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Restaurant Review: Cúrate, Asheville, NC

I guess this is what we call in the states a "tapas bar," even though what we had were probably more like "media-raciones" than tapas. All-in-all, a thumbs up. The food was good, the wine was good, and I would go back. I appreciate going to a place where, instead of everybody getting their own plate, we can share everything.

We had patatas bravas (fried potatoes with hot sauce). These were as good as any I've had in Spain, fried potatoes covered with two sauces, one dark and one light (since it was probably cut with mayonnaise). Tangy, spicy: just right.

We had gambas al ajillo (shirmp in garlic sauce). More complex than any I've had in Spain. Garlic, olive oil, chili pepper, bay leaf, and one other herb, perhaps thyme. In Spain they would typically be prepared with just garlic and olive oil. Very nice

We had "espinacas a la catalana" (Spinach, Catalonian style). Never had this before. It was wonderful. In general, I'm not a fan of mixing apple with savory foods, but this works. The spinach was lightly sauteed in olive oil with pieces of apple and pine nuts.

The jamón serrano (Spanish cured ham) was good, but can the restaurant really take credit? They just sliced and presented it nicely.

The pincho moruno (shish-kabob) was good. The lamb was cooked perfectly. I'm wondering, though, if I could make a better rub and sauce. I think I could.

We had "bitufarra con monjetes." (Catalonian sausage with white beans). The sausage was good, but the beans were too dry. The ali-oli (with a little mustard I think) was nice.

A question: if you can get a fried squid sandwich, why can't you get a ration of calamares? In Spain, any bar has better calamares that the fanciest restaurants in the states. At least in my experience. I need to put my theory to the test. Can a restaurant in the states make good fried calamares? My only other complaint, overall, is that they're parsimonious with the bread.

My yen for Spanish food is such that I will one day return. It wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be. And I appreciate being able to get a glass of manzanilla (dry sherry from Sanlúcar de Barrameda).



October 2018



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