Jose Maria (Segovia)
Finally made it to Jose Maria today - reservations really are necessary.
I have very mixed feelings about the place.
We were three (including my wife and 13 year old who is quite a chowhound). Knowing how large the servings are, and not being used to huge portions of meat, we had one serving of cochinillo asada (a lower quarter, so one does not have the excitement of seeing the whole pig, but we saw enough at the nearby serving station) but they do not serve the standard lamb as less than two servings, so we had the Rinconada de cerderiito. We also ordered what I assumed would be a starter, their "temtempie tradicionel" of patatas y lomo abadad.
The rinoncitos were fabulous - never would have ordered if I had a better dictionary, but the small pieces of kidney (I think!) were incredibly succulent. The prunes were also great. The lamb was fine. The the cochinillo and the corderito were fine; I am not a maven, so I would say they were as good but no better than Botin's.
The temtempie tradicional was almost all patatas with little lomo asado. Was okay but not great and I would not get again.
I would have been a quite happy camper, but I have never felt so rushed in
Spain before. They brought all three dishes at once, which made it quite hard to enjoy and much too much food at one time. Perhaps because we were three they thought we each had one dish, though I thought I made it clear that the patatas were for starting (but would not be the first time my Spanish was misunderstood). However, the plunked down a postres menu before we had even finished the entrees. I think we were out in about 1 1//4 (max 1.5) hours. Note that made the 3PM folks happy. And I note that other tables seemed to be going more or less at our pace (though at least those having salads had them before the meat).
So a bit less great than I would have hoped. But then it was only about 70E including water and a glass of wine each (and, I think rightfully, no tip). Also made it hard to do anything else in Segovia the rest of the afternoon, though Segovia doesn't have all that much that just must be done.
The lamb kidneys did convince me that Jose Maria can do a really good job on interesting dishes. I am glad the standard corderito was for two, so we had to get something more interesting.
IIRC our waiter was really helpful and we got a special order of a mixed lamb and pork for two. It was still enormous though, but allowed us to try both classics.
I agree it is a speedy place, but that seemed to be the style of the place.
Thanks for your post, Neal. We haven't made our reservations yet for Wednesday evening but maybe we'll try another place. The board suggests Asador Bernardino for cordero lechal, anyone have experience with that place? We may end up at JM anyway, assuming we can get in (we'll call later today).
Their website worked fine and they responded in a timely manner. As posted elsewhere, the have a 1:45 seating (though lots of people seemed to be eating when we arrived at 1:50) and then a second "waiting list" at 3PM, though given our experience, one is likely to be seated close to 3PM.