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The dish/What's new in city dining
Espana Tapas House


August 2012

"We’re bringing Spain to you," our server says as we settle into a window table at Espana Tapas House. Our smiles broaden as we look around at the brightly painted walls and matching red tablecloths.

We came for lunch and had no problem finding several entrées we wanted to try on the limited daytime menu. Two of us ordered "Bocadillos," Spanish sandwiches on baguette bread sliced in half lengthwise and rubbed with extra virgin olive oil to moisten and flavor the bread. The sandwich came with homemade Spanish chips, Yukon gold potatoes thinly sliced like potato chips and deep-fried. "They’re phenomenal," our server says, and he was right.

For a nominal extra charge, I ordered the Patatas Ali-Oli from the Tapas Frias to accompany my Bocadillo, roasted potatoes with the house aioli. Lomo, Manchego cheese and olive oil sounded like a winner. Lomo is thinly sliced and cured pork tenderloin that has an intense flavor something like prosciutto, a perfect complement to the mild Manchego cheese. The olive oil in the bread — definitely a player in the flavor department — added the punch that pulled it together. As for those Patatas Ali-Oli, a generous pile of perfectly roasted potatoes tossed with the house aioli left a lasting impression of deliciousness.

We also sampled another Bocadillo, goat cheese with roasted peppers, almonds and arugula, and found it an equally enticing mix. Next time I’ll order the Serrano Ham with chorizo, red pepper, Manchego, arugula and that tasty house aioli.

Since Espana is a Tapas restaurant, the menu lists Tapas Frias, a long list of choices including the classic Tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelet), Grilled Asparagus, an assortment of olives and so much more. On the Hot Tapas menu you can order sautéed mushrooms, potatoes with chorizo, braised short ribs, ham and cheese croquettes, sautéed shrimp and again, so much more. There are also Bite Size Tapas. A deviled egg costs 50 cents and a single crostini $1.

It wouldn’t be a Spanish restaurant without Paella, and Espana had four choices, including the classic with shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels and chicken. Not to be overlooked, the dessert tray held two to tempt us, a traditional flan infused with coconut and chocolate crème brulée.

When it was time to leave, my friend says: "I was going to take half my sandwich home but it was so good, I ate the whole thing."


This story ran in the August 2012 issue of: