La Cesta de Recoletos (Madrid, Spain)

Although I am in Madrid, mediocre and bad food is abundant, just as it is an any city.  The “smaller bites” here, like a quick bit of jamon iberico or a lovely pastry, are actually quite delicious.  But finding the right tapas or recoletos has been a very difficult feat.  A friend of mine from Madrid decided we go out to a place in Salamanca called La Cesta de Recoletos.  Ah, finally an (almost) Michelin-worthy meal.

A few minor complaints.  First, the service sucked. 45 minutes from the time we were seated to when a beverage crossed my lips. Just one of many other issues that bugged me.  Second, there was no music in the place.  Fortunately I had 15 friends dining with me.  Third, the floating lamps were just annoying.  Finally, some of the dishes were not executed quite up to the level that I would expect, but it was still pretty damn good.

Ciervo carpaccio | Deer carpaggio

Huevos rotos con jamon | Scrambled eggs with ham

Tartar de salmon | Salmon tartare

Jamón ibérico de bellota arturo sánchez y pan con tomate | Cured ham served with tomato brushed bread

Cecina de León con aceite arbequina y pan con tomate | Cured Ox meat with olive oil and tomato brushed bread

Terrina de foie-gras con chutney de pera y jengibre | Exquisite foie micuit with pear and ginger chutney

Tosta de burrata con tomate, aceitunas de Kalamata y rúcula | Burrata Crostini: cheese on toast with tomato, rocket and Kalamata olives

Tortilla de patata y cebolla hechas con huevos de corral | Traditional omelette of free-range eggs and onion

Lomo de merluza con compota de berenjena ahumada | Hake fillet with finely mashed potato and smoked oil

And my personal favorite, one of the best dishes I have tried all year:

Arroz de cochas de bacalao – Cheeks of cod rice mixed fresh vegetables 

Yes, yes. That last dish was simply perfect. Fresh, flavorful, perfect.