January is not yet done and I've already hit two of the restaurants I wanted to try this year. R and I had a great dinner at Estragon with our ever intrepid friends, Mj and Brian. It's a good thing they are adventurous eaters as some of the tapas we had would scare others.
Garbanzos fritos– they were fried and dusted with paprika. You would bite through the thin, crispy shell and there would be smooth, creamy, chickpea goodness. It was original and surprising. I love to be surprised by my food.
Patatas – sounds better than French fries, doesn't it? But that what these were: handcut, perfectly fried and seasoned and served with a garlic lemon aioli.
Fried calamari – served with the same delicious aioli as the fries. The calamari was tender and with a light crispy batter. My only complaint is that there were no tentacles.
Beef tongue on toast – I think this one was Mj's favorite. It was quite tasty, tender and flavorful.
Roasted eggplant with chorizo – this dish was universally liked on all the reviews and Chow.com postings, but I was letdown by the soggy texture and the oily flavor.
Cod Cheeks with pil pil – pil pil is a sauce that is an emulsion made with olive oil and the fish. I liked the cod cheeks themselves, but the sauce was not to my liking.
R and Brian really liked both the pork belly and the foie gras tapas, but I think Mj and I were underwhelmed. I did like the beluga lentils the pork belly came atop.
We had the cheese plate before dessert. It was a nice assortment with a blue, a sheep's milk and two cow's milk.
For desserts, we ordered a taza de chocolate, which was essentially a dark chocolate pot de creme and the pumpkin flan. Both were rich, thick and creamy with great flavor. Someone in that kitchen has mastered the art of custards. Ditto for whoever is on the fry station.
Service was attentive; there was only one other table when we arrived at 6:30pm on a friday night, but the place was packed by the time we left at 8:30pm. The bread is a small baguette that is great for mopping up sauces or for the great taragon inflused olive oil they give you (Estragon is spanish for taragon). Parking was super easy – lots of on street parking in the area.
Next time someone is trying to drag you to tried old Dali for some tapas, maybe you can convince them to go to Estragon instead.