Well, it is with much regret that I report that our inaugural meal at Amada last night was very disappointing. I'm actually VERY hesitant to post about it, but Vadouvan's latest thread has given me courage. And what the hell, I don't really know any of you personally.
First, I should say that everyone was very nice. Service was excellent. The design of the restaurant is lovely. The red sangria was delicious (we found the white a bit bland).
We opted for the $65/person tasting, as we figured that this would give the restaurant the opportunity to present its best work.
1. Gaspacho w/ the fried cheese ball on top. This was excellent. It was pretty much the only thing that I had that I would have wanted more of.
2. Serrano ham salad with spinach, blue cheese, figs, and some kind of pimenton encrusted nut. This was a fine salad. But the serrano had no taste, and that's, well, a big component of this sort of dish. This was surprising, as I spotted a couple of Redondo Iglesias 18 month hams (same sold at DiBurno's) hanging in the charcuteria area, and that's a fantastic ham, which we have all the time. This didn't taste like that.
3. Creamy tuna dip w/ flatbreads. This was unobjectionable, but didn't really do much for us.
4. Tortilla Espanola with Saffron Aioli. This was pretty heavy, and a bit dry. The saffron aioli was tasty enough. But a couple of small bites was enough to get the idea.
5. Garrotxa w/ garlic dulce de leche. The cheese was good, the garlic dulce de leche was, of course, extremely sweet, and detracted from the cheese, imho.
6. Beef shortribs flatbread. The flabread was very large. And it was very heavy, as cheesy short rib is bound to be. Didn't care for this. A couple of bites was enough.
7. Gambas al ajillo. These were good (how can shrimp in garlic and oil not be?) But I do remember the gambas al ajillo that we had in Spain being more overwhelmingly in your face flavorful.
8. Lamb chops stuffed w/ goat cheese in romesco sauce. We really needed a respite at this point, something light. Some simply prepared fish would have been wonderful. Lamb chops would have been wonderful too, again simply prepared. The goat cheese stuffing here was very unpleasant. I couldn't eat this. The combo just didn't work for me. My g/f managed to cut and scrape off the cheesy part and salvage some lamb.
9. Tenderloin w/ cabrales and foie gras. The tenderloin wasn't particularly tender. The foie was, I think, quite overcooked. The cabrales was a bit unwelcome in this context; yet more cheesy meat (see 2, 6, and 8), and, unfortunately, cabrales essence had leeched into the otherwise ok red wine sauce.
9. Blue foot and another kind of mushroom, in garlic and oil. This would have been fine in another context, but in this context, the mushrooms didn't have enough flavor to prevent the dish from seeming like just more heaviness, what w/ the oil.
10. Lobster a la plancha. Texture of the lobster was good; lobster itself didn't have any taste. The dish seemed to me like yet more garlic and oil. My g/f found it refreshing, but still not tasty.
I think a big problem was heaviness, cheesy meat on the one hand and garlicy oil on the other. I like these things just fine in moderation; this was too much, particularly the both of them in the same meal. Even apart from the issue of these dishes in combination, though, I don't think that, with the exceptoin of the gazpacho, anything individually was particularly, well, delicious.
So, there it is. Clearly a lot of folks love the food here. It goes without saying that this is merely the report of two people's experiences, with their particular tastes, over the course of merely one dinner. But perhaps it will serve as a warning to those thinking about the tasting menu who might, at the very least, find the above too heavy.
(You must understand that I am not a wimpy eater. Can't remember ever complaining about a meal being too heavy.)
now, we've spent a grand total of only 2 weeks in spain. but we absolutely loved the tapas that we had there, and that we've had in the us. perhaps what we had here was simply a certain style of tapas, which just isn't our cup of tea.
Oh, I opted for the wine pairings, which were, I think, quite good (and quite a good value), considering that each (there were 3 in total) had to be paired with several dishes. An albarino, a rioja, and a third that escapes me.