Sunday, February 7, 2010

Delish Dish 3: Judias Verdes con Jamon Serrano en Salsa de Mostaza at Si Tapas

We Americans like to think we have the best bar food in the world. Our wings, nachos, and cheese sticks certainly provide filling fare, and they are generally hearty and satisfying. However, other countries have intriguing pub grub as well, from English fish and chips to Irish corned beef and cabbage to Germany's renowned bratwurst. Surprisingly, Spain just might have them all beat with tapas. Varieties of dishes are endless, from cold cuts like chorizo and lomo (sausage and pork loin), to marinated olive plates and salad dishes such as Tomato al Ajillo (tomato garlic salad), to a procession of hot plates including Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp in garlic), Pincho Moruno (beef on skewer), and Pollo en Cerveza (chicken sauteed in beer sauce). All are devoured eagerly by hungry patrons, who use the smallish portions at Happy Hour to tide them over until dinnertime, or who may arrive a little later, order more, and use them to stand in for the evening meal itself. They also make a fabulous brunch repast, as my lovely wife the Rock Star and I found when we motored down to the State-Thomas area of Dallas one recent Sunday noontide.

Si Tapas Restaurant is housed proudly in a restored casa amongst the delightfully quaint streets of State-Thomas, and the equally delightful owner assured us our car would not be towed if we used the Notre Dame Cathedral parking lot. Dodging omnipresent construction equipment, we soon entered a little corner of Valencia, with ramshackle rooms such as the former garage where we were seated. Flamenco guitar music completed the illusion, and we soon commenced to order. All of the tapas we tried were excellent, but for my money the Judias Verdes con Jamon Serrano en Salsa de Mostaza was the standout. This dish translated into fresh, French-style green beans with Serrano ham, which is salt-cured and similar to Italian prosciutto, all served with righteously spiced mustard sauce which really fused the ham and green beans together into a completely new twist on a combination of two picnic standbyes. Unlike Easter dinner, this combination was light and refreshing, yet surprisingly hearty, as were all the tapas we tried that day. Service was very good as well, and the whole effect was like dining with an Iberian family in their private abode. Say yes to Si Tapas soon, and remember:


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