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Oct 6, 2010 07:37 PM

Estragon reviews and recs?

Have a rez at Estragon on Friday night. Have you been? How was it? What do you recommend? Thanks!

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  1. I really like it: great atmosphere, an interesting, free-wheeling Spanish menu, pretty good cocktails within the limits of a beer/wine/cordial license, nice wines, very good service.

    Some reliable standbys: pringá (marrow, shank, pork belly on toast), tortilla española (potato fritatta), garbanzos fritos (crisp-fried chickpeas, like spicy Spanish beer nuts), braised leeks, Brussels sprouts, gambas al ajillo (garlicky shrimp), grilled baby octopus, albondigas (meatballs in a great gravy), braised beef cheek, callos (offal stew: sounds scary, isn't).

    If you like Spanish-style ham, it's worth getting the jamón iberico, a bit pricey ($20 for a small plateful), but it's the real imported deal and unlike anything else: amazing stuff.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Those all sound like great recs to me. I always get the chickpeas and braised beef cheek if available. And if you like big but well-balanced/structured red wines, give a bottle of the Tinto Pesquera (ribero del duero) a go. One of my favorites, and even with the typical restaurant mark-up, I think it's a bargain for $55 per bottle.

    2. As it happens, I just went on Monday night. Had a really good meal.

      We started with three pintxos (appetizers on toast), the Pringá (Bone Marrow, Beef Shank & Pork Belly) the Cabrales a la Sidra (Cider-whipped Cabrales, Green Apple & Honey) and the Boquerones con Manchego y Tomate (White Anchovies, Manchego Cheese & Tomato).

      At six or seven dollars each, these are not the best values on the menu. However, these were quite good indeed. The best was the Cabrales a la Sidra in which the cabrales cheese was just a undertone to really nicely blended apples and honey. The boquerones themselves were very good, but the manchego cheese was too sharp and thick, and the tomato a little too juicy.

      We followed this was two vegetables, the Alcachofas Fritas (Crispy Fried Artichoke Hearts, Alioli) and the Espinacas a la Catalana (Sautéed Spinach, Pine Nuts, Golden Raisins). Both were excellent. Not normally a fan of artichoke hearts, but I decided to try them anyway, and was very pleasantly surprised. The texture of the artichoke was very prominent and although the taste was still there, it was moderated by the flavorful breading and the strong alioli. The Espinacas reminded me of a Chinese dish --- stir-fried spinach with a little garlic, and tossed with pine nuts and raisins which worked very well, adding both textural interest and nice additional layers of flavor.

      My DC had the Torreznos (Crispy Fried Pork Belly, Salsa Picante) which he pronounced absolutely excellent.

      We then shared to beef entrees, the Carrillada de Buey (Braised Beef Cheek Pedro Ximenez Reduction) and the Hamburguesa de la Casa (8oz Kobe Burger, Tetilla Cheese, Fried Onion, Fries) to which we added a fried egg for a dollar.

      The braised beef cheeks were very good, the reduction not to strong, and the result well cooked.

      But the hamburger was the star of the meal. The patty was not very thick, but it was cooked perfectly rare (on request) and nice and juicy. The little slivers of fried onion were wonderful, and the fried egg wasn't very large (seriously, it must have been the smallest chicken egg I've ever seen) but it added nice flavor. The bun didn't look that interesting, but it tasted great, and although it was soft and the burger was juicy, it didn't get soggy. Seriously, this is one of the very best burgers I've had in Boston.

      A mojito was very well made, the Americanos afterwards were truly wonderful, and the service was very pleasant and helpful. The place was almost totally empty, but maybe that's because it was a Monday night?

      Anyway, in case you can't tell I really like it. I think Toro might be a little more daring, but this is not a boring menu, and it's well executed.

      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

      8 Replies
      1. re: lipoff

        All good recommendations. Note that the pintxos are $1 between 5:30pm-7pm Mon-Thur. At that time, they are a steal. I have a tough time paying full price for them during regular hours.

        1. re: lipoff

          Mmmm. Thanks for the detailed review. I like Estragon, and worry that it's so quiet. Not just on Mondays.

          1. re: yumyum

            Stopped in last night for a snack and a glass of wine and happily it was very busy at the bar and many tables were full. I splurged on the jamon iberico and it was worth it -- the real stuff has a certain nuttiness to it and clean unctuous fat that melts on your tongue. Also had some pringas, one of my favorite bites there. Finished with a plate of cheeses, including a lovely mahon, a stinky blue (but not cabrales), manchego and one other. The plate was drizzled with honey, and garnished with walnuts, membrillo and another confiture I didn't recognize. Lovely complementary sip of muscato from Joseph the bartender to go with the cheeses. I'm happy I stopped by.

            1. re: yumyum

              Agree that the iberico is worth it: it's a generous portion, and there's nothing quite like it. I think that lovely blue cheese is a Valdeon, which is good, because the Cabrales by itself is so blue and intense it makes me dizzy.


              1. re: yumyum

                Ain't nothin quite like real Jamon Iberico de bellota.

                Even better, go to Spain, find a good bar with 5-6 different Ibericos and try them all. Might set you back $80 but worth every penny. The one or two that did bother to get import approval in the US are okay, even very good. But some of the smaller producers products are so tasty as to make me sob like a newborn... Quite possibly the most decadent food product in the world, period, imho.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Funny you should say that. I'm heading to Seville Nov. 2. Last night's jamon was a little light trip research. ;-)

                  1. re: yumyum

                    OHMYGOSH Seville rocks!

                    One of the MOST beautiful places I have ever been and the food is awesome.

                    Gosh there are two places where I really superb meals and a bakery that also blew me away. Will have so see if I can dig up the names.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      I will pick your brain offline! Thank you sir. I hope to make a whole pig disappear in the blink of an eye if you show me your tricks!

          2. I wrote up a review a while back (can probably find it w/ the search function ;-)

            Thought Toro is much better. Loved the scallops and the pringa at Estragon...everything else was just ok...skip the garlicky shrimp here IMHO and try the one at Toro...

            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118