Thursday, November 3, 2011

Restaurant Review - Estadio in Washington, DC

Maybe it was my awesome meal at Zaytinya or possibly some other force of nature, but I felt like Tapas. Ever since my brush with Tapas greatness in Barcelona's Cerveceria Catalan (on Calle Mallorca), I have been craving good Tapas stateside.

Consulting Tripadvisor yielded "Estadio" as the most favorably reviewed Tapas restaurant in DC. So I walked a good ways to the Logan neighborhood of DC to try out their Tapas.

First impression was that the restaurant was appointed nicely, and that the atmosphere was inviting. The staff was friendly, and after I sat down at the bar, the staff helped me choose some food options.

I started out with a Pintxos of grilled fig, almonds, Cabral, and red peppers wrapped in Jamon. The flavors were excellent, but the Jamon was sliced too thickly, which made the texture somewhat unexpected.

I then went with grilled Octopus on a Spanish Potato Salad and Pimento Pepper Puree. Again, the flavors were absolutely magnificent, but the texture was off. When you grill Octopus, there's only one way to do it in my opinion...and that's grilling the octopus raw (without pre-cooking it). It does make the Octopus more chewy, but the texture and flavor are better preserved that way. I'm guessing Estadio pre-cooks (most probably by boiling) the Octopus, which softened the Octopus too much in my opinion, and made the surrounding membrane gelatin-like. This, in my humble opinion, really distracted from the otherwise excellent preparation.

To finish, I ordered a roasted beet salad with belgian endive, orange, and Idiazabal Cheese. Of the three dishes I ordered, this was definitely my favorite. The flavors worked well together, the crunchiness of the endive perfectly complimented the softer texture of the slow-roasted beets, and the sweet and zingy orange nicely contrasted the salty and creamy Idiazabal.

All things considered, the price for dinner was very fair, and the flavors excellent across the board. My only concern is the lack of execution regarding the texture of some of the dishes, so if you're a texture freak, I suspect this one might be one to avoid. Otherwise, if you emphasize flavor over texture, this one might be for you. That makes this a restaurant I cannot recommend for everyone.

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