It’s my birthday week, and D.Rough is really good at spoiling me. She managed to get a reservation at this restaurant in the Tangletown/Macalaster/Groveland neighborhood area. I’ve been reading things about this place, so I was really excited to check it out. This place is roughly focused in southwest Europe – think Italy, Portugal, and Spain mostly. It’s tough to get a table here and the bar-side of the restaurant is first come first serve, so it can be a challenge to get in here from 4-10.
We started with some cocktails – D got the regular sangria (the seasonal sangria had too much going on for her particular mood), and I got a nice Sasseo Primitivo red wine. Both of us loved our respective openers. It was hard not to.
The menu has so many delicious items on it that it’s difficult to decide. Small plates, small sandwich-y thigs, and bigger portions. We knew right away we wanted the Patatas Bravas, but then we also wanted the Arancini, and then we threw on some baked oysters, too!
The Patatas Bravas arrived first and were pretty much the star. The roasted potatoes are covered in a homemade picante tomato sauce (that’s the brava sauce) and then drizzled with a lemon aioli. There were some minor squabbles about who was going to each the last remaining potatoes, but since it was my birthday, I played that card. Bam.
The oysters were also delicious. I enjoy a baked oyster from time to time – takes that snot texture out of it a little bit. They were cooked in a chorizo butter and covered with spinach, parmesan, and breadcrumbs. Totally delicious.
D.Rough and I are suckers for any type of arancini (Italian fried rice balls). These were perfect. Small little mozzarella filled balls of happiness. Every time I have these, I wonder why I can’t buy them in a five gallon bucket.
I also needed a new glass of wine, so I got a glass of Udaca Dao from Portugal.
Making decisions on the larger plates was a little more difficult. We had to make strategic decisions. But we powered through and came up with splitting an order of Creste De Gallo – housemade noodles with jalapeno pesto, almonds, lemon, and parmesan. And the Fideuà – fideo-style noodles, with clams and shrimp, ham hock, white wine, tarragon, and parsley.
The Cresto De Gallo was fantastic. The jalapeno pesto wasn’t spicy, but had a very surprisingly light jalapeno flavor, and paired well with the lemon and parmesan. The unsung hero of this dish was the almonds. Delicious flavor and a fun crunch to this dish. The more of this we ate, the more flavors came through and it just got more and more delicious. Loved this dish.
The Fideuà won the night, though. So many flavors in this dish and it was very rich and hearty. The shrimp and clams were little surprises of flavor in the dish, but they flavored the whole dish. The seasoning on this dish was so good and substantial – not an afterthought or subtle at all. I’ve been dreaming about this dish since we ate it. Sooooooo magical.
Since it was a birthday celebration, and my wife is Italian, we had to order cake. D.Rough got the Blood Orange & Olive Oil Cake and I got the Cereal Milk Soft Serve.
The Olive Oil Cake had some white chocolate, cardamom, pickled citrus, and tuile and was really pretty to look at. We thought it was a tad heavy on the olive oil, but the citrus part was really delicious.
The cereal milk soft serve was awesome, though. And, a really hefty portion (maybe because D.Rough spilled the beans that it was my birthday). The cereal they used was Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so it was sweet and delicious, and it was topped with chocolate-covered cinnamon toast crunch – brilliant idea. This was sooo delicious. I’m glad I caved and ordered it.