Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pulpo in Cleveland Park

          Speaking of tapas, Ms. Classy and I usually don’t consider this dining style because, we do enjoy the variety of flavors, but are bummed when the bill comes after eating our fill.  The kind people of Pulpo invited us in for a tasting to see if they could sway our opinion.  Consider it swayed.  To our mutual delight, many of Pulpo’s Spanish-inspired tapas selections are much more fulfilling than anticipated.


The good people of Pulpo had quite a plan for us.  They started us off with the grilled asparagus with pistachio-orange pesto.  The pesto was AMAZING.  The only slight little hiccup of a drawback was that the ends of the asparagus spears were too fibrous.  No big deal, we just clipped off were the stalks ceased being perfectly tender and enjoyed the tasty parts.  The next dish presented to us was the scallops in a sweetcorn puree with sides of pickled chilies and angry popcorn.  I have to admit, I was a bit confused by the ‘angry’ popcorn.  With a name like ‘angry,’ I was expecting blow-the-back-of-your-head-off heat, but the puffy kernels were merely sprinkled with paprika.  It provided a nice color/texture presentation, but flavor wise, I didn’t think the popcorn added anything to the scallop dish overall.  As far as the scallops go, they were heavily seared on the outside, but perfectly cooked on the insides.  The next item up for bids was the sautéed octopus.  I was pleased with the tenderness of the pieces and the fennel added a nice touch.

One dish we were most pleased with was the beef brisket.  First of all, the serving size was substantial compared to your standard serving from tapas joints.  This flavorful meat sits atop a black bean puree that really adds a nice depth of rich flavor.  Next came the slow roasted pork belly and I tell you, it was heaven on a platter.  The outsides were amazingly crispy and the insides were so tender and succulent.  I literally melted when I tried it.  Another generously portioned and highly recommended dish is the bacon Brussels sprouts. Now these things were roasted.  The outer leaves were quite charred and brittle with a tender, flavorful core.  Ms. Classy felt they were a bit over-charred, but I didn’t mind at all.  And, well let’s be honest, there’s bacon.  The only way bacon ruins a dish by poor preparation, which wasn’t the case here.  And our final savory selection were the smoked pork tacos.  These were the best pork tacos I’ve had, hands down.  The meat was just the right amount of moist, tender, and smoky (much better than the ones I’ve had at Oyamel).


Our dinner ended as many dinners do: with dessert.  They served us a heaping tres leches V2.0.  This isn’t your standard tres leches cake that’s saturated with sweet dairy goodness.  This is goat cheese frosting between two slices of angel food cake, with ducle de leche drizzled over top, surrounded by sheep milk foam, blueberries, and crumble.  It was quite good and sizable.  But I have to confess, this is a dish we wouldn’t have minded them sticking to tradition.  It’s hard to beat saturated spongecake.
          Overall, we loved our meal and were impressed with the portion sizes, prices, and quality when compared to other tapas restaurants.  If you want exceptional drink deals, visit during their happy hour from 4pm to 7:30 and then again from 10pm to closing where all drinks are half price: no exception, no joke.

-Mr. Cheap Eats

Pulpo: 3407 Connecticut Ave NW, (202) 450-6875
Pulpo on Urbanspoon

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