Friday, April 07, 2017

Madrid's Sala de Despieces delivers over and over (3-30-17)

Our last day in Madrid was a sad one indeed because we knew we would be seeing Sam's "Madrid parents" Ana and Pedro for the last time at lunch. Unfortunately their three boys could not join us because they were in school.
We arrived at the restaurant and some folks were waiting outside, so we opened the door to a small room with bar and tons of standing people eating tapas. We couldn't spot a table anywhere so I went over to the counter and told the gentleman that we had a reservation for 5 people at 3 p.m. He asked us to wait out in the street for a couple of minutes and about 5 or 6 minutes later another gentleman stuck his head out of another door down the street and beckoned us to follow him through an alleyway into a small room that was like a tin foil lined vault with about 7 other people sitting at the table which was one giant table in the middle of the room with about enough room to pull back a chair behind it. 

The gentleman who ushered us on was a server named Pablo was serving all 3 parties at the large table.  He handed us a clipboard which had a listing of about 30 items on the first page making up the various dish options we could choose. All of us looked at it and while it was in Spanish we could figure out a lot of it and with his assistance, as well as Ana and Pedro's  we ended up selecting a bunch that we knew we would all enjoy and share.
There was no logical order to the way they were delivered but virtually every plate was spectacularly fabulous. I ordered a glass of superb Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva (Tempranillo)which was excellent with the lighter and heavier dishes,  so much so that I had a second glass (and remember the price was like  $3 a glass max).
One of the first dishes to arrive was the Rolex, a signature dish of Chef Javier Bonet who we sadly did not meet. It is basically a watchband size piece of bacon with foie gras, truffles and an egg yolk at its center resembling a real watch dial. Pablo cooked the bacon with a blowtorch and then passed the "watches" to us to roll up and eat in one bite period it was heavenly, I indeed almost orgasmic.
Pulpo from Galicia(every dish had it place of origin on the chart) came with a superb chimichurri sauce. Artichokes from Alicante were perfectly fried with an eel salsa, while Tirabeques from Kenya were what we would call huge pea pods with the most amazing spices and balsamic. These were simply edamame with edible pods gone crazy!
The Solomillo (sirloin) tartare for Sam was brought on a small tray with the ingredients (molasses sauce and oxfood cereal with beets..go figure?)and Pablo instructed Sam to take the meat in the plastic container and the sauce to marinate for 2 minutes and then use the salt to season.
Huevos "Rossini Plus" was a variation of Tournedos Rossini with the eggs topped with superb quality foie gras from nearby Segovia.
Huge King Prawns (from San Lucar near Cadiz) were almost the size of the 3+ inch long langoustines from the previous night in an amazing sauce of mentaico or tuna roe that I will always remember the flavor of.
Ox carpaccio was a gorgeous super thinly cut meat that we each wrapped tableside with rhubarb and straciatella cheese; it was so much fun to be a part of the preparation and we were all having a really super time.
The White Asparagus from Navarra was one of the most amazing preparations I have ever had of this dish as the season was truly at its height. The large trunks were as tender as could be and served with a sabayon of Algardogo or carob that just made them even better.
We were nearing our saturation point and knew we had another two-Michelin-star dinner that evening but we were completely surprised when Pablo brought out a gorgeous dessert made up of three separate desserts that he mixed together tableside and then let us finish ourselves: Gooseberries  (also called L'amour en cage or physallis) were mixed with raspberries in a flan with chocolate and dulce de leche as apple concentrate and crunchy quinoa were added in miniature jars for us to stir up and gobble down by the delicious mouthfuls.
Will and I agreed that while the show the night before was a 4 hour long amazing extravaganza, overall the food at this no star spot with one table that can barely even be reserved unless you have a contact, was one of the best dining experience we have ever had in our lives. We shall return!