Tonight I went to dinner at Laiola with a very pregnant Spanish friend. We tried to stop in before but it was always full. Tonight I called at 7 and was able to secure an 8:15 reservation.
-chickpeas with house-made blood sausage
-roast suckling pig
-basque cheese with olive oil and toast
The tortilla I liked very much; my friend said it was too creamy and tasted different than she expected. We both loved the rich, earthy blood sausage mixed with chickpeas. This was her favorite dish of the night, and the one that seemed most authentically Spanish.
The roast suckling pig was gorgeous: three or four big chunks of pig set on stewed corona beans. I loved this. My by-the-book Spaniard pointed out that the pig and beans should have been served separately, but I was too enchanted by the flavor to give a fig (or a pig) about authenticity.
The cheese was creamy and tasty, but seemed a bit boring. I feel like I've had this dish or one quite like it at pretty much every restaurant lately. Soft cheese, a little grind of pepper, drizzle of oil, two thin toasts: it tasted good, but I wanted more.
The crema catalana, which is a Spanish creme brulee, was not to my taste. The shell was chewy and not crisp. I like a crunchy crust I can break with the back of a spoon, but this wasn't it.
Overall, though, dinner was very good, and service was warm and friendly. I would go back and try more of the menu; I was especially curious about the fish and shellfish dishes, so I'd want to explore more of that when I return.
Total was about $70 with two drinks.
2031 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123