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pedro

Gaztelupe

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Many times we food lovers strive to get the most sophisticated meals in town, with the most challenging dishes. Well, after a few of these meals, there's time to go back to the roots.

Gaztelupe, a basque restaurant in Madrid where I introduced myself to the fine art of dining out years ago (seems ages). Run by Jesús Santos, who also handles the Goizeko Wellington in the Hotel Wellington at Velazquez St, Goizeko Kabi just in front of Gaztelupe, a joint in San Sebastián de los Reyes (a suburb a few miles from Madrid), and the original Goizeko Kabi in Bilbao, that's been mentioned in some threads. Of all of them, Gaztelupe is the one which offers the most traditional dishes, not meaning with that the occasional wink to other type of dishes is not present.

So, Sunday at 14:00, not much food in the fridge, and wanting something simple and straightforward. About an hour later, we started sharing a tuna carpaccio salad, excellent even though tuna season has not yet started, and guiso de callos y morros (tripe and snout). This dish uses tomato in the sauce, I believe, which is also used in Catalonia to cook tripe, whereas in Madrid I would almost swear that tomatoes are omitted. I think I prefer the Madrid version, since it hasn't the slightly sweet taste that the others have. Nevertheless, bread was heavily soaked in the sauce. You'll imagine the rest.

Mar continued with changurro al horno, which is king crab meat in a tomato based sauce presented in its own shell. Always a sure bet. I opted for a churro milk-fed roasted lamb, with a luscious white meat, that you could get without using the knife. No wool taste at all, a flaw that unfortunately is not uncommon.

Apple pie au Calvados, a very good teja, and that was it.

The wine list has been very much improved by Gerardo, and it has a quite good selection of many winemaking regions from all over Spain. We had a Cariñena wine, Care, which would have been much more interesting if not for the excess of alcoholic notes.

Simple pleasures. Why not?


Edited by pedro (log)

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You wouldn't believe just how much the wine list has been upgraded lately... :biggrin:

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Víctor, I knew the old Gaztelupe's wine list (Goizeko Kabi's wasn't much better either). What can I say, it's wonderful to see these improvements and how a sumiller grows in a restaurant you appreciate!

It's easy to forgive the minor typos regarding wines of obscure regions... Salya, Salia, not easy to distinguish, right?

PS: Anything to say about the use of tomatoes in tripes recipes in different spanish regions?

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There are two schools of thought and action regarding tripe and snout in Spain, it would appear: with tomato (a la vizcaína, or Basque-style, which also includes 'choricero' peppers, or a la catalana) or without tomato (a la madrileña and a la gallega, which also includes chick peas). I'm not knowlegdeable enough to say which is the superior one...

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I've been wondering since Sunday where also I recently had some tripes with tomato in the sauce. Since I recently went to Mallorca, I thought it could have been there, because of the influence of Catalonian cuisine. But no, it wasn't in Mallorca! It was in El Bohío. Now I have to live with the doubt of whether in Toledo is customary the use of that ingredient with tripes or not. I must say that I'm surprised, since Toledo is quite close to Madrid, and El Bohío even closer.


Edited by pedro (log)

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I don't think Pepe is thinking of sticking closely to local tradition when cooking at El Bohío. He's a great talent, and I'm sure if he uses tomato with tripe it must work splendidly!

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Indeed it does! And though he's not sticking 100% to local tradition, I believe that it's very present in his cooking, something that I appreciate.

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I'm revisiting this old thread on account of a recent visit to Goizeko Wellington, part of the Goizeko Gaztelupe group, earlier this month. Even though we were headed to Basque country the next day, the restaurant had been recommended by someone whose judgment I trust, and we were in the mood for seafood and something a little more traditional before doing more of the alta cocina thing in San Sebastian. It was a very pleasant meal rooted in Basque traditions but with some contemporary flair.

We started with percebes (goose barnacles), something I'd never tried before. Despite the price, I was glad we did. Our server didn't even smirk when we stared at them slightly baffled after they were delivered to our table, instead he quickly deduced that we'd never had them before and (1) fetched bibs; and (2) showed us how to eat them. Bending the tube part from both sides like you're trying to break a pencil ("abajo!" our waiter cautioned me before spraying myself with its juices) yielded a little nubbin of meat that was just slightly springy and resilient (less than a clam, more like a cooked mushroom) and tasted just like the essence of the sea. These were a real revelation and the highlight of the meal for us.

I followed the percebes with an app that was a variation on an ensaladilla rusa, turned into croquetas and spiked with some herring roe which added a light seafood note and interesting texture. I have an unexplainable fondness for salad rusa, so this hit the spot for me. Mrs. F had a lobster salad which brought a whole claw, extracted from the shell, over a bed of nice greens, with the dressing in part in the form of a lightly gelled sherry vinaigrette on the bottom of the plate.

For a main I had pochas y almejas, a classic combination of clams and white beans, which was absolutely delicious. The seafood brine of the clams had completely permeated the beans and their thick stew. This was simple, hearty and satisfying, my only gripe being the dearth of clams (less than a half-dozen to a big bowl of beans). Mrs. F had grilled calamares that were wonderfully fresh and perfectly grilled.

We had a Txakoli with dinner that was recommended by the sommelier when I told him my fondness for these Basque whites, and unfortunately I can't recall the producer. The wine, which had a few years bottle age on it (I had never even considered Txakoli as remotely age-worthy) traded the spritzy freshness of a new Txakoli for an intruiging salinity, while still having that bracingly palate-refreshing acidity. The wine list (the whites, anyway, where I was looking given our seafood-centric ordering) happily was chock full of options in the € 30-40 range.

For dessert we split "chocolate y naranja en texturas" which satisfied a long-standing food memory for me of Baskin-Robbins Mandarin Chocolate Sherbert. The gelato in this dish (which was balanced on a sheet of dark chocolate flavored with orange, which itself was balanced over a lighter chocolate mousse ringed with crunchy bits, along with some candied orange peel, etc.) was, flavor-wise, a dead ringer for this childhood favorite.

More info on our visit here.

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It's curious: if I had to single out the most widely preferred Madrid restaurant among my French friends, it would probably be Goizeko Wellington, which to them has just about the right combination of 'cuisine de terroir' and a few modern winks.

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