Spanish food, definition a cuisine of Spain, is alive and good in Connecticut after dual and a half decades, even if many Nutmeggers would still be hard-pressed to heed it from a food of Spanish-speaking nations, generally Mexico, to that it bears little resemblance. Spanish food is a Mediterranean cuisine that has distant some-more in common with French, Italian and Portuguese food than any cuisines on this side of a Atlantic.
If one’s confused about a difference, a best place to start is substantially with a Spanish grill owned by a Spaniard, where a distinctions are rebate expected to be blurred. At slightest 3 sojourn — in Hartford, New Haven and Danbury. Those being deficient to accommodate a demand, there are about a measure of mostly Latin American-owned Spanish restaurants sparse around Connecticut, several of that are utterly good.
One that we have favourite given it non-stop in Southington in Aug 2012 is El Pulpo Tapas Bar, so we was gratified to see it had spawned a Middletown kin in Jun 2015 in a back of Main Street Market. Owned by Ecuadoreans Kleber Guzman, Carlos Guzman and Fabian Contreras, El Pulpo facilities an al fresco dining porch, that always seems full in good weather. Its interior is romantic, with pale red wainscoting and pale yellow walls that advise a colors of Spain, and ledges and pass-throughs lined with booze bottles.
The booze list creates extravagantly transparent that a owners know their approach around booze (glasses $6-$12, bottle $27-$150). On one visit, I’m anxious with a 2015 Vanidade Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain ($27), a young, fruity, even tawny white, on another visit, an expressive, fluffy 2011 Ondarre Reserva, Rioja, Spain ($45), a Tempranillo mix that scored 95 points from Wine Advocate. Salud!
The common grill knowledge of a owners is estimable and includes stints during obvious Spanish and contemporary American restaurants. You might confront a credentials you’ve had elsewhere. But you’ll also find some creativity and a difficulty taken to image each singular plate beautifully, bid that creates business feel valued and that they’re removing their money’s worth. Warm bread served with good golden Spanish EVOO also has that effect.
Tapas restaurants customarily specialize in little plates designed for sharing, though El Pulpo also offers entrées and particular equipment like soups. In texture, season and presentation, butternut squish ($6) finished with toasted pumpkin seeds and cream of asparagus ($8.50) bedecked with vast poignant shrimp would do any grill proud.
All a seafood we confront is uninformed and scintillating. The namesake el pulpo Gallego ($14) could mount to remove a hold of vinegar, though a vast proposal pieces of leg with EVOO, Spanish paprika, salt, peppers and sautéed onion are really good. Similarly meritorious are pleasing uninformed proposal grilled baby squid bodies ($12) and a raise of little tentacles in sherry vinaigrette. Successes are pier up: crunchy though tawny codfish croquettes ($8), boiled oysters ($12) splotched with guacamole, an superb timbale of salmon tartare ($12) over avocado, and a delicious seafood meal ($21) that seems to have emptied a ocean.
And non-seafood? Not to worry. Basil toasts are used to dip out goat cheese ($8) melting in a crock of marinara salsa honeyed with carrot. An apple salad ($8) includes primitive greens, Feta cheese, dusty fruit and pignolis in an orange dressing. A underbrush of grated Brussels sprouts ($12) laced with black truffle and Parmesan tops a block boiled risotto cake. Mostly weak grilled cower ($12) is served in an orange (flavored) salsa with equally orange (colored) puréed yam. Marinated dress beef ($25) comes with a colourful chimichurri salsa and sautéed vegetables.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, El Pulpo offers a special, three-course, prix-fixe menu for only $20. For apps, we name a chicken-stuffed piquillo peppers in red booze sauce, and 3 veal medallions with Tetilla cheese served over toasted bread in a pier reduction. For mains, we name a seafood risotto installed with shrimp, brook scallops, mussels, salmon and haddock in a abounding tarragon seafood broth, and duck pressed with Manchego cheese, spinach and raisins.
For sweets, there’s a vast profiterole finished with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup or a quivery particular turn of flan in caramel sauce.
On another night, a desserts ($5-$8) we name from a arrangement tray also infer terrific. One is an equally quivery mold of coconut panna cotta, a other a beautifully textured chocolate torte.
El Pulpo might be located in a center of a state, though it does a improved than intermediate job.
386 Main St., Middletown * 860-788-7525 * elpulpotapasbar.com