Went to an early dinner last night at Bocadillos (FiDi in SF, Montgomery & Washington) with my husband. Arrived at about 5:45. Just a few people were there, having an after work drink and a bite of food, from what it appeared. The room has a great feel, with a large family style table in the center and taller "bar"-style tables around the edges plus some seats at the bar. The two of us sat at one of the tall tables next to an exposed brick wall that had been painted over an interesting shade of orange. Somewhat spare and modern but not in a bad way--very inviting.
We were greeted warmly by our waiter. We took a look at the wine list firstvery nice selection of Spanish wines, many of which are available in wine stores, but some of which I hadn't tried before, most at fairly respectable markup. Didn't really look at the California selections or the pricing on them so I can't comment there. We ordered a bottle of Rioja, a 2001 Artadi Vinas de Gain which was under $40.
For the food, we started with the fried calamari with romesco sauce at our waiter's recommendation. Extremely lightly battered with just a dusting of flour mixed and a bit of finely ground cornmeal mixed in, dusted with a sprinkling of chopped parsley. The calamari was very tender and not at all tough or unpleasantly chewy. I like lemon and this could've used a drop but was not dissatisfying in any way. The romesco sauce was pretty mild and perhaps could've used a tiny bit more smoked paprika or some other flavor depth but was a very good match.
Next we had the pan seared piments d'anglet, a French pepper, with julienned green apples and shaved manchego. An interesting flavor combination that we'd never had before and liked very much. The peppers were slightly piquant but certainly not spicy and were drizzled with a thin balsamic reduction which made it a bit difficult with the wine, but this was worth ordering again.
Next, two bocadillos (sandwiches), one with the Catalan sausage with arugula and shaved manchego. Excellent hearty sausage which we both loved. The other bocadillo was one that we've had many times in Spain, the sandwich bread rubbed with tomatoes and piled with very thinkly sliced serrano ham and a bit of spring greens. The meat was excellent and we enjoyed this very much. Both sandwiches had a small pile of spring greens on the plate tossed with a tiny bit of vinegar and oil.
For dessert we had "brazo de gitano" (army of the gypsy) which is a roulade of sponge cake rolled up with a mousse-like filling, in this case hazelnut mousse. This one was sprinkled with some candied hazelnuts too. Super dessert, not too sweet and the hazelnut mousse alone even without the cake would've been a great dessert.
No complaints at all about the service. All the staff were very friendly and professional.
Total for two people with 4 tapas, 1 dessert and 1 bottle of wine was $82. Well worth it. There are many other items on the menu that I want to go back and try. Used to love going to Fringale, haven't been to Piperade, but definitely intend to do so now!
710 Montgomery at Washington