Satisfy some Spanish cravings in La Boqueria DC

by mary on October 12, 2012

The branch of La Boqueria in Washington DC opens into the bar area and the open prep kitchen where you can see them preparing the delicious little bites of tapas at a frenzied pace. It transports you to Spain right away, with a whole leg of iberico jamon, a great selection of Spanish cheese and olives, and tortilla de patata, all displayed beautifully. Pan con tomate or tomato bread, cheap, delicious and filling, flies out of the tapas kitchen. Splurge and top that pan con tomate with some jamon and you are in heaven!

Happy hour is a great time to sit in the bar area…there is a special food menu and it included some delicious deals last time: creamy croquetas and an outstanding sandwich of butifarra, a Catalan sausage. The sangria of the day was easy to drink!

Besides the regular menu, they have a menu of rotating specials, which often has the matrimonio, one of my favorites. This is a tapa on bread with a sort of escalivada (meltingly soft stewed vegetables,) topped with the matrimonio or “marriage” of two types of anchovies, the dark, salt-cured ones, and the white vinegar-cured ones, often called boquerones. Spectacular! Even people who paled at the word anchovies loved it!

So many great dishes…also stood out for me the gambas al ajillo, shrimp cooked in garlic olive oil, and the txipirones, or baby squid seared a la plancha. Perhaps the weakest dish so far for me has been the black paella dish, which was just good, but a little dry (the seafood) and overdone (the rice).

The wine list is more than acceptable, all Spanish, with some good choices, though the list as a whole didn't excite me. Besides the sangria we have mostly stuck to whites, Rueda, and a really excellent Godello from the region of Valdeorras, Viña Godeval. The mark ups are hefty but that's almost everywhere in the US…it still just takes my breath away!

Overall I really like la Boqueria….it gives you an authentic taste of Spain. They don't try and fancy up some of the classic tapas dishes; they innovate in all the right places but don't mess with the basics. A good example are the pimientos de padron, small Galician peppers fried in olive oil and just served with a dusting of sea salt….perfect!

 

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