Friday, February 1, 2013

Estado Puro- Global Gastro Bar Tapas & Drink

Checking into the Hotel Palace and ready to enjoy my first day in Madrid, I decided to spend some time at the Prado Museum. It was around 2am California time so I decided to get a coffee to stay awake.

I was in a hurry to head to the museum but couldn't bring myself to get coffee at the Starbucks around the corner from the hotel. And the Spanish cafeteria/restaurant VIPS wasn't an option. I saw Estado Puro just up ahead so I figured I'd get coffee and check out where I was having lunch later.

I had done some research on tapas bars around our hotel area and was impressed when I read a Bon Appetit article on the modernization of some antiquated open air markets and the inception of the "Gastrobar" namely, Estado Puro created by Paco Roncero, Terraza del Casino head chef and the "disciple" of Mr. El Bulli himself, Ferran Adria. The mural of the stereotypical Spanish youth wearing a peineta and pouring out her Mahou beer also intrigued me. These were the little changes in Madrid that I had not witnessed being away for so many years.

There are two locations for Estado Puro currently, the one I was heading to is part of the Hotel NH Paseo del Prado, just in back of the Madrid Hotel Palace. It was a warm day, perfect to work up a tiny sweat but never feel uncomfortable. The sidewalk terrace looked great to have lunch at but I was going to have my coffee inside the bar. The space is smaller than I imagined but what they do with it is clever.
sealed with kiss and no drool
The ceiling where you can dine indoors features hanging peinetas that match the Spanish girl's in the Mural. At first glance, it looks like Creme colored Mexican papel picado thats been laid flat. The L shaped bar was well stocked with every spirit imaginable. The wines looked fabulous. For a moment I wanted to get sloppy drunk. This was the bar to do it at. But I drank another coffee instead. I had a plan and I knew with a few drinks in me, I'd pass out drooling on the white counter.

Drifting through the Prado for three hours proved dreamily powerful as toward the end of the third hour, I nearly fell asleep on my feet. Nearly colliding with some German tourists, I decided to break for lunch. Taking my seat within Estado Puros sidewalk terrace, the warm air tenderly tussled me awake to my first Madrileno late afternoon. The city's vibrant atomosphere was pumping oxygen through my body and every mundane thing seemed amazing. I loved watching the waiters playfulness, expounding paternal sweet nothings to a patron's fussy baby and warning another client not to leave their iphone on the table as someone else got theirs stolen that way. There's not much to the terrace itself but the location is stellar. You look out and Neptune with his watery fountain is standing guard across the street. The tree lined Paseo del Prado is your neighbor and the most beautiful post office is in the distance.

The majority of their are tapas modern, no doubt deconstructions of old favorites. Patatas bravas morph into whole small potatoes with a goopy red sauce center that can be devoured like a deviled egg. I normally could eat Bonito out of its tin can, and thats exactly what they brought me except the olive oil and bread that accompanied it made it moist, flavorful and theres just nothing like bread in Europe for the taste buds. Nothing.
Bad Senorita, no bocado for you

I brought Andy back here. I had to, it was a perfect afternoon place after walking around and wanting a snack and a drink before taking a break in our hotel room. We tried the tempura asparagus in a wonderful romesco sauce and devoured the simple salty cantabrian anchioves and tomato bocadillos.
It was all washed down with  a couple of beers. The weather was warm and throughout our trip we fell into the rythm of drinking Mahou beer during the day and red wine at night.

Weeks later, when we returned to the states, I was enjoying my Friday afternoon watching tve espanola, wine in hand while the kids tore the house apart. One of the networks shows, Gente or Corazon ( can't remember which) featured a segment on Estado Puro's Gin and Chicken. The unlikely combination works as for several hours they marinate the chicken in botanicals that go into the make up of gin. Citrus and juniper berries are a good examples of this. Then they traditionally cook it rotisserie style and serve it with a foamy gin and tonic drink that is less in alcohol content and more heavy on manadrin, lime, and lemongrass flavor. It supposed cleanse the palate as you dine on your bird. I'm sure it did. Harper's has an excellent article there famous dish in Spanish. The New York Times review is a good read in English if you want an overview on a the restaurant.

I was disappointed that I didn't try such an amazing concoction. But there's always next time in my illuminated Madrid.

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