Yesterday evening I had a hankering for tapas, those delicious morsels that can be eaten as appetizers or as a meal. Lucky for me, Rincon 38 had opened its doors for the first time at 4:00 p.m. My buddy Rick and I decided to have dinner there.
I first learned about tapas when Becky and I went to Spain in 2004. In Barcelona, we discovered that tapas bars could come in all types, elegant or neighborhood, large or hole-in-the-wall. We preferred the smaller, more intimate, neighborhood establishments. It’s there that you can get to know the owners and servers (often family) and appreciate the uniqueness of local cuisine.
Rincon 38 does not disappoint!
Even with the new furniture and equipment, Rincon 38 is warm and cozy. Greeted as we came in the door, the staff was attentive without being burdensome. Natalie, our server, was well prepared and able to tell us about the various tapas and entrees. Throughout the meal she would return to keep our water topped up and see if we needed anything else.
Another reason Rincon 38 felt so familiar was that some of the seasoned staff from Cafe Ena are here. Cafe Ena is a Latin-Fusion restaurant at 46th and Grand that is Erin Ungerman and Hector Ruiz other place.
Erin and Hector have Latin cooking dialed in. They began with El Meson which quickly became a Minneapolis landmark where a diner could get authentic Mexican food. Then in 2007, they launched the critically acclaimed Cafe Ena, named after their daughter. Ena’s is where Hector serves his unique interpretation of Latin and World cuisine. And now Rincon 38 where Hector combines Spanish, French, and Italian traditions into a new eating experience.
Okay, so what did Rick and I dive into?
Calamari – Corn-pimenton crusted calamari served with a saffron aioli & lemons and drizzled with parsley oil. Prepared perfectly crunchy and without that rubber octopus texture.
Plato Iberico – Cerrano ham, vasque olives, salchichon, spicy chorizo, soria sausage drizzled with lemon oil and 12yr balsamic. Very tasty, reminded me of Barcelona.
Zetas – Roasted crimini mushrooms stuffed with asparagus, blue cheese served over over a saffron-yellow pepper sauce. This was so good that we almost ordered a second. What stopped us was that we were full.
Rincon 38 has a well planned wine cellar that guarantees the right wine for the meal. If you’re a beer drinker like me, they have a modest number of beers but the ones they have are, like the wines, perfectly matched to the cuisine. And, if you are not into wine or beer, Rincon 38 has an inviting list of other beverages, which includes two imported Italian Lemon sodas.
I now have another favorite place to go. I can’t wait for spring so that I can ride my bicycle to Rincon 38, enjoy a feast of tapas, and then ride home, dreaming of Spain.