We had the singular pleasure of dining with fellow food blogger, Devaki, from Weave a Thousand Flavors, and her delightful husband at this remarkable Spanish-inspired place, Estadio, in Washington D. C. over the winter holidays. D had researched it extensively and was completely excited by the chef, the menu and I think the company. After a truly memorable lunch here, we were too.
The web site says the restaurant is in the Logan Circle neighborhood. Of course, since I’m from San Francisco, that’s like speaking in a foreign language to me. It was vaguely near U Street and 14th, which I only recall because we went on a bar crawl around there the night before with Hegui’s niece, Juliana, and our friends, Callie and Elizabeth. It was pouring rain the day we lunched at Estadio, but that didn’t keep us from feeling warm and snug inside.
The interior has a stunning design which I can only characterize as “Spanish fantasy.” There were the usual dramatic tiles and cast iron metal work, uncomfortable dark rustic wooden chairs, and large TV screens showing various Iberian soccer matches, of course. The bathrooms were fun, displaying a sexy-comic stereotypically fierce heterosexist vibe: in the Men’s was a huge floor-to-ceiling image of what looked like a scantily clad female model; and in the Ladies’, some shirtless soccer players flying the colors of Spain. I wish I’d taken a picture.
It was not particularly crowded at 12:30PM on a Tuesday just after Christmas, though I can only imagine that it gets packed. They’ve an extensive wine and cocktail list, which unfortunately we really couldn’t explore as we planned to go to the National Gallery of Art post meal. It would be worth it to go back some evening to try the drinks.
Since everything’s basically tapas-style, we ordered lots of small and medium sized plates and more-or-less shared it all. As we ate, we got to know one another better, and I hope, began lasting friendships.
First to arrive were the Cantabrian anchovies in olive oil with some bread. In a word: delicious. In short order we enjoyed the smoked salmon with yoghurt and honey open-faced sandwich; the amazing bacalao crudo with jalapeño, avocado, orange and olive oil; grilled octopus with potato and caper salad; and the Rhode Island calamari a la Plancha with salsa verde.
Next we tried the lovely sherry glazed halibut with smoky Romesco and scallops with roasted cauliflower and salbitxada. We had sides of grilled scallions with more Romesco and Idiazábal and fiery sautéed red kale with garlic, sherry and chili flakes.
This perfect repast ended on the sweet, as we shared an order of the unusual and tasty Manchego cheesecake with quince and pistachio granola.
The service was attentive but not hurried. As I’ve already alluded to, the ambience was super. This is a restaurant that we would definitely visit again. You Washingtonians are lucky. Thanks for treating us to Estadio, Devaki and Shamit!