gastronome
lorca

Wow. This is 'The Red Place' at the corner of 24th and Van Ness - i first spotted it on Dia De Los Muertos, and resolved to return. Adam, Russell & i were headed for El Farolito, and then out for drinks - but i diverted us on a whim to try Lorca.

Not a mistake. A charming bar - with both a bar and tables. Charming, sweet bartender - who checked whether R liked his Manhattan 'west coast' or 'east coast', and chatted gracefully. The drinks were divine and well-crafted, as well. (Adam drank Parchment Moons; i tried a Sapphire Poppy Punch, followed by a Spanish-inspired gin-based cocktail which is yet unnamed.)

Everything on the menu looked great, but at the top there was the option of a seven course tasting menu, for $28.00 per person. We threw ourselves on the mercy of the chef without hearing what was on the tasting menu. They thoughtfully asked whether we had any allergies the chef should know about.

I'll try and recount as best i can what we ate; overall - the food was impeccable. Spanish food, but not tapas. Our dishes were from a number of regions, north and south, and they were careful to tell us the inspiration for each as it arrived. Dishes were plated with care and served with panache - the soup was served in ways i normally associate with places like La Folie or The French Laundry. When we were served small, lidded casseroles, they made a clear effort (even in the small restaurant) to lift all three lids at the same time. Small touches. And every bite was delicious!

We started with an amuse-bouche type deal - a glass of chilled fino (Spanish for sherry - this one was fairly sweet) with an olive cracker perched on top for eating afterwards. We were told that it should open our appetites.

This was followed by a very small plate of tiny cubed potatoes with beef, served as an appetizer. I think i saw this on the full menu as a main course. The beef and potatoes was followed by what i think was my favorite - a tiny shrimp, a raw-garlic-ey (but not too sharp) puree of maybe potato? and a swirl of balsamic in a soup dish. A puree'd trout soup was poured over this - you scraped up the reduced balsamic as you ate the soup. Divine. I wish i had photographed this for you.

After the soup, we ate a fish course of marinated, cooked sardines, layered with thinly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and sprouts, with a lovely sauce. In the photo, note the sauce presentation - the dishes were unique to the course, and the sauce is shaped to look like the fish, which is presented as a 'sandwich' architecture. The flavor was superb - you could taste that it was a sardine, and that you were having essense of sardine without feeling it was 'fishy' or 'gamey'.

This was followed by a dish whose name translates to 'bull's tail' - rice and oxtail, wth some capers and herbs. It needed a little salt to bring up the flavor - but there was salt on the table, and i'd rather they under than oversalt. This was tailed by another fish dish - a perfectly seared piece of mahi mahi on a bed of puree'd potatoes, with mushrooms (wild and domestic, if i am calling them correctly), and a mushroom infusion poured around the dish at the table. Again, so tasty and rich - but balanced on the edge.

We then had a pork en adobo - layered with fried potatoes and other tasties. Then some tiny pieces of flan with sliced grapes, served with flaming brandy poured about them; and then a dessert try with small drinks poured at the table of amaretto, OJ, and mint (poured into tiny glasses with caramelized sugar springs), warm chocolate cake bites with orange cookie, and a tiny custard in a tart shell.

I was perfectly fed - not overfull, not hungry, and as Thomas Keller would say, left wanting just one more bite. Perfect. (You know the game. Click on the food to see the full set.)

Posted by shock on December 03, 2002 | TrackBack
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