Estadio, Logan Circle

(See the February 23, 2001 Review here.)

I have a feeling this could result in a six-foot, six-inch foot in the arse, so I’m going out to Home Depot today and purchasing some Mark-B-Gone.

After a trade wine tasting at Cork Wine Bar, a good friend of mine and I were hungry, and decided to have dinner nearby. It was a Monday night, and not everything was open. He’d never been to Estadio, and it seemed like the perfect choice.

We walked into a bustling, but not packed (for once) restaurant, and chose to sit at the bar rather than a table.

I immediately ordered a Slushito ($9) with coconut, rum, lemongrass, and lime, and was whisked away to the Caribbean. As I type this, I’m craving one right now – out of about a half-dozen Slushitos I’ve tried here, this may just be my personal favorite.

After we’d settled into our drinks, I ordered a tumbler of 2010 Mokoroa Txakoli ($7), a high-toned, high-acid drink that transitioned me from beach cocktail to dry wine. The first round of tapas was Boquerones ($4) with house made bread, Pickled Garlic, Pepinillos & Olives ($4), House Made Terrina ($8), and a wonderful order of Chorizo, Manchego, & Pistachio Crusted Quince Pintxos ($1.50 each). These single-bite skewers are pre-made at the front counter, and about thirty of them were sitting in a tray which I could have taken and run out the door with. As simple as these were, each was a terrific bite of food. Get them.

I sometimes have to pry myself away from Spanish whites, and wasn’t yet ready to do so, so I tried the 2009 A. Coroa Godello ($9) which still leaves me Waiting For Godello – it was very much of an American-export version of this wine which can be so bracing and compelling in its native Galicia. Still, it went well with orders of the Croquetas de Jamón ($6) with pickled cucumbers (cornichons), and Wild Mushroom Croquetas ($6) with roasted red peppers. I didn’t care for either of the soufflé-like croquetas, and when I bit into the ham, I thought I might have been eating the mushroom (a bite of the mushroom made me realize I hadn’t been). That said, my knowledgable dining companion liked them more than I did, and even ordered a second order of the croquetas de jamón.

I thought a glass of Emilio Hidalgo Marques de Rodil Especial Palo Cortado ($10) would be a good pairing with an intriguing-sounding Bacalao Crudo ($10) with jalapeño, avocado, orange, and olive oil. However, both the sherry and the crudo came out at refrigerator temperature, and by that I mean they were both so cold that neither was enjoyable until they warmed up, and it took a surprisingly long time for them to do so. Once they did, they went beautifully together, and I can highly recommend this Bacalao dish which is ample, and has a beautiful combination of flavors and textures.

This was around the point we switched to reds, and I went with one of my (affordable) favorites here, the 2008 Juan Gil Monastrell ($7.50) from Jumilla.

My dining companion and I parted ways a second time on our “main course.” For me, both the Sautéed Shrimp ($11) with garlic, parsley and lemon, and the Sautéed Lacinato Kale ($6) with garlic, sherry, and chili flakes were oversalted to the point where I just didn’t want to eat them, and I took a couple bites of each and was done; he didn’t think the salt was such a problem, and rather enjoyed them.

Because of these two divergences, two experienced diners walked away with very different impressions of the meal – he was impressed as a whole; I thought the kitchen had a terrible evening, and only the pre-made dishes were standouts. I reiterate, it was a Monday night, and the only person I recognized from either the front or the back of the house was Justin Guthrie, super-hospitable as always. That having been said, the bartenders themselves were wonderful, and could not have been more professional and friendly, and as always, good service means a lot to me.

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