Restaurant Week: Taberna Alabardero, Washington

For our introductory Restaurant Week experience, Jay and I (really I) decided to go to Taberna Alabardero. We chose this place because it looked like a restaurant that we might not otherwise decide to go to, and by “decide to go to” I mean “afford to go to.”

This being our first Restaurant Week ever, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. I knew the concept of restaurant week: restaurants prepared pre fix menus for a set price and one generally lower than a normal course at the restaurant. We wanted to experience a finer restaurant at a low price, but realistically I knew that wherever we went probably couldn’t pull out the full stops for a Restaurant Week course.

That being said, I was very excited to try Alabardero. I had reviewed the website and had an idea of the food to be served, but I tried really hard not to make a food decision before arriving at the restaurant. Even though I had done a little bit of research on the place, simply walking into the restaurant was an experience in and of itself. I don’t have any photos of this trip, but if you want an idea of the interior you can check out the link above. Nevertheless, these pictures don’t do the place justice. It reminded me of walking into a very old hotel, with the red walls and the molding and the gilding and apointments. It was very grand, but not obsurdly so, and it definitely wasn’t stuffy. Jay and I sat in sort of a side room next to a large glass wine case. The room also had a limited view of the kitchen, which I unfortunately didn’t notice until after I sat down (my back was to the kitchen the entire time, and I would have loved to have actually looked into the kitchen).

For my appetizer I had the scallops with fresh strawberries and english peas. Peas are one of my absolute least favorite foods of all time, but the richness of the scallops and the sweetness of the strawberries really actually made them nice. I wasn’t super impressed by the dish, and for a fine restaurant it was pretty ho-hum, but I reminded myself that it was restaurant week.

My main course was absolutely phenomenal and I just couldn’t pass it up once I read it on the menu: roasted baby goat. It was rich but paired nicely with the roasted squash and vegetables that acted as a bed for the goat. There was also A LOT of it. The meat itself was so tender and not gamey at all. After this baby goat and an exquisite baby lamb at MAS tapas bar in Charlottesville, I am becoming convinced that baby animals are more delicious than their adult counterparts. The roasted goat was topped with one of my favorite things, fried leeks, and the crunchyness of the leeks paired well with the almost creamy tenderness of the goat. I don’t remember Jay’s main course, but I remember liking mine better.

For dessert I chose macerated berries in vinegar with a yogurt foam. I’ve had foams before that have always been very airy, but this was more like yogurt with a bit of air fluffed into it. Needless to say, the berries were very good and a nice lighter course after the heavy goat. I was a little concerned with my choice when I put the first spoonfull of berries into my mouth, because it just tasted like berries and cream, but when I got towards the bottom and started to get more of the vinegar with the berries, all of the flavors melded very well together and complemented each other nicely. Jay chose the rice pudding, which was nice and creamy but also had a nice and soft viscosity to it. I’ve actually never had rice pudding, always bread pudding, and this was a nice change.

Overall, our Restaurant Week dinner was a chance to get a good meal at a fine restaurant without paying the fine price, but the cheaper cost necessarily came with a cut in quality. Probably the best part of the meal was actually eating in this wonderful restaurant. I felt like a little kid who lied about her age and got to go to the fancy place, even though everyone knew I was just a little kid. Although I had a good experience, I don’t think Restaurant Week is really for me, and next time I might just save up so I can have the full-blown experience of the regular menu.

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