had lunch today at Asturiano--one of four restaurants profiled in an October 2012 NYTimes piece on places Madrid chefs go on their days off.
This is way the heck north from the center. As another 'hound posted, about 20 minutes by metro--near the Canal station.
We had made reservations through our hotel for 2 PM but arrived ~ 1:30. not a great idea in Spain, but there we were. Staff seemed happy to see us, led us from the small front bar along a hall that would have seemed tight on a WW II submarine, and to the bare-bare-bare-bones dining room (plywood walls with visible screw heads!) which seats all of 22 people.
The Better Half and I ordered:
-to share, a watercress (!) salad with anchovies and Cabrals cheese.
-to share, pork meatballs in a mushroom sauce
-for her: beef cheeks
-for self: Fabada Asturiana.
and...still water and a bottle of house red.
This proved to be a young Ribera del Duero--perfect in our eyes.
Everything was great--tasty, comforting, service nicely paced and coursed out; attentive, too, in a casual way and though I'm sure it nearly killed the waiter, he let us deal with him in (v. poor) Spanish.
Highlight was probably that salad--but the meatballs were a whole other world. The mushroom sauce proved to be this silky, utterly smooth, well, paste, a new thing to us.
There was good sourdough bread; also the traditional (for Madrid) tapa of salami in oil....
The Fabada was cooked superbly--the beans just right, the broth really quite light and bright tasting. It included a chunk of morcilla (blood sausage), a chunk of chorizo, a piece of mystery meat (possibly pork? hard to tell with all the flavorings going on) and a chunk of, well, um, fat.
Herself declared the beef cheeks wonderful--they had been braised to a nice texture and were in a gravy on a bed of French fries.
When we gestured to waiter that we wouldn't be finishing either of our mains, he didn't seem surprised at all; it was a lot of food (in the Madrid way....).
I ordered a lemon sorbet for dessert (waiter, in Spanish: "with two spoons"!), though cheeses are a house highlight.
Again--hit the spot. woke the tastebuds right back up and comforted them at the same time.
And we had coffees.
We were pretty far down into the meal when a couple was brought in to sit at a corner table ("she's his secretary" herself said); they had cider and started in on a multiple course meal. a bit after that a pair of women also were seated. We left a bit after three, before they'd ordered more than a beer.
It was while observing the sidewalk tables (eight or ten, full), that we realized there was a menu del dia. but we'd come to indulge, indulge we did, and while this wasn't a Top Ten Life List meal, we found it worth the journey, the NYT article worth the listening to, and the Metro trip back to our hotel, an experience of good-food'd mellowness.
We WOULD make Asturianos part of our regular Madrid planning, quite likely.
eight stars out of 11.
Total bill: around 85 Euros
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