Okay, I actually went here last Friday, wrote up the review, and then forgot to post it. Such is my life.
I am always a little baffled by their answering machine. If you're going to be late, leave a message? Do they really check their voicemail every 3 minutes? Apparently they do, because (as always) we were running a little behind, and I called in, saying that we'd be approximately 15 minutes late. When we got there at 8:15PM (on the nose!), the hostess thanked me for letting them know. Quelle surprise!
After stopping by the wine store next door to get a bottle of red ($16 - I also like how now you can add the wine to your tab, instead of paying separately in cash at the wine store), we were seated at one of the tables along the wall.
The room is dim and noisy. Very noisy. Lots of people, little space. I am a big fan of their decor - here, the dark red walls work, in large part due to it being broken up by the dark mirror running the length of the wall, and the mantle with the black and white pictures and the corks. (Are the corks just rested there? Did they fall down during Monday's earthquake? At least it won't hurt if they hit you.) It's a mite crowded, but not overly so. It probably would be worse if you were sitting at one of the centre tables. Outside tends to get a little crammed, too.
We meant to show restraint while ordering. But we didn't. We got:
*the green salad - it was surprisingly good, a very ample size (served the four of us, with plenty left over), one of the most interesting dressings I've had (a light, just barely sweet and not overwhelming vinaigrette) with tomatoes, olives, and these odd little mini bell pepper-like (but not spicy) things.
*the whitefish - which I actually didn't have, but those who had it really enjoyed it.
*the ham and cheese croquetas - lightly fried, delicate, and very scrumptious.
*the grilled skirt steak, with a light citrusy zing - just a little chewy and not overcooked, which was nice. Very tasty, and sizeable - split amongst three of us (one was a vegetarian), we each got a decent portion.
*the patatas fritas, served with aioli and a red dipping sauce (not sure what it is). I always enjoy this, it's simple, and I just adore their aioli.
*the prawns wrapped in bacon - a touch overcooked in my opinion, but palatable nonetheless.
*the pa amb tomaquet (sp?) - slices of bread rubbed with tomato pulp, then served with jamon serrano and manchego. I always like this for its tasty simplicity. The bread could do with a little toasting, but that's personal preference, I suppose.
I really wanted to get the mussels as well, as I always enjoy them, but we already had plenty of food.
For dessert, we got the churros with chocolate (my absolute favourite as they're not cloyingly sweet or heavy) and the french toast, which was a little soggy in the middle but otherwise also very good.
Service was fine - the waitress was friendly without being ingratiating, and water was more or less promptly refilled. It was full when we arrived, full when we left.
At $30/head, Cobras and Matadors is always a great deal. I always leave very satisfied (and my wallet remains happy too). Great for dates (perhaps not a first one, though, and definitely not with someone who doesn't like to share food) and groups. I fell in love with this place the first time I came here a couple years ago, and am still in love with it now.