Thanks to Mario's recommendation, we had an excellent dinner at Vizcaya this week. I have to say that to my mind the decor (sort of fancy patio furniture in a nondescript room) and the uneven service didn't match the restaurant's pretensions. But I'd certainly be willing to overlook that for some excellent food.
The menu is divided into three sections, cold tapas, hot tapas, (both in the $7-9 range) and main courses ($23-ish). Since the vibe of the place was very casual, we decided to stick to tapas and a glass of sherry rather than an all-out meal. Of the cold tapas, a house-made duck liver pate was excellent. Less successful was mariscos con salsa roja: a half-avocado topped with a delicate lobster claw and crisp jumbo shrimp, but smothered in an unfortunate Russian-dressing-like sauce. The hot tapas we tried were all outstanding: sea scallops topped with a bit of shredded chorizo; clams in white wine and garlic; and, best of all, succulent braised oxtail. Although I tend to think of crema catalana as a sort of extra-rich flan, their version was prepared creme brulee style with a carmelized sugar crust. The carmelized sugar was a bit thick and bordered on glass-like (you kind of had to chip away at it), but the crema itself was smooth and totally satisfying.
All in all, some very solid food definitely prepared with care and know-how. I just wished I lived a bit closer...
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