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Jul 10, 2002 11:32 AM

Cobras & Matadors

  • b

I'm a little late in posting this but we were a party of six at Cobras & Matadors last week. Aside from the deafening noise (to which we no doubt contributed!), we loved the place. Of the dishes that we ordered, only the grilled skirt steak was not to our liking since we found it to be somewhat tough and chewy. The herbed green olives and cinammon/nutmeg almonds that are brought to the table gratis are very tasty. I didn't take notes but, from memory, we had grilled octopus with salsa verde, socca cakes (made with ground chickpeas), mussels with chorizo, aspargus with blue cabrales sauce, albondigas, steamed mussels, and some sort of little potato cubes with one or two sauces. It was hard to keep track of everything with so many dishes being passed back and forth. We had three desserts but I can only recall two: flan and some sort of chocolate thing in a cup that was delicious. I'll pay closer attention to the name when we return which we assuredly will.

If you want to have wine with dinner either bring your own ($5 corkage) or stop in at their adjacent wine store and pay no corkage. The wine store only takes cash but they will add the wine to your dinner tab and the restaurant does take credit cards. We bought a Morgadio Albarino which I found to be a little too dry with the food and a '95 Vina Ardanza La Rioja Alta which was perfect. Unfortunately, it was the last bottle and we needed more wine. Second red was also Vina Ardanza but it was the '90 Rioja Reserva which should probably have been decanted and left to breathe for a couple of hours. At our request, they brought us stemware for our wines rather than the little glasses that they automatically bring. Actually, I kind of liked those little glasses for the white wine that we had but the reds needed the stemware.

The service isn't all that great but I suspect that it is more of a kitchen problem than anything else. The servers work hard and are reasonably friendly considering the hectic pace. We were seated right on time with a 7:30 PM reservations. I think they try very hard to honor their reservations.

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  1. Thanks for the review! I've been wanting to check it out and now I definitely will. Is it the kind of place it's better to go to with a group than just 2 people?

    3 Replies
    1. re: gremly girl

      Group vs. 2 people depends largely on how much conversation you want to have. We went by ourselves once and liked it because we could hear each other. The upside of going as a party of six was that we could sample more dishes. Having been there as a party of two as well as a party of six, I would have to say that a party of four would be perfect. It is really noisy there but in a friendly sort of way.

      1. re: Barbara
        Jessica N. R.

        Frankly, my boyfriend and I were disappointed by C & M's. Certainly the fact that he had been in Spain the week before made him a harsher critic. Nonetheless, I at least was completely open-minded. We were seated outside, a perfectly pleasant arrangement because we weren’t ignored as we had feared. He picked out a delicious manzanilla next door, and I'm all for that Spanish-focused liquor-store-next-door arrangement. Our food was brought promptly, but we had to ask at least 3 times for water! There seemed to be a rigid hierarchy in which the guy we asked simply wouldn't bring it to us. Whatever it was, it was silly. The octopus was extremely fishy, and we were bummed to find that the tortilla Espanola—the cornerstone of Spanish food—was updated/interpreted for So Cal tastes. The best thing was the manchego and serrano ham, which also required the least amount of preparation. Too bad because we’re always hoping that we’ll be fans of whatever unique neighborhood restaurant comes along in our area.

        1. re: Jessica N. R.

          I have been there a couple of times for a late dinner and thoroughly enjoyed it both visits. The no-corkage policy with wines from next door is a nice touch (as is the selection of moderately priced god Spanish wines). The food is nothing fancy, but tasty and well-prepared. The two of us preferred to sample many small dishes (the manchego cheese and serrano ham were very good, as were the baby clams in a garlicky broth). The flan was excellent. Service was indeed spotty, we had to ask for bread three times. I can recommend it for a late night dinner where you are willing to share small, tasty dishes.