Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Menu ReVamp: Taberna del Alabardero

By Lauren Rosalanko

Taberna del Alabardero is celebrating with a new and innovative menu thanks to Executive Chef, Javier Romero. The menu features 60% of foods sourced directly from Spain, with the other 40% being local and fresh ingredients. To complement the new dishes Taberna's sommelier, Gustavo Iniesta has expertly chosen the perfect wine pairings. I was welcomed to the "Evolution of Tradition" tapas tasting series followed by paella and lobster dish options and of course the night ended with fantastic desserts!

You'll find five types of tapas, Algo Fresco (Something Fresh), Charcuteria (Charcuterie), Tapas Organicas del Alabardero (Alabardero's Organic Tapas), De la Mar (Of the Sea), and De la Tierra Basado en Ambas Culturas (Of the Land, based on both cultures). My first taste of the night was a creamy burrata cheese salad atop a salmorejo tomato soup sauce. Burrata is one of my favorite appetizers and it was unique to see in a Spanish restaurant versus an Italian restaurant, where it is typically served.

The "Of the Sea" portion of the tapas included baby squid with the salmorejo sauce (a favorite of mine I would receommend trying!), Shrimp with Olive oil, Garlic and Pepper and finally a grilled octopus with boiled potatoes and paprika. Following the seafood was the meat dishes. Traditional Iberian Ham Croquettes were served along with Chicken Eggplant and Cabrales Cheese Empanadas. 

My favorite tapas plate of the night was also from the land, the Lacquered Veal with Pedro Ximenez with Ratatouille. This paired perfectly with the Valsotillo Crianza Tempranillo wine. As a heavier red, Iniesta explained that this would compare to a Cabernet wine and tends to go well with chorizo, lamb and red meat dishes. The pairing was just perfect as the wine brought out a lot of flavor from the tender veal. 

The Lobster Week Samplings were especially impressive. As a New England native there is no better seafood than Maine lobster. The dishes featured a lobster salad served with grilled red peppers and mackerel caviar a long with a lobster and fruit of the sea atop a creamy pasta with goat cheese. The light and tender lobster paired nicely with the rich  and cheesy pasta.

Paella Month occurs in May and they offer three paellas. The Pork Cheek with Padros Pepper and Vegetable paella was the richest and most flavorful, but the Octopus with Confit Potato Paella and the Cod Fish with Chickpea and Spinach dish were also tasty, with innovative ingredients compared to many typical paella dishes that are served with Chorizo, veggies or a mixture of seafood.

The desserts were also amazing, with new twists on many classic desserts. The Spanish Crème brûlée with creme catalana, a caramel cream and orange ice cream. Another choice was a cheesecake topped with figs and a Pedro Ximenez glaze. To top it off the Red Velvet 2015 dish was absolutely unique. Javier Romero explained that he likes to try something new, such as red velvet cake and transform it into something completely unique. This style paid off perfectly in a beautiful and delicious dessert.

Lobster Weekend kicked off in February and will return on March 27-29 and April 24-25. The new menu options are original and delicious, if you are looking for top Spanish cuisine made by an Executive Chef who is from Madrid you can look no further, Taberna del Alabardero is the spot to visit! In addition to the food, the sommelier, Gustavo Iniesta is knowledgable and able to pair paella, tapas and desserts with top Spanish wines.

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