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Restaurants & Bars 12

racion--tapas in pasadena

chez cherie | Mar 25, 2012 08:14 AM

all i can say is "hell, yes!"
racion just opened, in the former tre venezie space. i took my staff there for a calendaring meeting and we ordered half the menu. having recently led a culinary tour of andalucia, i was in heaven with each bite of jamon, albondigas and croquetta! this is some seriously good food--the least successful dish we had was still something i would happily eat again!
our favorite dish (although it is very hard to choose!) was probably the "cochinillo"--the daily pork preparation. now, who doesn't love a restaurant with a daily pork preparation?? in this instance, it was pork riblets, in a glorious sticky gingery, juniper-y, sweet-savory glaze. yes, we licked our fingers.
the conserva is a lovely presentation, on a slate square, with jamon, duck prosciutto, an amazing liver and tangerine terrine with a few olives and boquerones. that terrine was fab.
the romesco on the roasted vegetables is delicious, but the stand-out sauce to us was served with the smoked cauliflower steak. it was a version of white gazpacho, with garlic, almonds and sherry vinegar, and i had to be restrained from tipping the dregs from the bowl into my mouth. luscious!
the rib-eye was seasoned simply--i believe it was just salt, pepper, and fabulous beef, with a couple padron peppers tossed on top for color (and yum). that was some seriously good beef right there.
the chef, teresa, visited our table a couple of times to answer questions we had about preparation. she's very warm and willing to share, and an amazing talent. i can't wait to go back--is tonight too soon?
we shared the cheese plate (tetilla, idiazabal and a very assertive cabrales, with pistachio stuffed dates) , and every dessert on the menu. the consensus at our table was that the chocolate mousse, with coffee ice cream and pedro jimenez sorbetto was the winner. simple, but gorgeous presentation, and wow-factor flavors.
btw, we enjoyed a couple bottles of a really nice cava rose--"tresor", i think it was called. we're a festive bunch, so we like to start with bubbles, but this was so tasty, dry and delicious, that we stuck with it for the whole evening, and it stood up, even to the ribeye. i want more of that!
service was great, the room is comfortable and nicely decorated (great art with a real spanish feel). the place sure feels like it has been operating for a while---no "opening glitches" on display.
both my thumbs are way up for this terrific addition to the pasadena tapas scene.

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