Having been to 5 restaurants in 5 days, we needed a bit of a change of pace from our fine dining spree. We wanted tapas, and we still wanted something to write about (literally). We have been to several of Chef Garces’ restaurants in Philly, and tasted his unbelievable tacos at the Scottsdale Taco Festival last fall (fois gras and wagyu beef tacos???!!!) – all of his food is good, and some is great. Amada was consistent with Chef Garces – there was good food, and then some great food.
We kept to the lighter side of the menu, but still had enough different tastes to get a pretty accurate taste of Jose Garces’ downtown spot. It was crowded (we did have a reservation, thankfully), a bit loud, but certainly hoping. For a Sunday night, we were impressed – and the crowd was young, and hip (so we almost didn’t fit in). The bar scene alone was worth the trip. We’d would love to see this place on a Friday or Saturday night.
Wines by the glass were somewhat limited, but interesting – mostly Spanish, of course. Also, quite overpriced, one of our big pet peeves. Dishes not to miss: white anchovies, lamb meatballs, Ensalada de jamon (salad wrapped with serrano ham), Spanish flatbread.
The Ensalada de jamon was the best dish of the night: salad greens were mixed with diced dried Spanish figs, spiced almonds, Cabrales, and a balanced vinaigrette. This was all wrapped in imported serrano ham. You can see it was an unusual preparation – our only complaint is that the dish is hard to divide up without spilling the contents over the table.
The lamb meatballs were perfect, light orbs or sheep-y wonder – a wonderful infusion of flavors while maintaining simplicity.
(Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor)
The flatbreads sounded like the most interesting combinations on the menu, and we had a hard time to pick (take a look at their menu at http://amadarestaurant.com/pdf/amada_dinner.pdf). We chose the beef shortribs with horseradish, Parmesan cheese, and bacon. It was a good choice, but they needed a bit more meat, and needed to be better distributed. But the crust was perfect – a true test of a good pizza or flatbread.
We did save room for dessert – the apple tart with sheep’s cheese and roasted apple sherbert, and the Moca (chocolate torte, vanilla mousse, and coffee butterscotch sauce). Both were plated perfectly – the Moca was nicely balanced, and the apple tart was mundane at best. We were looking for a bit more creativity in flavors and textures.
All in all, this was a lot of fun – which is what we’re all about. So, we will recommend Amada.