Friday, July 20, 2018

Del Mar

Del Mar from Fabio & Maria Trabocchi bring the flair and fare of coastal Spain to the District Wharf in celebration of their family traditions and tastes. The robust menu includes tapas, raw bar, charcoal grilled fish, seafood stews, and a variety of rice dishes.  The upscale casual restaurant is inviting with great food, yet lends to a more celebratory occasion with its high prices and flared cocktails.  Closest Metro is Southwest Waterfront.


We arrived for an early dinner on this hot summer night.  The downstairs was already packed with Happy Hour patrons, so we were seated upstairs in a more quiet room right next to the window.  We had initial regret and thought we should have sat outside at first, but soon after feeling the sun's heat through the window were happy to be inside and away from the direct heat.  So many items looked great on the menu, so we decided to stick to tapas for the night and chose a bottle of 2012 Celler Escoda-Sanahuja, La Llopetera, Pinot Noir from Catalon, Spain to accompany our meal.  It was leathery and smoky on the nose, and needed time to breathe.  Soon the cherry notes came forward and overall paired nicely with all the Spanish fare.


To start we enjoyed the chilled Atun Rojo with heirloom tomato consommé, citrus ponzu, and sea beans.  The tuna was fresh and the citrus gelée provided a lovely brightness to the dish.


With then nibbled on Chorizo Ibérico - 1 oz of cured sausage with smoked pimentón served with Pan de Cristal, Gilda of Piparras, anchovy & olives.  We ordered this with a plate of Spanish cheeses - Caña de Cabra Murcia (semi-soft goat cheese with bright citrus notes); Aged Manchego La Mancha (raw sheep's milk cheese aged one year); and Mahón Menorca (cow’s milk cheese, nutty and sharp) - served with Asturian chestnut honey, Membrillo & olive oil crackers.


Next, we ate the Pan con Tomate - Catalan crisp bread with tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil topped with extra Jamón Serrano.  The meat was like butter and was a decadent addition to the traditional bread.


Another favorite dish of the evening was the Pulpo a la Gallega - classic Galician style octopus with crushed potatoes and smoked pimentón.  The octopus was tender and had great char flavor.


The Andalusian Gambas al Ajillo were delicious Pink Key West Shrimp smothered in garlic, arbol chile, and parsley with chunks of bread.  The garlic was a bit overpowering, yet addictive.


I wanted another classic to round out the seafood and so we tried the Tortilla Espanola.  Their version of the Spanish potato omelette was studded with summer squash & blossoms, Garrotxa cheese, and topped with saffron aioli.


Lastly, our server highly recommended we try the Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with jumbo lump crab and sea urchin sauce.  So glad we did as this dish was lightly sweet and so elegant; an absolute gem.


Though pretty full, we still had a bit of wine left in our glasses and decided to make room for dessert.  We shared the Flan de Maria - vanilla custard with summer cherries and a marzipan tuile.  The cherry and vanilla went perfectly with our last sip of wine.

All in all we had a wonderful meal, yet we were left with a bit of sticker shock.  I would still like to return to try some of the larger entrees and the paella.  Nevertheless this chef and wife duo stuck true to their vision of transporting one to the Spanish coast, and really highlighted first-rate seafood with traditional preparations, colorful ingredients, and delicate spices.

Total Rating: 4.23
Food: 5, Price: 2, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 4.5

Del Mar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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