari, and Potatoes with Cabrales were all excellent, and had for the princely sum of $12  :)   And Manolo is a great bartender who will take good care of you.  Along with the Charlie Palmer prix-fixe lunch, this is one of the best deals in the city.

Shhhhhhh! The bar only has 5 stools and 3 tables. R U nutz?

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Shhhhhhh! The bar only has 5 stools and 3 tables. R U nutz?

Uh... What I forgot to mention was that they gave me a restaurant menu instead of a tapas menu, I had to wait 25 minutes for the first tapas, there was no good vegetarian options, I saw them throw a breastfeeding woman out into the street, some dude on a Segway ran over my foot while riding through the restaurant, and then my camera was confiscated when I took a picture of the food. Avoid!

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I celebrated some excellent news at work last night with a couple of coworkers by hitting the tapas happy hour. For about $60 we had two pitchers of sangria, a plate of spanish cheese and ham, potatoes and calabres, fried calamari, shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic, and chorizo. Everything was outstanding.

The cheese and meat plate looked a little small, but as our last dish it was a perfect way to end the eveing. I think there were only two types of cheese, along with a generous serving of ham. The fried calamari was excellent, although I found the dipping sauce too bland. The standout dish though was the shrimp. Tiny shrimp swimming in garlic, herbs and olive oil. We had to order extra bread to sop up the oil.

The restaurant is around the corner from work I am kicking myself for just getting there in May, now that the school year is over. I have a feeling that our around the corner neighbors will get to know us well in the next month.

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I had a very happy hour here last night. I downed 2 remarkable glasses of sangria, calamari, and the potatos with blue cheese. What a outstanding value, and to top it off top notch service and linen napkins and tablecloths. In fact I am headed back right now for a quick one before I go home....

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The Taberna happy hour continues to be one of the best kept, cheap secrets in town. It deserves more attention than it receives around here. Great Spanish beer, cheap, tasty sangria and tapas that can please a variety of tastebuds.

We ordered everything that I mentioned last May plus the crab and shrimp balls, which were the only disappointement. There was too much mayo for my taste and the crab wasn't as apparent as I would have liked. But at $4.50 who can complain?

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I'm sorry that I didn't get my chance to reply to this thread during Restaurant Week. This was one of 8 restaurants I dined at that week, and the highlight of this experience was the gazpacho (heavenly) and the sangria (nummy). The entire group of 8 co-diners all lingered over both. The meal was good, but the gazpacho, ooo la la. I'll be back again.

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Lunch today at Taberna del Alabardero. Regular menu was available at regular prices, and there was a short RW menu. Don't bother. I'm not sure why they did. Perfectly adequate, not bad for the price, but very limited and not particularly noteworthy. The kitchen is better than this, but a first-timer coming in for RW won't know that.

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I went with a friend for tapas today. Serrano ham with Manchego. Serrano was so yummy.

We had originally ordered the serrano ham croquettas, but they brought us out seafood since they were out of the ham ones. This makes me wonder if perhaps they're pre-made and frozen, but I didn't care as they were pretty yummy. Creamy and perfectly fried. They were so much unlike the ham ones, which always reminds me of bad chicken cordon bleu.

The calamari were pretty tasty, though maybe not of consistent texture throughout. I had one that was very chewy, but the others were tender. The paprika aioli was a little too subtle on the paprika flavor despite being bright red, and maybe too heavy for the calamari.

2 outta 3 ain't bad. My friend who spent a year in Madrid loved the atmosphere.

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Ahhh, the memories!

I went to my very first "adult" dinner at Taberna, the first time that I went out to a place that I would consider truly upscale. It was the fall of 1999, first real date with a girl that I was dating, we had dinner at Taberna and then went to go see Chicago at the Kennedy Center (I think that it was the Kennedy Center, I may be wrong on this one). I don't remember what we ate, although I know that we had some paella mixed in there at some point, but we loved it. Amazing service, that was the true difference between nice restaurants and anywhere else I had been previously, great atmosphere and wonderful food.

On the flip side, I guess that I should be upset at Taberna for turning me onto this level of restaurant! Do you guys know how many thousands of dollars I have spent over the years because of you!? :angry:

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It would probably make for a more consistently high-quality product--make them when there is a surfeit of good-quality seafood in the restaurant.

They definately have to be pre made (but not prefried) and prefrozen croquetas, b/c the bechamel needs time to set and solidify in order to be breaded for frying.

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Friends and I went to Taberna last night, some of us partaking in the Restaurant Week menu, others just partaking of the menu. I have to say, although the food is good, I can't quite justify the prices. A friend and I split an artichoke shrimp appetizer that was good, but not fabulous, and came awfully small in portion and cost a whopping $16 - I've had better for less. The gazpacho at Taberna is first-rate, but $11 for a bowl? Geez. So overall, good food, great atmosphere, but far more expensive than the quality of the food and experience would dictate. I'll pay for good food, but once you charge me $11 for a bowl of soup, it had darn well better improve my complexion, make me really, really happy and then wash my car.

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Taberna has Jamon Iberico on the menu for $26. The serving is a dozen hand sliced pieces, and frankly worth every penny. It might seem like an outrageous splurge until you think that a dozen oysters at the West End Bistro will set you back $36, and I have yet to have an oyster that can compare to the shear delight of this acorn scented ham.

Yesterday at lunch the bartender handed me a slice of the regular Serrano ham for a side-by-side comparison, and he was right when he told me that it is going to be hard to eat the regular Serrano after that glorious plate of Iberico.

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Stopped by Friday evening for Happy Hour. Realized that I have been negligent in taking advantage of one of the best deals in town--50% entire tapas menu from 5 - 7pm. On the other hand, I thought the seafood paella on the menu was average...at $30/person (2 person minimum), I expected more.

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On the other hand, I thought the seafood paella on the menu was average...at $30/person (2 person minimum), I expected more.

Taberna is very hit and miss. I find the restaurant generally misses on paella, but can be quite good with tapas, the gazpacho, and entrees.

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Taberna is very hit and miss. I find the restaurant generally misses on paella
I have never had a good paella at a restaurant that made them in 30 minutes. In Spain, at the good places (and there are very few), you usually call ahead and they will get it started. Otherwise, a real paella takes a good amount of time. My neighbor in Spain from Alicante takes his sweet time (about 2 hours) making one. I would give up on trying to find paella at a restaurant and just go for the other things la taberna has going for them. For example, as far as tapas they usually make really good croquetas, patatas bravas, calamares a la romana, etc. For menu items I had an excellent stewed rabbit dish as well as solid salted codfish stew
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Taberna is very hit and miss. I find the restaurant generally misses on paella, but can be quite good with tapas, the gazpacho, and entrees.

I have really enjoyed this place in the past, but last night Taberna was a miss, the food uninspiring and even the service a little off. I liked the presentation on the sea bream, but after the guy struggled to fillet it at the table for a few minutes, one of the waiters pointed out that it wasn't fully cooked. They brought the whole thing back to the kitchen. Several minutes later it was back -- overcooked and soaked in oil served with some tired veggies. The scallops were passable. If I had ordered them at Old Ebbitt Grill I would have been impressed. The soup and the fava bean appetizers were the highlights, until I realized they cost nearly 20 bucks each.

I am not sure what that amuse-bouche was because the guy who brought it out did not speak english. It appeared to be mushrooms of some sort. The most interesting part of the meal was the olive oil ice cream. It tasted a little like crayons, but in a good way.

And minor, petty point: they drop a basket of bread at the table. No olive oil, no butter. Nada.

The bright side: a spanish Touriga Nacional desert wine was excellent.

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I miss Josu Zubikarai.

I don't remember seeing a detailed history of Grupo Lezama on their website, so here's a bit of background about the Taberna as I understand it. Luis Lezama was a Catholic priest in Spain who became concerned about the futures of young bullfighters, who were often retired as teenagers and basically dumped on the street. He started his hospitality business in the mid-1970s to teach these kids employable skills, and managed somehow to redirect their intense focus into meticulous customer service. As far as I know, Lezama still runs his empire mainly as a training school for marginalized Spanish youth.

I don't know if today's youngsters still come from that background but Paco, the GM here in DC, was once one of those bullfighters.

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I am an aficionado of this place and have had several excellent meals there. It therefore pains me to report that a banquet I attended last night was well below par. My main complaint has to do with the paella marinera, the main course. The rice was heavy, soggy and bland. And there was a stingy accompaniment of shellfish, couple of mussels, couple of clams. The tapas were rather more successful:

Jamon Serrano y Queso Manchego/Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese

Croquetas de Gambas]Shrimp Croquettes

Calamares Fritos/Fried Squid

Tortilla Espanola/Traditional Spanish Omelette

Gambas al Ajillo/Garlic Shrimp

partcularly the squid, served with a pungent sauce.

And the dessert was excellent, leaving us, as you might say, with a good taste in our mouth:

Flan Casero/Creme Caramel

Tarta de Santiago/Almond Sponge Cake with Pastry Cream

We gathered at 6:30 and were subjected to an hour and a half lecture on the history of the restaurant and the nuances of making paella. The latter was delivered by the 27 year old head chef spoken incomprehensibly in a mélange of Spanish and English, both of which I ostensibly understand in some circumstances but not this time. While this was going on, we sat there with no food or drink. Some at my table, including me, had skipped lunch to be ready for this meal and it was Bushlike torture to endure the endless pronouncements with no sustenance.

I shared my displeasure with the manager as I exited, and he asked me what I had enjoyed there in the past. I said grilled fish. He said, "Ah, but it's different when you're cooking the same dish for 40 people."

But I have had more palatable banquet food elsewhere.

Taberna is still batter up, but one strike has been called. They need a home run on the next pitch.

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We gathered at 6:30 and were subjected to an hour and a half lecture on the history of the restaurant and the nuances of making paella. The latter was delivered by the 27 year old head chef spoken incomprehensibly in a mélange of Spanish and English, both of which I ostensibly understand in some circumstances but not this time. While this was going on, we sat there with no food or drink. Some at my table, including me, had skipped lunch to be ready for this meal and it was Bushlike torture to endure the endless pronouncements with no sustenance.

Did you pay for this?!?

I remember once I paid money to go to a wine dinner featuring that garrulous huckster Serge Hochar, the owner of Chateau Musar. I can't remember the restaurant, but everyone was starving, and he droned on about his wines for AN HOUR while not letting people eat OR DRINK because the wines were to be paired with the food. It was a horrible experience (as are many of his overrated wines, which are no better than dozens of Carignans from the Languedoc).

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Yes, we paid for it. And in fact there were people in the group who kept it going by asking idiotic questions, such as, "Where in Spain did you go to cooking school?" The chef said he was going to talk for 25 minutes because that's how long it takes to boil the rice. At least I think that's what he said. It could be that the sogginess of the rice was due to the endless extension and revision of his remarks.

But we got even. As a token of our appreciation, we gave the manager a subscription to the Harvard Business Review. Poor guy. He'll probably get as weary pouring over that as we got from listening to him.

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My wife and I dined at Taberna last night for Restaurant Week. It was a kind of strange, uneven meal, to be honest. The strange part was that nothing we were served, with one exception, tasted at all Spanish. The one exception was a tapas of shrimp cooked in garlicky olive oil that we ordered off the bar menu, while we decided on our restaurant week selection. That was quite tasty, and the olive oil made for excellent bread mopping afterwards. Although truthfully this is a dish that's hard to really screw up unless you really overcook the shrimp.

I ordered chicken soup flavored with jamon serrano, fillet in a red wine sauce, and a dessert of bread, chocolate, olive oil, and salt (that's how it read on the menu). My wife chose spinach and mushroom crepes, seared grouper, and flan.

Both entrees were just disappointing, frankly. I've had better cafeteria food at work. My dish turned out to be a mediocre steak done quite rare (which was fine by me, but I was surprised they didn't ask how it was to be cooked) with a drizzle of red wine reduction, and some garlic mashed potatoes. Isn't this a Spanish restaurant? I wouldn't have known it from this, or my wife's fish.

Or from my soup, which I actually loved but still found out of place. If anything the jamon contributed a richness to the soup, but not the overtly ham-y flavor I was expecting. Instead, what hit me with each sip was essence of chicken, pure delicious chicken. If I closed my eyes and imagined myself in another setting, a few matzo balls would not have been out of place in this dish. It was basically just a really amazing chicken broth.

My dessert turned out to be some dark chocolate mousse next to a melon-ball scoop of what I believe was olive oil ice cream with some fleur de sel on top, alongside two lady-finger sized pieces of crustless bread that had been toasted in olive oil before, but were now quite soggy. With the exception of the bread, it was all quite delicious, just not what I was expecting.

Service was efficient, if not particularly friendly. But they managed well given that the place was packed.

I had never been to Taberna before, and wondering if I should give it another shot tasting the regular menu?

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Unfortunately, Taberna has a history of serving up crap for Restaurant Week. It doesn't seem to have dawned on them that if they provided decent food, people might come back for the regular menu. From your description, you probably came out better than I did on my previous RW attempt. Yes, try them again.

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I had never been to Taberna before, and wondering if I should give it another shot tasting the regular menu?

As others have said Taberna in unfortunatly notorious for being a RW disappointment. I think you should give it another shot though during regular service. I recommend checking out their delicious and very affordable tapas happy hour. In my opinion this is one of their strong points and you will really get the Spanish flavor from their wines and tapas (I personally am a little obsessed with their croquettes). During happy hour the sangria and tapas are half off.

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My dish turned out to be a mediocre steak done quite rare (which was fine by me, but I was surprised they didn't ask how it was to be cooked) with a drizzle of red wine reduction, and some garlic mashed potatoes. Isn't this a Spanish restaurant? I wouldn't have known it from this, or my wife's fish.

Actually, as someone who has visited Spain within the past 6 months, this is exactly how I received the two steaks I ordered in highly respected restaurants (Casa Lucio, and another with a name I can't remember at the moment), so your experience sounds authentic to me. Both were served almost fajita-style, which is to say seared and on an incredibly hot plate, on which you could turn over the steak to cook it more to your liking. No frills, no fuss, and not prime cuts, either...but well seasoned and delicious nonetheless.

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Actually, as someone who has visited Spain within the past 6 months, this is exactly how I received the two steaks I ordered in highly respected restaurants (Casa Lucio, and another with a name I can't remember at the moment), so your experience sounds authentic to me. Both were served almost fajita-style, which is to say seared and on an incredibly hot plate, on which you could turn over the steak to cook it more to your liking. No frills, no fuss, and not prime cuts, either...but well seasoned and delicious nonetheless.

Yea, this steak was neither served on a hot plate nor seared well at all. It was pretty mediocre all around.

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I had lunch here earlier this week from the RW menu... mushroom crepes, mahi mahi with crispy vegetables on a red pepper sauce, and apple mousse with goat cheese and candied walnuts for dessert. Everything tasted ok, didn't blow me away, but the lack of ANY effort in presentation was noticeable. The crepes had a dark green filling, which when not presented well meant you had yellow-brown crepes with green filling topped with a murky brown sauce... it was not appetizing. :P Having said that, the crepes were very well done, but I couldn't get past the physical appearance of the dish. A few garnishes on the fish could have really spiced up an otherwise bland looking plate as well. I'm not normally big on how things looks, but the site of those crepes was a definate turn off.

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Handing out samples in my office lobby today

Salmorejo

(Chilled Tomato Soup)

Arroz con Verduras

(Paella with Vegetables)

Arroz a Banda

(Seafood Paella)

Tortilla Espanola

(Traditional Potato and Egg Omelet)

All in all pretty damn good!

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menu

There are so many items of their menu that I wanted to try. For example - the Iberico ham, the grilled duck foie gras, the garlic clams & shrimp, the sucking pig paella, the cod confit, pork cheek, braised oxtail, slow cooked suckling pig, and braised quail. Naturally what excites me is anathema to my wife. She looked at the menu and said the only thing she's interested in is the beef tenderloin and she hates mushrooms so the sauce must be on the side.

So I ordered the Iberico ham and the Bacalao (Codfish Confit server over a bed of Creamy Potato Puree, Grilled Octopus, Sea Salt and Paprika) to start. See picture for the size of the Iberico ham. To my knowledge, this is the first time that I've had Iberico ham. Hence I don't know whether $32 is a good price or a rip off. In any case, we tasted the ham and couldn't figure out what makes it so special. It's got a little bit of sweetness to it and not very salty. Now we'd have to go to Jaleo - the only other place that I know of that servers Iberico ham ($22 for acorn fed pig and $14 for non-acorn fed pig, that's how I interpret their menu). The codfish was wonderful. Two pieces - each about the size of a small cod at Eammon's - perfectly cooked (which is easy to do by confit, similar to Rocks' complaint regarding sous vide?). The octopus tentacle, sliced horizonatally so you only get 6 small discs, was equally tender. My wife deemed the fish a little fishy for her but she absolutely loved the potato puree.

For my entree, I decided on the Conchinillo (Slow Cook Suckling Pig with Smashed Garlic and Paprika Potato). Oh it looked so pretty but the pig was pretty dry and not particularly flavorful, but the garlic potatos were delicious. My wife's steak was nicely cooked but not seasoned (since she didn't use the sauce, she thought it was bland).

I vaguely remember the last time I was at Taberna, around 10 years ago. I won't wait another 10 years before I go back. In fact, next time they do another $50 certificate for $25, I'll jump on it

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In any case, we tasted the ham and couldn't figure out what makes it so special. It's got a little bit of sweetness to it and not very salty. Now we'd have to go to Jaleo - the only other place that I know of that servers Iberico ham ($22 for acorn fed pig and $14 for non-acorn fed pig, that's how I interpret their menu).

The ham should be eaten slowly, allowing the fat to melt in your mouth so that you can savor the hints of nuttiness from the fat – it is the fat that makes this ham special, not the lean.

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See picture for the size of the Iberico ham. To my knowledge, this is the first time that I've had Iberico ham. Hence I don't know whether $32 is a good price or a rip off. In any case, we tasted the ham and couldn't figure out what makes it so special. It's got a little bit of sweetness to it and not very salty. Now we'd have to go to Jaleo - the only other place that I know of that servers Iberico ham ($22 for acorn fed pig and $14 for non-acorn fed pig, that's how I interpret their menu).

That actually looks like a generous serving of jamon iberico--about the size you'd get to serve four people in a tapas bar in Spain. Considering that it was selling for between 90 and 120 euros by weight ( per kilo? I can't recall, just that it was super expensive) when I was in Spain last year, depending on the quality and age, $32 doesn't seem unreasonable for what you got.

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I just used my Groupon here last week and also, for the most part, am not really in a rush to go back, but their gambas al ajillo is really something special. I mean, you see it everywhere as it's a classic tapas menu item, but I feel like this is the only time I really understood why anyone bothered. The flank steak was also good. The potatoes in mayo with caviar? Not so much. I know I ordered a couple of other things, but they were apparently not memorable. I'd rather go to Estadio or Jaleo.

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It had been a couple of years since my husband and I last enjoyed dinner at Taberna del Alabardero, so we decided to return on July 1, as part of our “Farewell DC” tour. We had the chef’s tasting menu, and enjoyed it so much that we returned on July 29 for the July paella special (selected paellas for $22 pp). The wine list is long and varied, and does contain its share of wines in the three-digit price range, as well as a good selection of very enjoyable wines at $50 or less per bottle.

Our five-course tasting menu ($65, $35 for wine pairings) started off with a lovely glass of gazpacho, bright and flavorful (and no breadcrumbs!). Octopus, grilled and carpaccio, served with new potatoes, provided flavorful contrasts of perfectly cooked octopus. Grilled tuna on rice was perhaps a bit more well-done than at some other restaurants, but the flavor and texture were wonderful. My husband's grilled sirloin was served with a mushroom cake and truffled potatoes, mine was accompanied by grilled vegetables (to be gluten-free). We both loved the dish very much! Dessert was rice pudding, in deference to my need to be gluten-free. It was simple but perfectly cooked and flavorful, not too sweet. The wines were all Spanish, and each complemented the accompanying dish quite nicely. IIRC, we had a lovely dry sherry with the gazpacho. Sadly I don't remember the rest of the wines.

Our second dinner comprised 3 tapas and paella for two, with delicious sangria to wash it down. We enjoyed the grilled octopus with potatoes, salt and paprika ($16), marinated seafood "salad" ($12.95), and black-ink baby squid over creamy rice ($16.95), and then the paella with asparagus, shiitake mushrooms and sliced grilled duck breast ($22 pp). It was a very satisfying and filling meal, for around $45 per person, and the pitcher of red sangria, my favorite of those I've tried lately (Jaleo and Arroz), was around $29. To be fair, the marinated seafood “salad” was the weakest dish, needing a little tweak like a few grains of sea salt, but we really enjoyed everything else tremendously.

I honestly don’t know why Taberna doesn’t get more love, especially here. We enjoyed both of our dinners here much more than similar meals at Jaleo, SER, or even the new darling of Mediterranean restaurants, Arroz. The food and wine are great, with reasonably priced choices for both. Service is as attentive as ever, with the staff keeping a close but unobtrusive eye on every table. And, especially if you eat early in the evening, the dining room is mercifully quiet. You can enjoy live Spanish music on weekends, later in the evening.

Edited to add: Free parking!!! Park in the garage just to the right of the entrance, and have your parking ticket validated in the restaurant. It's not self-serve, so you'll want to tip the attendant, so almost free!

Photos to follow, still figuring that out. [Scottee, see my PM. Rocks]

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