Do you know Estadio in Logan Circle? I have walked past it a number of times without really paying it too much attention. I liked what I could interpret of the vibe through the large picture windows, the rustic Spanish aesthetic, but that is pretty much where it ended.
Then last night we were meeting friends for dinner, at this point, I admit we have become tough to please in a restaurant. We love the idea of eating at a restaurant but hate the end result of feeling overly full, overly oiled and overly billed. So, as it happens we went to Estadio, a contemporary Spanish restaurant that encourages you to sample lots of flavors through their small bites and plates.
The stand out dish, in an evening of truly great drinks and plates was the kale. It was full of flavor, had a strong bite, some bold natural spices and yet wasn’t overcomplicated. This was a dish that would inspire you to make kale at home.
As we finished the plate of kale, we spotted a teeny winged friend from the garden that had also been sauteed up. Why am I sharing this part of the meal? Because it happens. It happens when you go to a restaurant and the food is fresh and organic, which the kale was. We told our waitress, she immediately apologized, notified the chef and then the manager came to the table to also apologize. He was gracious, and truth be told, we still loved the kale. We told him we loved it, and that we’d want to make it at home, in fact.
Five minutes later he returned to our table with a hand written copy of the kale recipe. This means on a busy night he stopped someone in the kitchen, or had them hand write the recipe so that we could make it at home. It was such a simple act and at the same time a grand gesture, and one that we all very much appreciated.
This was our first time at Estadio. The bug in question was an uninvited guest, and very quickly forgotten. The food was memorable, the service was remarkable.
So, what else did we eat and drink?
I’ll be the first to admit I am not a drinking connoisseur; set me up with a mojito and I am good to go. However, our friends are, and collectively we were impressed by the homemade tonics, the infusion of real fruit, the jumbo ice cube which melts slower to not water down your drink, and liquors and bitters with great names that today I can barely remember.
Mark and I ordered the Tecolate a cocktail of Tequila & Cava, Rosemary & Grapefruit, and the bartender did offer to make a mojito if I needed, but this was just lovely.
On to dinner….
So let me set the stage for you, at our table is a combination of people who are cutting back on meat, or dairy or gluten. Estadio makes it easier by providing two menus, a full version and a version that outlines vegan, vegetarian and gluten free.
So we started with two orders of the peach salad, the “Marriage” Boqueron, and open faced sandwich with anchovies and peppers, Sautéed Pea Shoots, Sautéed Red Kale, and Bacalao Crudo, a thin slice of cod with jalapeno, avocado, orange segments and olive oil.
For round two we ordered a salad of heirloom tomatoes, a dish of roasted corn with manchego, and the Scallops with roasted cauliflower and salbitxada.
I loved the peach salad; it was fresh and naturally sweet, balanced by the arugula, mint, marcona almonds and fresh goat cheese. The roasted corn was more amazing in each bite, the pea shoots and kale were fresh, flavorful and something I would make and eat again and again.
It is really rare for us to go to a restaurant and leave feeling fully satisfied, happy with every dish, happy with the service and excited to go back. That’s how we felt last night, and we look forward to returning.