Friday, July 06, 2007

Holiday in Spain - first night

Just got home from our long weekend in Spain last night, feeling like I'd done nothing but eat for the previous five days. I'll be sure to blog extensively (with photos!) about elBulli and El Cellar de Can Roca (since I'll probably post on egullet as well - I've recently joined), but figured I devote a bit of space to talking about other places we ate as well.

Our first night, we ended up napping for awhile and didn't make it down to the concierge to talk about dinner until around ten (maybe later?). We'd asked about doing tapas (Cal Pep or similar), but a few quick phone calls determined that waits were prohibitively long (or the restaurants weren't even taking more customers) at a few popular places. We ended up going to a seafood restaurant on the recommendation of the concierge. She described Neyras as a casual place, as though apologizing for its lack of pomp, which led us to expect a little authentic hole in the wall (sounded perfect). The restaurant turned out to be a nice bistro-esque place, with a more casual-looking front room and a nicer back room (where we were seated). Both were almost entirely empty, which was disconcerting. We were handed menus in English, which is also a bit disconcerting. The food actually was decent, though pretty expensive for what it was (~150 euros, no dessert, and a decent bottle of house white was only 17 euros). Ended up feeling as though we'd be steered to a place that caters to foreign tourists who pay for the English fluency. Not exactly what we'd wanted.

For appetizers, I ordered a salad of cheese, tomato, and black truffle. It turned out to be very similar to an Italian caprese (though the cheese - not sure what it was - wasn't quite mozzarella), very un-trufflely (despite the black slivers), and very un-Spanish. The tomatoes weren't super-ripe, but it was fine. Adam got a lentil stew, which was more soupy than the thickness I expect of a lentil stew, but it was pretty good. The entrees were much better. I got a sort of paella made with black squid ink and seafood. Ever since a memorable black ink risotto eaten on the Croatian coast, I can rarely exist ordering inky rice dishes. Adam got fideos (crispy noodles instead of rice - though it was spelled differently - I assume the Catalan spelling). Both dishes had a similar assortment of clams, shrimp, and fish, and both were tasty (though I would have assumed the fideos would be crispier, but never having had the dish before, this could just be my expectation).

Certainly a generally tasty meal, and had it been half the price and seemed like a more authentic local restaurant, I would have been very happy. But by the end, we were full and exhausted, ready to go home and sleep.


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