Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Albondigas - An airport run. To Oma lands me in Espana

I am in Omaha picking up my daughter and I came down with enough time for a bite to eat. I did a quick urbanspoon spin and it came back with Espana. I immediately loves the idea. A tapas bar. You know I did write and mean loves, not loved. Honest. I loves the idea of tapas. It was right for a rainy stormy night to find this really cool part of Spain located in OMA. The Benson neighborhood. 

The atmosphere was dark and soft, never been to Spain but I saw it on Google once. I would say they hit the atmosphere pretty well. The dark reds and muted deep colors that complement the restaurant transport you out of Omaha and out of the Midwest. Cute little tables line the back half just past an overwhelmingly large bar that sits right in the middle. Walking in on a Sunday night I was treated to live guitar.  The entertainer was. 

The food. The first clue I was going to be happy was something I passed by at the bar. Two large hanging serrano hams. That being the spanish version of Prosciutto. Ham people. Excellent dried cured super flavorful ham. Yeah we can get technical and say that Serrano is typically dried at higher altitudes only from one or two types of pigs or something but whatever. I like both. lots.  

Espana serves essentially Tapas and if you are prepared to wait and have at least two people you can get the Paella. Next time I am getting the Paella. Soon. Like maybe this week.  Tapas originated in Spain. Typically thought to have originated in the Andalusia region. The bartenders and patrons would cover (english for tapa) the rich fruity sherry in order to keep the fruit flies out. There are about a half dozen other stories as well but I like this one the best. Tapas evolved from simple breads to this inspirational bar hopping snack which many make a complete meal of.  

Our waitress was eager to explain how to order tapas, she said just like sushi. In other words you make a meal out of all these little plates. She recommended 2-3 plats per person. My own appetite says at least 3. :) 

The menu is divided into cold or hot tapas and each of those sections are divided into vegetarian, seafood and meat. The menu items are titled in spanish with english translations and english descriptions underneath. I like that. Lends some authenticity. What also does that is in speaking with the server further she divulged that many of the recipes were actually generations old. The tastes were fresh and the presentations were up to date IMHO. 

From the cold side I sampled (their descriptions, my rating) 

Tres Quesos
Mahon - semi soft, fairly sharp, island of menorca manchego - firm texture, full nutty, mildly piquant, cabrales - blue cheese, intense, buttery and tangy. apples, figs, quince membrillo, asturias   LIKE LIKE
Fresh diver sea scallops, shrimp, red bell peppers, fresh citrus, fried plantains on fresh spinach  THE BEST ONE
Montadito De Vieras Con Salsa Pesto
Pesto of parsley, roasted garlic, pine nuts and manchego cheese on a toasted baguette with grilled diver sea scallops  No wait this is THE BEST ONE 

From the hot

Datiles Envueltos Y Rellenos
Dried dates stuffed with cabrales blue cheese and marcona almonds wrapped in serrano ham. sangria reduction  Seriously THE BEST ONE HONEST
Pierna De Cordero Asada
Slow braised lamb, rosemary, bell peppers, garlic, fried diced potatoes, olive oil, piquillo pepper  ----- NOPE THEY WERE OUT??? BUMMER 
Croquetas De Jamón Serrano Y Pollo
Serrano ham and chicken croquettes, allioli sauce----- NOPE THEY WERE OUT??? BUMMER 
Pollo Relleno
Chicken breast stuffed with serrano ham, manchego cheese, spanish olives, fried, béchamel sauce - Being out of the other two the server recommended this one It was very good but not the BEST ONE. 
The full menu is here

A quick horrible picture(great food) showing the stuffed dates and the cheese plate. The bread they served was great and they actually continued to bring us plate after plate of bread even trying to give us more than needed. :)  

The service was on par with what you would expect in a bar/grill pub and I liked it just fine. Water could have been filled up a bit quicker but I should have probably been ordering sherry I suppose. I would say plan on spending as much as you do for sushi, each plate is pretty close to 10$ on average some less some more that is how averages work you know.  The Pollo Rellono came out and I was at first excited that it was such a big portion. A whole chicken breast then I realized it was 10$ for a whole chicken breast and I get a bit deflated, but then I tasted and shared it and I was very happy. I would pay perhaps $11 for that preparation again. :) Toss in a glass of sangria and you add a 5 spot or so.  Dinner for two ran 70$ with the tip. I will return to Spain. 

España on Urbanspoon

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