Thursday, July 19, 2012
Tapas bar in the City - Contigo Kitchen + Cava
I made the reservation but with another restaurant in mind, for Incanto and not for Contigo. No wonder Mijo kept saying going to Contigo was a great idea because it is close by from Toad Hall, our happy hour venue, and Contigo this and Contigo that. Incanto is on Church St and so it would take at least five to 10 minutes to get there from Toad Hall. The names are too similar - Contigo and Incanto. So can you now see how I made the mistake?
We've been to both restaurants before and it was only our second time to Contigo. It is still the same good tapas and wine bar we remember minus the multitude of people and long lines. If we had enjoyed it the first time, we enjoyed it all the more on Friday.
Pardon me for a very dark photos but I am sure you'll get the idea of what the food looks like. :)
Just like any other places in the city, the tapas bar is cramped. There is a long bar by the entrance next to the kitchen and there is another bar inside next to the dining hall. There is also an outdoor patio covered by a clear tarp so diners are protected from the elements. The place has minimal lighting which I think creates a sophisticated mood but that made it quite challenging for me to take photos discreetly. The crowd is an eclectic mix which mirrors the Noe Valley neighborhood. I should also say friendly.
I love tripe. I don't usually see Mijo jumping for joy when sees tripe on the menu so I was surprised when he suggested we order the Tripe with chorizo and chickpeas. On the first sampling, he even mentioned that he'd eat lots of tripe if it is cooked this way. The sauce is thick and has a tomato base with a hint of spice. We decided to pair it with a carafe of red Ribera Del Duero crianza by Vina Sastre. Such a wonderful pairing! For our starch, we ordered Patates Braves or potatoes with allioli and salsa brava. This one has a hint garlic and also of spice. Eventhough the dish is served on a small plate, the serving for this one may be good to be shared by three people.
For our seafood, we decided to get two pieces of their Croqueta de Bacalao or house cured salt cod croquete with allioli. I was surprised that this is not too salty though the croquete were so hot, as in warm hot. Be careful and don't burn yourself when you order this. There is a mild crunch on the crust and very soft inside it is almost on the creamy consitency.
For dessert, we also shared this churros with Barcelona style Tcho hot chocolate. The chocolate is not sweet at all which blends perfectly well with the crunchy sugarry churros. We came to Contigo for the first time a couple of weeks after it had just opened and I remember we enjoyed the experience while we sat by the bar.
We enjoyed coming here once again and we got a table this time. We knew better to call ahead of time to make a reservation. Rafa, our Spanish server, was friendly and very attentive.