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Amelia Island - España

krissywats Dec 22, 2012 07:34 PM

We're visiting the island from NYC for several days and our first dinner out decided to try España. Very glad we did. We love great food and even enjoy discussing how we would make a dish better. No place is perfect, but this was a great meal.There were only a few minor food issues we had.

Tapas:
The pork tenderloin in brown sauce was so tender and flavorful. It had some middle eastern influence in the sauce we couldn't name but found delicious. I don't even know how you get chunks of pork that tender.

Portabello mushroom with serrano ham and cheese. Lovely and very rich. The saltiness of the ham was a great pairing with the earthy mushroom.

Shrimp with garlic was wonderful. I ate the sauce with a spoon.

Potato tortilla was ok. I liked it more than my husband who thought it was dry. The moisture didn't bother me but it did have a lack of salt. However, since I don't eat wheat (allergy), it was a great source for soaking up the sauce around the shrimp.

Salad:
We shared a salad with oranges, apples, raisins, almonds, on a bed of romaine, with grated manchego on top and a raspberry vinaigrette. We didn't love it. The dressing was overly sweet to us and the salad was too heavily dressed. The manchego was a nice salty flavor, but not enough of it to cut through the sweet. In my perfect world there would be more cheese, less dressing (or even a different, more tart and less sweet dressing....maybe lemon or balsamic?) more almonds, more fruit and less romaine.

Entrees:
Husband had the beef tenderloin with spanish bleu cheese and bleu cheese sauce. Served with saffron rice and sort of a cold spanish slaw. He cleaned his entire plate. He said all he needed to cut through the tenderloin was gravity. It was so tender and the meat had a wonderful flavor on it's own. Paired with the cheese, it was heavenly.

Desserts:
I have spent my entire life wanting to like flan. On paper, it looks like something I would enjoy but up until tonight, I have never liked it. Their flan is extraordinary. My husband loves flan and was floored by this dish. Our wonderful server explained to us that it's his grandmother's recipe (he is related to the chef), and he was touched that her recipe won me over. We talked about how temperamental flan can be and how hard it is to get right. We enjoyed his honesty in regards to how they make it and on rare nights it's just not quite as good but usually it's this rich deliciousness we savored.

The flourless chocolate cake was also wonderful. Not made on site, but smooth and like eating a truffle. Ultra rich, which I love.

This is a minor thing but one that always impresses me: I am a tea drinker. When a place brings me water that is ACTUALLY almost boiling, I am happy. This is lost on a ton of restaurants. Most tea should be brewed just off the boil, rather than the slightly hot water most place bring you. When this can happen, it makes for a lovely experience.

Overall, thrilled. Would go again in a heartbreat.

http://www.espanadowntown.com/

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  1. sal_acid RE: krissywats Dec 22, 2012 09:29 PM

    Espana is one of the better places on Amelia. Good tapas. I like the place.

    1. g
      gfr1111 RE: krissywats Dec 28, 2012 01:43 PM

      Excellent review, Krissywats. We need more reviews like yours. Great detail. I never heard of Espana but live relatively nearby. I look forward to trying it.

      Anytime the description of an interesting salad ends with "raspberry vinaigrette," I ask for a different dressing. In theory, I ought to like it, but they always make it cloying sweet. How about making the dressing mildly sweet, but with a hefty dose of acid to cut the sweetness?

      It seems to me that there are two types of flan: Mexican flan, which is light, airy, and often jello-like (and sometimes good and sometimes not); and Cuban flan with is about halfway between a New York cheesecake and Mexican flan. This is the flan that I really like and it sounds like this is what your husband ate.

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