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Paella Clasica and Paella de Carne

Paella de Carne

Paella de CarneWhen I walked into Bocado, the dimly lit interior screamed sensuality. Having been to Bocado several times and truly enjoying the meals each time, I was excited to see the menu which included dishes that were all new to me. To start, we enjoyed Jamon de Serrano and Manchego along with plenty of warm bagutette slices.  The nutty cheese was tasty, but not as flavorful as some Manchegos that I’ve had. It was improved when paired with the lean, salty ham and a bit of the quince
paste that accompanied the plate.

After the cheese course we were served three tapas: Tortilla Espanola, Pollo Asado con Naranja y Aceitunas, and Calamares Con Ajo.  The Tortilla Espanola came out first and it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. This dish was similar to a scalloped potato bound together with an egg mixture. The tapenade and red pepper creme fraiche served on top helped to add flavor to the otherwise bland dish. The braised chicken dish may have been my favorite of the night (and I’m not one to enjoy chicken on the bone).  The thighs were incredibly tender and the meat was deliciously moist. The orange flavor wasn’t ovewhelming but added a nice complexity to the dish.  Finally, a large bowl of fried Calamares Con Ajo arrived at the table. I’m not a fan of seafood, but I tried a few of the crispy rings. They were perfectly fried – not overly greasy but crunchy – and drizzled with a “garlic, lemon, parsley and orange horseradish cream” sauce. I didn’t taste orange or horseradish…lemon
was definitely the predominant flavor, which was too bad – some spice would have really made this dish above average.

At this point, our bellies were happily full and we still had two courses left!  I was disappointed to not see the vegetarian paella on the menu as there is at least one thing in the traditional and meat versions that I don’t enjoy. When the plates were delivered to the table, I was able to pick around the items I didn’t like to enjoy some of the tasty rice. The Paella Clasica is cooked in a seafood broth, so that one was not my favorite.  However, for seafood lovers, this was a hit – clams, mussels, chicken, shrimp, calamari, and chorizo were all mixed into this lively dish. The Paella de Carne included chicken, chorizo, veal, duck confit along with peppers and onions all cooked in a beef broth. I enjoyed the meat version and picked around what I thought was duck.  If i got some in my plate, I enjoyed it despite my preconceived notions!  I would have loved to see a bit of crispiness on the paella…one of the best parts of this dish is the soccarat (crispy rice) at the bottom of the paella pan, but there was none to be found.

The finale of the meal was Postres Churros y Chocolate, a fabulous dish of fried dough sticks with a bowl of dark chocolate dipping sauce. The churros are generously sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon while the chocolate is dark and not too sweet. The combination is simply delicious and it was a perfect way to end the night.

Overall, this was not one of my favorite meals at Bocado. I think a lot of that had to do with the dishes chosen not being the ones I would have chosen off of their extensive menu and I knew Bocado could do better. I did appreciate that it made me step outside of my comfort zone and try some dishes that I would not have ordinarily tried. I left full and content, and I will certainly be back to try some old favorites. -JM