Monday, February 18, 2013

Amada - Tapas Trophies in Philly

Exiting the train station and entering the heart of Philadelphia felt really good. Hobbling along with a sprained knee, husband holding my hand, and my friend Jessica, visiting from California, leading the way as Philly's out of state tour guide extraordinaire felt even better. We were in the city, and cared not about the freezing cold spearing our necks. We were taking the town by storm, one eat and drink at a time from the burger and cask flights at The Dandelion Pub to drinks at Franklin & Mortgage Investment Co. The pinnacle, was, of course Amada and its $55 tasting menu. Chef Jose Garces's empire is here, amassing 8 restaurants in the city of brotherly love with Amada being the big brother of the bunch. The scene is not your usual casual tapas - it's sleek and chic with a well-trained service staff. It's a night out. A special occasion like having a friend in town and my husband landing a job. 

We started off with creamy tuna-caper "salsa" drizzled with balsamic (above). It screamed tuna pang fulfillment. The rest goes as follows: 

Some artiseanal Spanish olives

Aged Manchego with truffled lavender honey, El Cantu with sherry caramel, and Cana de Cabra with fig and cherry marmalade. The crowd favorite was the El Cantu in all its sharp, nutty, crystallized glory. 

Ensalada Verde: green salad, asparagus, avocados, green beans and fava. Something I could eat every day. Just pure refreshments with richness from the avocado and fava. 

Let's be honest, I am no beef eater. I usually pass on it or give it to my little brother or husband. But these wagu beef brochettes with royal trumpet mushrooms turned me into a believer. Hands down, the trophy winner tapa of the night. 

Gambas al Ajillo was also memorable in terms of sweet, just-barely cooked shrimp and abundance of addicting garlic. It is necessary to ask for extra bread to mop up the juices. 

Habas al la Catalana, a mix of warm favas and limas spiked with mustard seeds proved to be a hearty vegetarian dish with mellow, earthly flavors shinning through. 

Another trophy winner was setas - chantarelles massaged in a sexy parsley olive oil.  

Tortilla Española with saffron aioli equates to luxurious comfort at its finest. 

The last course was the Madre E Hijo, sous vide chicken breast (sous vide is a cooking style pioneered by Cuisine Solutions), fried egg, mojama and truffles. I am not much of a chicken eater, but this changed my mind - fork tender chicken, runny yolk, and truffles? How can you not. 

Dessert was a rich chocolate sorbet with arroz con leche - rice pudding with pine nuts and figs. We were beyond full, and the rice pudding would have been more appreciated as a light breakfast the next day. 

Overall the tasting menu at Amada explores some of the best traditional Spanish tapas with a few twists. No complaints and a bargain of a tasting menu. Everything consumed was spectacular and my husband and I are heading back for the more daring Chef's selection next time!

217 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA


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Gastronomer said...

I regret never trying Amada when I lived in Philly! I'm glad to hear you had a good experience :)

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