8 January 2014
Moving out of NYC there would always be one effect — I’ll miss my “local” Castillian hangout on 2nd Avenue, the venerable and always-friendly El Pote. It was my home away from home, now more than ever. Moving back to the DC area meant one thing — I know I’ll still get top Spanish food, as the famous Taberna del Alabardero is somewhere that I have enjoyed excellent and genuine Spanish treats before.
Despite being here for nearly 25 years, it remains fresh with a dynamic kitchen team. I was surprised when I walked in for lunch and looked at the menu…this is definitely not a conventional Spanish place. It certainly blows away the menus on any of the NYC Spanish (and “Spanish”) places. I decided to enjoy myself.
With some nice verdejo in hand, I anticipated a treat this afternoon. I decided to go with 3 smaller dishes (bigger than a tapa, as this is the US…) to make up the meal. I chose the most interesting dishes on the menu, and they did not disappoint.
The first up was carpaccio de morros de cerdo, or literally pig-snout carpaccio. I figured this was more like a head cheese of the snout, and I was right.
Plated beautifully, this was an excellent start to my lunch. It had enough rustic attributes for it to be fun, just to scare the locals a little. Considering some of the crowd were asking about the strength of a glass of wine… Nice start!
My second dish was another excellent (and almost never found in the US) dish, callos de bacalao estofados — stewed cod tripe. Mmm…
This was a deep dish without adulterating the taste of the main ingredient, although the strong stew (with generous portions of pheasant) was marvellous — especially with the poached egg broken up. Fabulous dish!
Then in a rather traditional way for me, my final course was navajas — razor clams…
My regular readers know I love these damn things. These small ones were very tasty and unadulterated, which is how I like it. Perhaps the shells were a little cracked from shipping (these came from Spain), but the taste was fantastic. They had a different feel from the larger ones I’ve been enjoying at the aforementioned El Pote. Excellent!
I relaxed and took in this meal…you’d never think I was a few blocks from the White House eating this kind of food. I was extremely happy, the best meal I’ve had since I moved back to DC. I declared myself a regular!
But before that, I enjoyed a nice dry sherry and decided on a dessert — an excellent fruit medley with several types of house-made ice cream, including sesame. This was a nice way to end the meal. It was plated so beautifully…
After a double espresso I headed out to run a few more errands…it’s weird to be back in DC like this, but I feel better knowing that this is here. I really do.
Taberna del Alabardero
1776 I Street NW