The night got off to a great start as we were greeted by Chef Jorge Luis Fernandez who poured each of us a unique Spanish beer called Estrella Inedit, served in an unusual and attractive bottle- which resembled more of a wine bottle and was even served to us in wine glasses. We were told that this beer was the collaboration between Executive Chef Fernan Adria of elBulli (a famous Chef from Barcelona), elBulli's Sommelier and Estrella Damm brewing company - conceived & created specifically for food pairings. I'm not much of a beer drinker myself, however I did give it a try and found it to be pleasantly crisp and clean with a hint of orange under tones. Once everyone arrived, we were seated at a long table where Chef Jorge stood in front of an easel and drawing board. He let us know that we were in for a fun evening and that this was going to be an "Interactive Experience". We hadn't been told of the menu in advance and the Chef wrote on the board the name of each dish and described it to us prior to the staff presenting each one to us. After we had a chance to savour each dish, he asked us our feedback and if he accurately presented the dish in the description. We all had a great time with our contributions. The first dish to arrive was a plate of Cured Pork Loin with Manchego Chees and Spicy "Chorizo", Walnuts and Dates. Freshly baked breads and a Mixed Olive Cocktail with homemade Pickle Garlic and Wild Capers accompanied this course.
Next up was the Chilled "Andalucian Gazpacho" with a "Typical" Spanish garnish. The soup itself was great, but when topped with the assorted garnishes of apples, diced peppers, tomatoes and croutons- it became elevated to a whole new level. This was a real unique treat.
The next dish was Roasted Sweet Piquillo Peppers filled with Calamari and Shrimp, and served in a Goat & Cream cheese Bechamel sauce. The filling was smooth and creamy and slightly sweet which contrasted nicely with the bechamel sauce, which was slightly more rich, had a hint of fresh anisette and tied the whole dish together perfectly. The Baked Corvina with Clams and Shrimp came in a lightly scented Saffron Broth Fume topped with White Asparagus. The fish was so flaky and tender while the flavors of the broth were so intense. We weren't provided spoons for this dish, so I ended up using the delicious bread as a vehicle for mopping up what remained in my bowl once the fish was all gone!
We were served a Lemon Sorbet with Dry Cava as a palate cleanser to prepare us for our next course which was the star of this evening's delights: the Black Seafood Paella with Cuttlefish and Aioli. Now, I have only had paella maybe once in my life and never "black" paella. Chef Jorge took the time to explain the proper technique for eating his paella. He instructed us to incorporate his wonderful aioli (not too mayonnaisey, not too eggy, oily or garlicky- just right!) into each bite and you know what, he was not joking. Combining the aioli with the rice and seafood made each bite a taste of heaven. To complement each course we served throughout the evening a variety of delicious white and red wines. We finished with a Viennese assortment of desserts, European Coffees and sweet Sherry. Not one of us left hungry and all of us left very excited and eager to come back for more!
The Spaniard Tapas Bar & Cafe is located at 99 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432 Restaurant: 561-347-7000, Catering: 954-609-0656
They are open Tuesday - Sunday for lunch and dinner; closed on Mondays.
Chef Jorge also designs custom menus that can meet all culinary needs and tastes for parties of any size. From 1,000 people or more to just one. The Spaniard will plan and cater corporate meetings, events, team-building activities, weddings, garden parties and festivals. Interested in taking a cooking class? Gather your friends and co-workers and have a blast cooking with Chef Jorge, aka "The Crazy Spaniard".
Until we eat again...
I send you delicious wishes xo,