2007 Fall Dining Guide By Tom Sietsema Washington Post Magazine Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007
Almost everything about this grandly formal restaurant makes me feel like I'm in Spain for a meal. A shot of gazpacho, cool and refreshing, and skewered chorizo, hot and zesty, serve as my amuse-bouche. The room, one of the city's most romantic, is a vision in red with its lace-backed banquettes, thick carpet and deep chairs. My neighbors are all conversing in Spanish, and the food that flows from the kitchen -- creamy rice swirled with mushrooms and snails, a slab of rockfish scattered with bronzed garlic and garnished with scarlet peppers and cubed potatoes -- brings to mind past restaurant tours of Madrid and Barcelona. Much as I enjoy pulling out the stops here -- and the dashing sommelier, David Bueno, can help you do that -- I head for the intimate tapas bar when money or time is short (go for the ham croquettes and marinated seafood). The lone false note? If I were really in Spain, I'd be the only person eating dinner at 8 o'clock in the evening, and this place is buzzing.