February 18th, 2011

Sarah Goes To Gabinoteca.

Anointed by Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations as a place worthy of your time when visiting Madrid, we went for an early dinner on our first night in the city.  Early requires a recalibration in Madrid as the restaurant does not start seating until 8pm. By nine o'clock the place is packed with beautiful people sipping glasses of beer and cava. 

We kept things simple and ordered a few items to share: Russian salad, ham and cheese croquets, a potato, cheese and egg dish that is poached in a jar, and the fish sandwich.  Gabinoteca has gained attention from its innovative presentation of tapas.  The croquets were the least contrived dish we ordered.  The potato in a jar is something of a signature dish for the restaurant.  It comes to the table in said jar with the lid loosened just enough.  When stirred together it is quite decadent.  The barely poached egg enriches the potato puree and the cheese adds a nice twang. The fish sandwich arrived in a modern filet o'fish box with packets of condiments on the side.  When the kitchen is taking the time to prepare such tasty morsels then the cuteness of the presentation enhances the experience.  

This place is packed with atmosphere.  The two floor space fills up quickly with locals and must stay full until closing.  There was a crowd at the bar when we got there and and even bigger crowd milling around outside when we left.    Worth the hype?  I think so.  Someone put a lot of thought into how they could upgrade the tapas experience.  This leaves the door open for the obviously skilled kitchen staff to create something new from familiar and comforting flavors.