Restaurant: La Terraza
Location: Madrid Spain
Date: June 29, 2010
Cuisine: Molecular Spanish Gastronomy
We spent the month of June in Spain and this included a legion of fantastic meals. Recently I covered a traditional Spanish place (REVIEW HERE), but La Terraza is radical modern Molecular Gastronomy, similar to the stellar Calima (REVIEW HERE), or LA’s — believe it or not — more restrained Bazaar (REVIEW HERE). Modern Spanish was reinvented at El Bulli in the Northeast corner of Spain. As we weren’t exactly in the vicinity, and didn’t have the impossible to get reservation, we had to make due with La Terraza whose chef, Paco Roncero, cooked at El Bulli for years. In fact, there is still some form of association.
A special cart prepares signature liquid nitrogen cocktails.
“Passion, mint, and coffee, nitro.” The frozen drink is shoved back into the passionfruit. The combo sounds weird, but it was delicious. I love passionfruit.
The menu. This is the “regular” tasting menu. They also customized a vegetarian and fish version for my wife.
Parker gives this 94. “Clos Mogador is produced by the esteemed Rene Barbier who has hit homeruns in both 2003 and 2004. For starters, the 2003 Clos Mogador, a dark ruby/purple-colored wine, offers an impressive nose of toast and smoke, earth, charcoal, and blue fruits. It is dense, layered, and very concentrated with the structure for 6-8 years of additional bottle age.”
The all white decor was pretty cool — shoved in here in a 19th century casino.
We begin with a whole series of amuses. This is “Olive Oil Butter.” A little crisp is filled with clover.
Then the butter is squeezed out of the little tube and then enjoyed.
“Polenta crisps.” A little like corn puffs.
“Popcorn nutty cake” and “Meringued Peanut.” The cake had a texture like dust, but it tasted like popcorn! The peanut tasted like peanut butter, but the texture was… well… meringue.
“Cut of Parmesan.” The outside was light and crunchy, the center had texture like ice cream, but the flavor of Parmesan. Fun and delicious. As you can tell from these playful amuses, a common characteristic of this cuisine is the playful interplay of unexpected textures and flavors.
“Cod Kokotxas in pil-pil.”
“Liquid ham croquet.” The ham and cheese croquet is a classic Spanish dish. This deconstructed version is a ham and cheese sphere with bready crumbles. The cheese popped in the mouth.
This is one of vegetarian substitutions. “Deconstructed Waldorf Salad.”
Check out the insides.
“Scallops, beetroot, and yogurt.” The beet is in sorbet form.
“Salmon marinated in miso with cucumber, pineapple, and fennel salad.” This has a relationship perhaps to the Nobu “miso marinated cod.”
One of the special substitutions, a fish with mushrooms.
“Oyster tartar.” Raw marinated oyster bits with a little pile of foam.”
The substitution. A bit of fish with a vegetable risotto.
“Extruded fois gras ‘noodles’ with green apple sorbet.” As fois gras is typically served with apples this is a rather unusual variant. The fois seems to have been deep frozen with nitro and extruded into little noodle like shapes. Fois is always tasty.
“Pesto Gnocchis and baby squids.” Very interesting mix of textures and flavors.
Afterward, it resembles modern art.
“Asparagus tips, almond soup, crayfish, and summer truffle.”
The almond soup. The soup is traditional. You can see the white asparagus tips. This was a really nice dish.
“Grouper with green bean cream.”
A different fish with cucumber “noodles.”
“Waygu with Iberian pork ravioli.” Rich and meaty!
“Violet, ‘madrorflo,’ strawberries and aniseed.” The red dust like stuff was like frozen sweet strawberry dust.
“Olive and citric ravioli with frozen chocolate dust.”
“Liquid bailies bombo.”
“Peach Palet,” “Alter eight tile,” and “Air biscuit.”
Spain won the world cup semi-final and the streets went crazy with honking cars.