Sunday, September 25, 2011

TABERNA del ALABARDERO takes you out to a luscious lunch (9-25-11)

Today we were invited to the buffet brunch at DC's most famous Spanish dining spot TABERNA del ALABARDERO ( and upon arrival were surprised to see that they
had not resumed the brunch menu (it was suspended for the summer until next Sunday). As our friends had a gift certificate it was a bit of an embarrassment and in the end the manager graciously accepted the certificate for a full three course lunch for us all and even included the beverages! WOW! What a nice belated birthday treat (thanks guys!).
Olives and manchego came to the table with superb crusty warm bread that was irresistible. The red and white SANGRIAS are both nice and I guess it really depends what you are eating which one to choose.
I started with the Salmorejo de Cordobes con Mousse de Salmon, Bacon y Sardinas Marinadas - blissful Chilled TOMATO SOUP with a large mold of SMOKED SALMON MOUSSE surrounded by a slice of BACON and topped with a marinated SARDINE. It was simple yet wonderful for a fall clammy day (the humidity refuses to leave this city!) and the start of a large meal at midday. ENSALADA de PULPO was an Arugula Based Salad with slices of OCTOPUS with "texturized Olive Oil" which was really more like a cubed jelly and crystal (an unmolded gel) of Gazpacho; a modern yet not over the top take on a traditional dish. The TEMPURA VEGETABLES came with Mussels and served with Violet Potato Vinaigrette.

Three of us chose the Millioja de Ventresca de Atun con Txangurro sobre Purrusalda Ahumaday Crujente de Pan - a beautiful TUNA BELLY NAPOLEAN assembled with just past rare white tuna around Basque Style Crab Meat (a light red sauce) over Smoked Potatoes and Leeks. A slice of toasted bread was on the side, julienne veggies and micro greens; we all adored it. The Lubina or ROCKFISH was braised over Mussel Emulsion with Caramelised Onion and Sauteed Seafood also got very high marks.

The coffee came and was superb and desserts followed:
Lemon Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Ice Cream and Cream of Rose & Lychees
Caramelised Rice Pudding with Orange Sorbet
and the Tarte de MANAZANAS more of a pastry dough purse filled with apples which were a bit overcooked and served with flavorless Dulce de Leche Ice Cream (so skip this one).
My FLAN ROTO de Coco was a modern creation in a martini glass with a kind of breaded coconut flan at the bottom covered by Mascarpone Cream and a scoop of Pineapple Sorbet; I actually liked it, but I never would have called it flan--maybe flan parfait!

No matter, I had a great birthday lunch, albeit 4+ months after the fact, and we all were quite surprised at the way the staff handled our "issue" and really made it a great day, great lunch and with great service to add.