The only good thing about January in PA is Philly Restaurant Week. Lucky for us, the weather this year has been pretty mild and we (knock on wood) haven’t had too much snow. Our recent “good” weather allowed for an easy drive down into Old City Philadelphia to enjoy a tasting of authentic Spanish Tapas from Amada.
Amada is Iron Chef America’s Jose Garces’ first restaurant and this was my first time dining there. This special occasion was the perfect time to have a double date with my favorite foodie-friend, Allie and her boyfriend Jay. Allie and her adorable blog, are what inspired me to start my own! Allie and I have been talking for a while now about trying to co-write a post, so we thought our unbelievable tapas feast at Amada would be a great time to try it out.
For the restaurant week menu, each person was allowed to choose two first courses, two second courses, and one dessert. In typical food-blogger/foodie fashion, Allie and I made the decision for the table that we were going to get different dishes and share them all!
Before even getting to the menu, we had to try out one of the famous seasonal sangrias.
Beth: as a new wine drinker, I went with the Blanco Sangria. It was loaded with chunks of apples, pears, and oranges. It was sweet and so easy to drink. What was really interesting was there was a small sprig of rosemary floating on top.
Allie: I tried the Tinto, Spiced Red Wine withOrange, Apple & Cinnamon. It was perfectly sweet and refreshing yet warmed me up with each sip!
Beth: My favorite first course was the Garlic Shrimp. The shrimp dish is served in a little ceramic pot which is cooking the shrimp as the server brings it out to the table. Needless to say, the shrimp were PERFECTLY cooked- something I rarely do well. The broth was super garlicky and had a little kick with some red pepper flakes in there too.
Allie: I was actually surprised by the croquetas de jamon and how amazingly flavorful they were! They were crispy on the outside and soft and savory in the middle. I’m pretty sure there was mustard mixed in with the ham, which made it a little spicy! Then it was served on top of a red pepper spread, which I was wishing there was more of!
Beth: the Serrano Ham came with a side of Bread, Cornichons (those itty-bitty baby pickles), French Dijon, and Caperberries. Caperberries were basically giant capers so they paired really well with the sweetness of the Prosciutto-like Serrano Ham.
Allie: Unlike any cheese you’ve tried at a restaurant, garrotxa cheese came out on a board with garlic dulce de leche, bread and sliced apple. Yes, garlic dulce de leche! This dish was simple yet the flavors all came together for a serious party in your mouth.
Beth: The Serrano Ham dish just wasn’t enough ham for us, so we had to choose the Melón Con Jamón plate. Not only does this dish RHYME, but it tasted fantastic! It is unusual for fruit to be the star of a dish, but this melon gave this jamón a run for its money! I was not suspecting such huge, fresh, juicy chunks of melon, let alone the sweet sauce that was drizzled on top. Sweet and salty is my favorite combination and the balance of the two were just perfect in this plate.
Allie: Escalivada was fantastic. It came with small toasted pieces of bread spread with creamy, tangy goat cheese and roasted veggies. I’m a sucker for roasted veggies and the eggplant was phenomenal!!
Beth: With all the protein we had ordered, Dahv suggested we get something green… and green it was! The Ensalada Verde dish was a chopped green salad with asparagus and avocado. It was light and delicate but loaded with flavor.
Allie: The tortilla espanola was probably the most unique dish we tried. It was a small cake that had the consistency of a tamale and polenta. It was very dense but once you took a bite it was creamy and buttery.
WHEW! Can you believe that was all just the “first course”?? I am starting to REALLY like tapas! If you were salivating at the dishes we described so far, just wait until you hear about our second course choices…
Beth: The Madre e Hijo makes the ranks of one of my favorite chicken dishes EVER!! The chicken was perfectly juicy, tender, and loaded with flavor. What makes this dish even more special is that the chicken breast is locally farmed, which is true of many ingredients at Amada. And what a great idea, putting a fried egg on top! MMM!
Allie: The chicken brochette was a decision that we kind of guessed about but it was a great addition to our meal. I enjoyed the simplicity of the chicken and how perfectly it was grilled. And of course I enjoyed the lemony sauce it came with.
Beth: We just couldn’t resist trying both flatbreads… the Gambas Con Garbanzos Coca was so light and crispy! The presentation of this flatbread with shrimp, chorizo, & garbanzo bean puree was simple yet colorful, with the shrimp cooked in a bright green pesto. The unexpected cheese that wasn’t described on the menu looked so good that I had to break my month of “No-Cheese” diet to have a small piece. It was worth it!
Allie: The other flatbread we tried was Costillas de Ternera Coca, beef shortrib flatbread with horseradish, parmesan and bacon. I’m a huge fan of flatbread because who doesn’t like crisp little bites topped with savory toppings!? This reminded me almost of a cheesesteak with the meat and cheese and then the hit of horseradish at the end really left your taste buds dancing.
Beth: The group thought this one sounded so good that we decided to order TWO… of the Lubina Al Pescador: a roasted Sea Bass with potatoes, arbequina olives, served with preserved lemon and salsa verde. This plate was a great example of why Sea Bass is always my favorite fish! I loved the light, fresh flavors that the lemon and salsa brought to the dish.