22 July 2015
I someone got myself awake and functional despite imbibing a bit too much last night at the excellent Coppa, and was out in Cambridge by 8am to pick up a rental car. I had a long, long day today coming up, and surprisingly no significant hangover… I guess last night’s effect was from skipping lunch.
In any case, a long and exhausting day and I got back to my hotel and took a quick shower and changed, and headed out for the T station. I soon arrived at my destination at the tip of Brookline on Beacon Street and see my dinner destination, Taberna de Haro.
Now you think, why is Mel at a Spanish restaurant in the US? I’ve bitched and moaned about how bad they are in general, from being mistakenly (or deliberately) “Latinised” or just missing the point. I remember yelling at the staff at the “supposedly” with-in Casa Mono for from bringing me out a plate of bellota that looked like someone went at it with a hatchet.
They seem to miss the point of how food works in Spain here in the US, but for some reason I went to Taberna de Haro with some confidence it will be better — thanks to the menu. It’s clear there is understanding of how eating in Spain works, so perhaps the kitchen will too?
I chose to sit outside as honestly inside was way too dark. Again, one of my pet peeves is lighting. All this work to make beautiful food, why hide it? I like to see my food when I eat. And it was not too hot outside and the rain was holding off, so…
I had some nice sherry and ordered and the excellent staff worked quickly to bring things out (as everyone was sitting outside it seems). I chilled before the first item showed up, and I relaxed knowing dinner will be good.
Orejas a la plancha was first. Excellent pigs ears, not softened to lose its crunchy texture, not too hard to eat. Perfect seasoning too. Almost wished there was more on this plate! Most places tend to fry them, or braise them (like at Madrid’s Casa Alberto), but this more difficult-to-do-right way was fantastic. Excellent start!
I smiled as I enjoyed them when the second dish showed up, one of my favourites…
Ah, some nice cuttlefish. With some ink aioli. Love these things when they grill up so well, solid and juicy. Too many places go easy with squid or octopus, but there is something special about the cuttlefish that I just can’t describe. Lovely stuff, loving this!
My very efficient server, poor girl, was dealing with a difficult table next to me. Some very, very old people that kept sending food back… They even started bad-mouthing her, which is extremely rude. Just to show how rude they are, one of them dropped a fork, I got up to pick it up for them, and I got a dirty look from one of the geriatrics. Now that’s a perfect example of how sometimes the resto biz is just thankless…
But then I returned to focusing on my dinner when my next dish arrived, and wow…
Now these are frogs legs. It has not been cooked to death to lose its unique goodness. People always ask me what good frogs legs taste like. If it tastes like chicken, then the kitchen screwed up. There is a seafood goodness about them if the kitchen does it right. It was done right when I was in Seattle at Roux, it was done right here too. Fabulous!
I was just loving this meal and I had almost forgotten the last item, the stuffed piquillos…
Honestly this didn’t work that well, maybe it’s the texture and frying after two solid grilled dishes and a sauteed one. I was full, but wanted to eat more from this excellent kitchen!
I got my server’s attention and ordered one last dish, which I would destine to take half with me as it is huge. She said it’ll take awhile, but no worries as I was gonna enjoy my wine anyway. It was a nice evening out and the wine was excellent, but the table next to me with the 2 very old ladies were starting to annoy me, because they were not treating the staff with any respect. And they kept sending things back with idiotic, nonsensical complaints. You know what, if you leave your bread on the table outside without touching it for 20 minutes and you send it back for being cold, you should just go home to your personal chef and team of specialists…
Then the dish arrived, and it’s one of my favourites — arroz negro.
I love this dish, and it was done nicely. Maybe a little low on the ink flavour, but ink is expensive (real, good ones). It was very tasty, and I ate far more than I planned before calling it a session.
I asked for it to be boxed up and I actually moved inside to finish my wine and to have a coffee. And I had a chat with the staff about that crazy table and they’re all fed up with them, but they still go about serving those 2 old nuts with a smile and professionalism. These are the type of staff, especially my server Giselle, that I would have been proud to have been on my old team. Real professionals, as well as being very friendly and efficient.
They comped me a nice sherry and I chilled before I headed back to the T for the ride back to the hotel. It’s been a long, long day, no lunch, but rewarded by a fabulous dinner. Taberna de Haro surprised me in a very good way, and I will say it’s one of the very best Spanish restaurants in the US. Easily top 3. Blows all the NYC places out of the water.
Oh, if this place was nearby I’d be there every week…
Taberna de Haro
999 Beacon Street