Estadio: Washington D.C., USA
I had chosen this place based on much Yelp research. On my first night upon arriving in Washington D.C. for my first half-marathon with the Team In Training Georgia chapter for the inaugural Nike Women’s Half Marathon, three old friends and I met up at Estadio located in the NW quarter right off 14th street. Just a little bit north of my hotel (The Westin, or as my friend would say and it is indeed true, the Less-tin), this place boasted booked out reservations after 7pm even after I had made them two weeks in advance. Luckily our group was small so we were able to get a small table at 6pm.
Estadio is quite quaint with a fairly heavy atmosphere inside. When I say heavy, I mean more in architecture and design. There is a lot of heavy wooden structure and focus on the dim and the dark. Luckily for us, the sun sets later in the day and we were able to get close to a window. The menu is decently extensive for a tapas restaurant. It’s not as varied as that of Eclipse Di Luna in Atlanta, but the quality of food is by far better. The price though was also by far higher than it is in Atlanta as well. Then again, it is DC and costs of living does increase substantially going up the coast. That’s one of the better reasons for living in the south, following good manners, especially by boys.
Our featured menu includes quite a few dishes. The first few starters included the following:
Mussels in a cream/wine sauce. Now this is probably your typical mussels starter, but this was amazing. For the price which was roughly around $12-$13, we got a small bowlful of perfectly steamed mussels. They were nice and plump, not overly seasoned. This one was plenty big enough to share a table of four. The sauce was so good that we continued to dip our complimentary bread slices into it. While they aren’t ginormous in size, the mussels made up for in amount.
We also ordered chorizo for the table as well. I wouldn’t say that this was the best dish but it was pretty good. For those of you, like me, who adore cured meats, especially that from Spain, I would say that you could find this dish enjoyable. However, the eight to ten or so thin slices are not enough for a table. Also, I would much rather prefer jamón iberico over chorizo. The one thing that may have been great with the chorizo is a cheese plate feature various cheeses from España (Spain).
One of the featured dishes on Yelp was the patatas bravas as well as the tortilla espanola. The patatas bravas is a traditional Spanish dish that consists of mainly of potatoes. Down in Atlanta, they are almost diced and crisply fried, then drizzled with sauce. The tortilla española is a traditional Spanish dish consisting of eggs, almost like a baked omelet. I used to remember how to make this as they taught it to us each year of spanish that I took from middle school through high school. At Estadio, the potatoes are done in a scalloped style and then they are essentially baked within an omelet pocket before the sauce is spooned on top for the tortilla. It was amazing. For those of you who like eggs and potatoes, this is the way to go. The dish was warm and the potatoes were perfectly cooked. You have to like a little bit of sauce with your egg or your egg slightly well…saucy. It’s not that the omelet isn’t cooked all the way, but there are going to be certain parts of the egg that haven’t “cooked” completely. I’m perfectly ok with that as long as the egg-whites of any egg dish are cooked completely (and the yolks somewhat cooked).
Another “starter” dish that we tried was the calamari. Now to be clear, we also ordered the octopus, or pulpo. Calamari is squid. This squid was probably two small but whole squids that were literally just put fresh on the grill and seared so that there was a slightly burnt taste. It didn’t taste like a badly burnt dish, but it definitely had that perfectly grilled smoky flavor to it. However, in comparison to the octopus, it was a little bit tougher. Perhaps it was the way that it was cooked. We believe that the octopus was probably steamed which would retain a little more water in the flesh compared to the grill which would essentially dry out the squid. The citrus salad that the octopus was served on was a really nice blend with the seafood as well. There was definitely a slight vinaigrette flavoring to the salad so don’t be fooled.
We also ordered the fried cod. While it was really fresh and piping hot, to me it was more of a fish nugget from a really good fish and chips basket. Because I love seafood, especially fried seafood, this dish definitely appealed to my taste. However, was it worth $11? I’m not sure about that. I can get a bigger plate of fish and chips for about the same price down in Atlanta which would actually be worth the money.
We also ordered the duck breast as recommended by our server. To be honest, I’ve never really liked duck in any other way other than Peking Duck style. The reason why is that I like how the skin is super crispy. This was more like a seared or braised duck breast. While it was incredibly tasty and tender, it just tasted like…duck. I almost want to say that I could cook this meat myself at home except duck is difficult to find in the local grocery stores. It might have tasted better if it had came out earlier during the meal as by this time, I was fairly full. Anyways, I wouldn’t say that this was a dish that swept me off my feet. The thing is though, I have learned that most of the servers and waiters/waitresses in restaurants aren’t exactly foodies. Some really do know their stuff, and I’m sure the high-scale restaurants like Per Se will literally train their waiting staff to develop an exquisite sense of taste, but for the majority of restaurants, this is a job that well, pays the bills. Anyway, moving on…
For dessert, we tried the hazelnut chocolate cake and the manchego cheesecake. I love manchego cheese. The cheesecake was going to be ordered by me no matter what. It was one of the few cheeses that I kept eating during my three-day weekend in Barcelona. Therefore, it would be insane for me not to try the manchego cheesecake at this place! My friend found it quite rich and creamy (to me that is key for a cheesecake). However, it was softer in texture compared to American cheesecake. In addition, there was a slightly cheesy aftertaste which well, if you don’t like cheese, it probably won’t suit you. However, this is one of my favorite cheeses. Not to mention, I wouldn’t say that manchego is an incredibly cheesy tasting type of cheese. Compared to bleu cheese, this isn’t even close to stinky. However, compared to brie, it definitely has a bit more of a richer taste. Paired with a fig sauce, this was the perfect dessert for me. The hazelnut chocolate cake was not really cake. It was a really incredibly heavy chocolate mousse and also ridiculously rich. Chocolate lovers: this cake is for YOU. I experimented and put a small bite of chocolate cake with a small bite of cheesecake on the same fork and instant magic was obtained. The two desserts paired perfectly with each other, and I honestly have to say, it was magic in my mouth.
All in all, a summary:
- mussels in white sauce: **** (4 stars)
- chorizo: **.5 (2.5 stars)
- fried cod: ***.5 (3.5 stars)
- patatas bravas: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- tortilla espanola: **** (4 stars)
- calamari: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- octopus on citrus salad: **** (4 stars)
- duck breast: **.5 (2.5 stars)
- manchego cheesecake: **** (4 stars)
- hazelnut chocolate cake: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
If you wanted to check out Estadio for yourself:1520 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-319-1404 Bon apetit! R/g