Thursday, April 12, 2007
By now everyone knows about Amada. Chef Jose Garces (right) is about to open his third concept in Philly and Amada is all of a sudden the seasoned veteran in his arsenal of nuevo latino restaurants. So while the fire cools, it's the perfect time to sample the tapas style menu which is conducive to our goal of eating on the cheap. And now that it's finally warming up, a glass of sangria and some small plates to share are the perfect complement. The first time we went to Amada about a year and half ago we couldn't resist all of the tasty items on the menu and with clever persuasion by the charming waitstaff we soon ran up a hefty bill and a bursting gut. Now, having returned a few times with some experience, we know how to get the most for our buck.
It turned out to be a warm evening and a generous glass of sangria to start was just the right thing. If you're into white wine, try the Santa Rita 2005 Sauvignon Blanc which has nice acid and hints of unripe peaches. For red, try the Dominio de Tares 2004 which gives a lot of bang for the buck - one of the most interesting wines you'll try, it's a full red with a nice smooth finish and pairs well with many of the savoury items on the menu.
We started our meal with a cheese plate, the cana de cabra, which is served with a fig and cherry marmelade. For lover's of montrachet this is a simimlar cheese made from goat's milk. The sweet marmelade is a nice addition to this creamy and tart cheese. Next we ordered the jamon serrano with melon - salty and sweet never disappoints! Our third and final plate was the campesino which is a skirt steak served over a frisee salad with apoached egg and chorizo migas. We devoured every last crumb of this! The contrast of hearty steak and eggs with the light frisee is wonderful - a little hint of smokiness and spice from the chorizo is the perfect touch and this dish left us craving more.
The damage with a more than fair tip came to just under $50 for two. With so many items to choose from it's easy to mix and match and share to compose a meal and the waitstaff is more than helpful in making the best selection for your taste. So in light of our first venture being a success, go out and try Amada as the weather improves and we promise you won't be left with empty pockets and you definitely won't be disappointed!
Tips: make reservations long in advance for the weekend, keep in mind that the late night crowd is noisy so go early if you value quiet conversation, and every Wednesday and Friday there is live Flamenco music and dance. Take advantage of the staff - they know their food, wines, and they are down to earth.