Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lunch at Rambla

Before a few weeks ago, it had been quite a long time since my last meal at Rambla. The menu has somewhat evolved since the restaurant opened in October 2008. Tapas still comprise the majority of the menu, but the addition of bocadillos and sliders have made the restaurant (at least in my opinion) much more conducive to lunchtime dining.

Bocadillos are what would best be described as Spain's own version of the po-boy. Rambla offers four different versions, the best of which may be the simplest: layers of thinly sliced serrano ham topped with melted manchego and sweet onion jam (pictured right). Burgers can be a bit dry from the inclusion of ground pork, which also gives the patty an almost pale gray color. Word of advice: If the chorizo burger is offered as a special, make sure it ends up on your table.

As for the sliders, some may say their inclusion on the menu indicates some form of "selling out" to the mainstream. Maybe it is, but I'll leave judgment on that issue to the commenters and instead focus on taste. The chile braised pork shoulder came highly touted by the staff, and while the spicy shreds delivered the heat, the stale buns unfortunately detracted the great flavor of the pork. Too bad because $8 is a great deal for 2 sliders and a pile of thin and crispy french fries.

Even though burgers and sandwiches are now more the focus during lunch, tapas are still available for those wishing to sample a few different items. If you are looking for a light lunch (or even a few items to share among a group), the Tapas Trio (pictured top) offers a daily selection of tapas plus a salad for $14. Keep your fingers crossed one of those three is a pair of medjool dates stuffed with Marcona almonds and blue cheese, wrapped in bacon, and pan fried. I think that Rene said it best in our review of Rambla in OffBeat: "The stuffed dates combine in one bite the holy trinity of flavors: salty, sweet, and bacon."

One final note. Although the food is lunch-worthy, service is often not up to speed for those diners on a time crunch. My latest lunch was 80 minutes from entry to exit, though I have a feeling that a large group caught the kitchen off guard.

Lunch at Rambla - Par

PS - I don't know about you, but last night's episode of No Reservations had me on the verge of booking plane tickets for a return trip to Madrid. Since the cheapest flight leaving this week was over $1000, I am settling for the special wine dinner at Rio Mar on Thursday. I suggest you do the same. 9 dishes, 6 wines, and a whole lot of talk about Spain will make for what Chef Adolfo Garcia calls the "Spanish Wine Dinner of the Year." For menu details and information about our host, Spanish food, wine, and travel enthusiast Gerry Dawes, click here. Call 525-3474 to book your seats.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Rio Mar dinner sounds amazing. We'll see you there.