The restaurant doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside the atmosphere is warm, friendly and festive. The food is Nuevo Latin and it not only tastes delicious, the presentation is beautiful. It's classy without being uptight. It was easy to understand why they've been in business for 15 years. It is a gem.
Here's the breakdown of the evening.
Codorniu Brut Cava
Ensalata Catalana - baby spinach, manchego cheese, blue cheese, golden raisins, pine nuts, caramelized quince, sherry vinaigrette
A fresh, crisp spinach salad was a nice way to begin the evening. I especially liked the toasty flavor of the nuts, tanginess from the blue cheese and the gentle sweetness from the caramelized quince.
Mar de Frades Albarino
Pulpo a la Portuguesa - roasted octopus, baccala, potato cream, charred scallion, chorizo, mojo verde
Let's face it overcooked octopus can taste like a rubber band so I'm always wary when ordering it in a restaurant. This, however, was perfect. The octopus was SO tender and fresh tasting and what a great combination of flavors. The tangy mojo and the salty, smoky chorizo were especially wonderful with the octopus. I would totally order this again - tentacles and all.
Ramon Bilbao Crianza
Pajespo com Romesco - monkfish, serrano ham, peas, romesco sauce, pisto, clam broth
Yes, they paired a red wine with fish and it worked. The monkfish was wrapped in the serrano ham. I had never had monkfish before and it was surprisingly mild, dare I say bland. For me the fish was really just a vehicle for the crispy, serrano ham.
Cruz de Alba Crianza (biodynamic)
Chicarron - pork belly, cauliflower-manchego foam, crispy cauliflower, chanterelle mushrooms, Solera vinegar, pickled cherries.
Pork belly. Crispy, fatty goodness. Need I say more? The pork belly was brined in smoked paprika and herbs. It was perfectly cooked with an amazing crust. The pickled cherries gave a spicy kick and helped cut through the rich heaviness of the pork belly. Really just loved this dish.
Torta de Aceite - olive oil and rosemary cake, grapefruit sorbet, cosecha miel marinated grapes, whipped cream.
I loved that this dessert wasn't too sweet. In fact, I'd say it was more savory. The cake was dense but a nice match from the refreshing grapefruit sorbet. The whipped cream wasn't typical either. It was made with creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese which gave it a much earthier, richer flavor. The sweet part of the evening came from the dessert drink pairing. Before this evening I had never heard of Licor 43, but now I will never forget it. It is a citrus, vanilla liquor produced in Spain, and let me tell you it is SO, so good. I am now on a mission to buy some to enjoy at home.
I'll admit we don't venture out to Stamford much from our neck of the woods for dinner, but we just might have to come back soon. Happy Quincenera Brasitas.
It was also very nice to meet a few of our fellow Connecticut Bloggers: Denise from DeeCuisine, Anatoli from Talk-A-Vino, Bonnie from Home Place, and Greg and Wendy from Connecticut Bloggers.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. The meal was free of charge. The opinions contained herein are my own and reflect my experience. Your own may differ.
954 E Main Street . Stamford, CT