Tuesday, December 16, 2008

FOOD: Cobras y Matadors

After the movie on Sunday, we checked out a longtime trendy eatery that we'd never tried: Cobras y Matadors, a tapas bar on Beverly at Curson (near The Grove). We had a great meal there and would definitely go back. They had traditional Spanish tapas as well as some trendy creations. (Think AOC: Spain edition.) It's all tapas (appetizers), so you just start ordering plates for the table and take things as they come. We started with "lomo embuchado", stuffed dates, and an assortment of Spanish cheeses (properly served with quince, marcona almonds, and tapenade). The "lomo embuchado" was a thinly sliced Spanish ham with slices of a mild tres leches cheese, served with raisin toast, and a tomato/caper salsa that just made my tongue stand up and applaud. (Even though the large proportion of tapas are served on bread, our waiter and the kitchen did a nice job of bringing us things with the bread on the side so my gluten-intolerant husband could enjoy them too.) The dates were stuffed with almonds and cheese, and wrapped in bacon, delicious morsels. We added a skirt steak, perfectly cooked in orange juice and paprika, a mushroom and asparagus paella (really more like a risotto, but an impeccable flavor), and "pintxos" -- lamb/beef meatballs covered in a piquant red pepper sauce, toothpick-skewered together with a small double-bent green pepper. Everything was a delight to eat. We finished with a flan, which was rich and firm, like the flans we had when we were in Spain. The place has its quirks -- it gets noisy (it's a small place and they fill it up), there's an open-fire oven in the back corner which is charming but occasionally a bit smoky, and they don't have their liquor license. However, they happen to own a wine shop next door that sells a selection of Spanish wines, which we wandered over to, purchased a charming bottle of Bierzo Mencia (young and fruity, something like a Beaujolais) for $21, and were charged no corkage fee. Not a bad compromise set-up. The whole meal for three people, tax tip wine and all, was $125. All in all, it was a delightful meal.

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