Having been blown away by my first visit to Patria, I invited another friend to meet me for what I anticipated to be a repeat performance before we headed to our families for the holiday season. There only being the two of us at the table, and on a Friday night, I was curious to see if we would get the same level of service. We most certainly did.
Since there was only the 2 of us at the table it was less hectic for our server who was very attentive but not intrusive. It can be a very delicate balance to have an attentive server and I’m sure everyone has a different idea of what that should be. I like to enjoy and savour a meal but really don’t need to have someone asking me how it is after every bite. I like to know that the person attending my table is readily available, or at least easy to hail, whenever there is something needed at our table. I cannot remember the name of our server (I’m really bad with remembering names) but she was very knowledgeable, pleasant and always close by to replenish even our water when the level reached the halfway point in the glass. Is that really necessary? No, but to have your glass filled and not have your conversation interrupted with questions is part of excellent service.
It’s that Russian roulette game with the blistered peppers; you just never know which ones will be stuffed into the dates with the Manchego cheese. I decided to order a plate and this time try the white Sangria.
A fabulous combination as I sat back to relax and wait for my friend to arrive. The last week before the Christmas holidays was a long one. Everyone is scrambling to get the last minute things done in the office, clear our desks of as much work as possible so that we can start the new year fresh (or as fresh as possible) with as little left over tasks as possible. With each sip of Sangria the stress of work ebbed away and I looked forward to the meal ahead.
The whole beauty of tapas is sharing the wonderful food that is set before you. Taking the time to enjoy each other’s company, savour the food and the ambiance. This time I was sitting in a more central area and was able to get a better view of the entire restaurant. The masterpiece of the cross stitch wall, the huge gothic paintings near the entrance, the dark wood… all enhance the type of ambiance that I enjoy.
Once my guest arrived, we began with a dish of olives, the Gambas al Ajillo (gulf shrimp with garlic and parsley) and the Pan Con Tomate et Ibérico Jamon (house baked bread with crushed tomatoes and Iberico ham). Next came Pulpo a la Gallega (Spanish octopus on sliced potato fingerlings drizzled with paprika and olive oil) the Patates Bravas con Huevos Fritos (crispy cubed potatoes with spicy tomato and a fried egg) and both types of croquettas (Jamon and Manchego). I will never be able to pass up these tasty treats… ever!
Although the Secreto Ibérico (flank steak) is a bit pricey ($28) it is well worth the indulgence. Succulent tender slices of steak floating on a sea of sweet pepper jam sauce ~ simply a must have.
The friend I was with that night is not very keen on spicy food so the blistered peppers would not have been to her liking, nor unfortunately the serving of dates but there is so much more available on the menu that I have not tried. If I’m introducing anyone to a new restaurant, or food, I will always defer to what their preferences may be but will also always encourage them to try something new, unless of course there is a food allergy that prevents them from trying something. If the heat of a food that might be spicy is the only issue, we can avoid a certain dish or ask the restaurant to lower the heat level.
Get out there and try something new, or go with someone you know who has had tried it and loved it!
This time there was room for desert and the Chocolate Con Aceite Y Sal. I don’t know how the chef does it but there is a whimsical drop of olive oil suspended in sugar placed atop a quenelle of chocolate pudding that is sprinkled with flakes of sea salt. My friend cracked the sugar droplet and swirled the olive oil and salt flakes into the pudding as was instructed but I just had to be adventurous and popped it into my mouth.
What a delight! This desert is an absolute symphony for the palate. Dark chocolate, sea salt and olive oil… simply amazing with my double espresso to end my meal.
I know, once again I’m gushing about Patria but in my opinion their food is simply superb. I have already insisted that another friend meet me there for my next culinary adventure. Maybe we’ll try the paella. Maybe we’ll play “Piementon Roulletta”?
Maybe just more of the same dishes? For me, that certainly won’t be a hardship as I could never get enough of the croquettas.
Join me at Patria for amazing tapas!!