It was time to select another location for my birthday night out. This year I wanted a festive celebration, so Saturday 12/29 our party of five ventured to Cobras & Matadors. Spanish tapas are the feature at the ex- Boxer locale. In fact, tapas are the only thing on the menu at this lively joint. And lively it was. Do not come hear for an intimate meal. Rather C & M transported me to my crude vision of a Tapas bar in Spain-minus the luggage. I have read previous threads on this place but I had to see for myself. Accompanying the meal we brought 3 bottles of wine @ $5 corkage per bottle-not bad. The 97 Steele Pacini Vineyard Zinfandel, a 96 Bodegas Portos Crianza and the 95 Chimney Rock Elevage. Hopefully my memory will serve me right on the evenings dishes.
Here goes: We started with 6 dishes. The superb fried chickpea socca cakes with a tangy tomatillo type dipping sauce. Next up oven-roasted mushrooms in basil hazelnut vinaigrette and asparagus in walnut vinaigrette. The mushrooms were out of this world. Earthy, slightly caramelized and wonderfully matched with the hazelnut vinaigrette. The asparagus was rather limp and missing the crunchy exterior I enjoy when quickly cooked. The 2 standouts of the first round were the albondigas in a peppery broth. Rich with the taste of veal and pork, they just melt on the tongue. The other standout was the serrano ham and manchego cheese on toasted bread. Wonderfully smoked style ham sliced on the bread with a salty almost parmesan like taste.
Round 2: Two orders of grilled prawns in mojo de cilantro. Three prawns to an order were perfectly cooked, slightly crunchy and matched well with the picata like cilantro sauce. Two orders of the grilled skirt steak. The meat was cooked medium (tell them if you want it cooked differently as our server did not ask). Two sauces accompany the steak: the anchovy butter and a creamy white sauce of which the name escapes me. Both went well with the meat and did not overpower the char meaty taste of the skirt steak.
Round 3: They were out of flan-my first choice, so we settled on the home made churros with choclate dipping sauce, chocolate soufflé and a berry crisp in cream. The churros were definitely the winner and far from the stadium style I am used to. Warm with a crisp exterior and spongy soft inside. Another melt-in-your-mouth extravaganza.
All in all, a great meal. The plates pack powerful, concentrated flavors and service was competent. My only criticism was the ratio of amount to price. I left the place feeling satisfied but not I cant eat another bite full. Similar to leaving a sushi joint and wondering if you should stop and pick up a burger on the way home. 6 pieces of asparagus at $6 or $7 is a bit much. However, I would return, but only to drink wine and have a few plates of food to cleanse the palate. Also, don't even think of comming here after 7PM without a resv.
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