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Sep 9, 2001 05:47 PM

Cobras & Matadors

  • l

I finally got around to trying C&M on Friday night (it's the new Spanish place in Boxer's old location on Beverly). Glad we went early - apparently S. Irene reviewed it in Thursday's LAT and by the time we left at 8:15-8:30 the place was packed and a mob milled out front.

The unanimous verdict: Cobras & Matadors rocks. We picked up a cheap bottle of Spanish wine from Bicentenial 13, the liquor store next door; C&M has no liquor license (I think b/c it's close to a neighboring synagogue?). They have wine and beer and their selection is small yet thoughtful. I wish I knew more about wine! It'd have been a great place to pair up a couple great wines with our food. Next time I'm bringing one of my winehound friends....

We made quick work of the olives and almonds they brought when we sat down. We ordered a slew of tapas, including crunchy roasted red lentils with ham, sliced meats and Spanish cheeses on bread (one of these, the sliced porkloin, was extra just melted in my mouth), marinated mushrooms, grilled peppery shrimp, very mild cod cakes and crumbly little chickpea pankcakes. All were very, very good. The bill for 4 was $25/person, including tip and wine. In keeping with the nice service we received, the owner comped us a desert, a vanilla caramel custard (flan, essentially), which was on the less sweet side and certainly enough for four - very full by that point - women.

I definitely recommend this place and can't wait to get back. The only off beat is the wierd blue wall I stared at through dinner. I know there's a special ring of hell reserved for persnickity folk like me, but the color is incredibly wrong. So go...but make someone else face the kitchen.

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  1. Lisa, sounds like a fun place to go if you are in the mood for a place to jump start your evening out. Did you take a look at the main course menu, or did you get a look at any main dishes going by?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Mike Kilgore

      Funny you should ask. They only have a few entrees: grilled shrimp (and only four - albeit good sized - crustaceans at that) is the only specific one I remember.

      1. re: Lisa Bee up yesterday morning intending to go straight to my computer to post about C&M.; instead greeted with twin towering infernos and the world turned upside down...

        Nonetheless, life and must go on... Call this story a bit of comic (chowic?) relief...

        Monday nite. We intended to go to Polka but it was closed. So it was back to the board for another dining venue. And Cobras & Matadors it was -- if only to find out what the crazy name was all about.

        The liquor store next door was just as described, although very minimal, and soon I was buying a bottle of rioja from a gentleman who introduced himself as Steve, mgr/ownr of both store and restaurant (previously of Boxer), and asked how I'd heard about C& M. When I told him about chowhound, he said he would have to check it out...

        Didn't think much about this until we were in the middle of our tapas (chickpea crepes - delicious but a bit mushy; beet salad - tasty; lentils and spanish ham - crispy and fantastic; spanish cheese plate - terrific; fire roasted mushrooms - great; roasted squid - just okay) when Steve sat down next to us and proceeded to ask what we "thought about the blue." It took me a beat to realize he wasn't asking about the food -- he had read the post on chowhound and was worrying about the wall color! For what it's worth, and I might add that two of dinner companions were designers, we all agreed the torquoise was a tad bright, but not alarming enough to ruin our enjoyment of the food... :)

        Steve rewarded are enthusiasm/curiosity by explaining that the name of the restaurant didn't refer to anything or anyone in particular -- cobras and matadors just reminded him of sexual seduction.... In any event, great rec, Lisa! As I've never been to Spain, I can't judge C&M's authenticity, but I can say: Good food. Reasonably priced. Nice open-fire oven. And IMHO a very chic atmosphere, despite the blue wall...

        As for entrees, we tried the cornish game hen with sweet and sour sauce. It worked well with the tapas, and had an almost Morrocan flavor that compared favorably with a similar chicken at Chameau in Silver Lake. Try it.

        1. re: Rafi

          Rafi, this is a great report - thanks. It's really interesting to hear what another Hound thinks about a new (at least to me) restuarant. And I'm glad your designer friends thought the turquoise was a little off...even if it was just my sensibility that was offended.

          1. re: Lisa Bee
            More of Everything

            We went there last night, looking to relax a little after the events of this week. I would say we wanted to take our minds off of things, but can anyone really stop thinking of what has happened?

            Our waiter suggested a great spanish wine from next door, which I'm sorry to say I've forgotten. As for the tapas, some of the winners are the lentils and ham, and the spanish ham (like a prosciutto) w/ bread and cheese. The restaurant itself has nice homey feel to it with a good selection of eclectic background music. The staff is also very attentive and friendly.

            This is a place I'd like to be on rainy night.

          2. re: Rafi

            Reading the owner's comments about the name and its relationship in his mind to sexual seduction, I flashed to a description of Gina Gershon's lips as looking like fighting snakes. Where is Freud when we need him?

          3. re: Lisa Bee

            I had my birthday party at Cobras & Matadors in July. There were 8 or 9 of us and we kept things simple by ordering the entire menu. All the food was delicious and, though we had 3 vegeterians at the table, 1 person who didn't eat dairy and 1 who was allergic to pork, everyone had lots to eat. I would recommend this place to anyone for a delicious and fun eveing of dining. Go early and choose a weeknight to avoid a wait.

        2. you are all foregetting about the albondigas, sobrasada and the steak. How come nobody is mentioning the best skirt steak in the city. This place has more energy on a Wednesday night @ 10pm than most places have at eight o'clock on saturday night they could have painted that wall pink with purple polka-dots and my taste buds stil would have been elevated way beyond all my expectations