Tabelog hosted another press dinner with a collection of about 30 NYC food bloggers, influential instagrammers and publication writers. This time the event kicked off at Andanada, a Spanish tapas joint on the upper west side.
Michelin rated chef Manuel Berganza popped off a string of really tasty bites in this multi-course tapas tasting in a rustic yet upscale setting that elevates tavern food to the fine-dining level.
Since there’s a lot to talk about, I’m just going to get right down to business and tell you what we ate. Read on:
First was this shot of warm butternut squash cream. It was velvety smooth, but I think it could have used just a small hit of salt.
This cleverly displayed flower pot of purple endive was a nice fresh snack. Endive is traditionally served before or after meals to aid in digestion. It was served with a blue cheese spread.
Next was this little manchego cheese stuffed “puff” airbag of flatbread that included a little hit of quince fruit jam as well. Beautiful presentation and a delicious bite!
Table bread consists of a very nice foccacia style bread (but without the annoying herbs and oily toppings). This was addicting!
This next item was one of my favorites of the night. It was a soft boiled quail egg served on a fried potato nest with chicken liver pate. SO DELICIOUS! The crunch of the potato nest, the ooze of the egg yolk and the richness of the pate made for a really dynamic bite.
These little guys are creamy mushroom duxelle croquettes with a marinated mushroom cap on top. They burst with flavor!
These are potatoes. My guess is something like fingerling, since the shape is small and round. They’re fried to a crisp and then served with three sauces: a garlic aioli, a spicy sauce and a sweet sauce. I preferred the aioli (also went nicely on the bread), but I think the potatoes could have benefited from a hit of salt right after they came out of the fryer.
Next was fried (but not heavily breaded) calamari with eggplant mousse. The calamari was incredibly tender and perfectly cooked. The eggplant I could skip, because I am generally not a fan of eggplant, but I did like the texture of the mousse much better than the flesh of the actual vegetable itself.
My other favorite dish was this octopus terrine, which was served over whipped potato foam and broccoli rabe puree. SO TENDER. This went fast and seemed to be a favorite with everyone else as well. I considered asking for a second plate.
These fried artichokes don’t look glamorous, but they taste great. They were crispy outside, soft inside and nicely accented with shaved manchego cheese and a cream sauce.
Another great item was the salmon tartare potato salad. In addition to the raw diced salmon on top, there was peas, salmon roe, hard boiled egg and (obviously) potato within. Very interesting take on traditional salmon tartare.
A Spanish classic is “albondigas,” or meatballs. These were accompanied by pickled celery, carrot puree and trinxat: a mashed potato item typically married with cabbage and pork.
Another big crowd pleaser, and staple Spanish classic, is paella. This seafood paella was our final savory course. It had a great crispy texture to the rice, from sticking to the bottom of the pan while cooking. It came with clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp and fish. Very nicely executed.
The first dessert I tasted was this caramelized egg yolk flan with citrus gel, green apples and dried meringue. The texture was super smooth and creamy. If you’re a fan of custards, you’ll love this.
The other dessert was my favorite of the two: almond cake with raspberries and olive oil gelato. This was perfect for me. It wasn’t too sweet to the point of being overpowering, and the cake was moist without being too dense. The gelato was a great accent to a great cake. I highly recommend this if you’re undecided on dessert.
To sum up, I haven’t been to that many tapas places. Maybe half a dozen over the course of my adulthood? Maybe ten? While I am no expert, I think this comes in on the upper end of the few that I’ve tried to date. This joint is located near my apartment as well, so I’m sure I’ll be back again soon.