El Mercat (www.elmercatdetapas.com in Rockville, Maryland is a fabulous creature of a restaurant recently opened by Executive Chef George Rodrigues . Simply put, the Spanish food is to die for.
Lynn and I had visited the San Sebastian region of Spain a few years ago and were wowed by the simple, but very appetizing cuisine known as pinxtos. This cuisine was simplicity itself and typically consisted of tinned fish and meat piled on small squares of bread. This was often washed down with a rustic red wine or, more typically with red vermouth on the rocks with a twist of orange.
El Mercat has a broader range of choices than we experienced in our San Sebastian journey but the idea and mainly the spirit of the place are the same. The plates are typically small and many plates were ordered at our table allowing us to share and taste the variety of fare that El Mercat had to offer.
Standouts included "Pulpo Con Patatas" (Octopus, Potatoes and Paprika); the savory "Pimentos De Padron" (Fried Shisito Peppers with Sea Salt) and the show stopping Tabla De Quesos Y Curados" which is a mind blowing assortment of Meats, Cheeses, and Sides that could serve as a meal for a group with ease.
Lynn and I have found that really good, authentic Spanish food is difficult to find, if it can be found at all. Sad for us that El Mercat is not closer to our Long Island home...
M & L