Restaurants & Bars 2

Contigo Report

Joan Kureczka | Feb 22, 2010 02:56 PM

We stopped by this newish Spanish place in Noe Valley. Not exactly tapas, there are however a wealth of small plates and a few larger. Particularly distinguishing was the virtual tasting of fine dry cured hams, which included not only the usual Serrano but also the Iberico Bellota and Loma Bellota from acorn fed pigs, several products from La Quercia, including their own Bellota equivalent and a US country ham. Fortunately they offer the opportunity for a half portion of the high priced Spanish hams, and we went with a taste of the Iberico Bellota. Delicious, and the fat does have a particularly melting quality due to the high omega-3 fatty acid content from the acorn diet.

They also raved about "the world's best cured anchovies" and so I had to have a sampling -- 3 long filets in excellent olive oil for $5. Good, but not worth ordering again IMO.

A salad of little gems, roasted and thinly sliced raw beets, mint, garlic chips, and red wine vinagrette was decent although not exceptional, as was the coca of the day -- a flat bread with nettles, sheep ricotta and onion confit. I thought it was fine, DH thought it too sweet -- probably from the onion confit but possibly also from a dose of sugar that I see called for in many recipes for these Catalan flatbreads.

The best dish was a superlative grilled squid on chorizo-studded black rice, dressed with a bit of thin, very garlicky aioli. The squid was perfectly cooked and tender, and this I could definitely have eaten more of (because it was so good, not because of a lack on portion size).

Good selection of Spanish wines, but prices were high for the pour size.

Overall, not bad... but we have enjoyed Bocadillos more and thought it better value, and so probably won't return.

Notably -- this restaurant seems WAY overstaffed in the kitchen. The tables were quite full, but most of the 5-6 person(!) kitchen staff just stood around the majority of time we were there (the bar seats where we sat overlook the open kitchen. There just wasn't a lot for them to do, as many of the dishes were not labor intensive in the slightest.

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