|Wood-Burning Oven |
Loaded with Focaccia Bread!
|Croquettes of Crab|
By the time we got to the restaurant, we were feeling festive, so with the effects of the champagne still ablush on our cheeks, we proceeded to order a spectacular bottle of red wine. It was a special occasion, after all. The Drama Teacher knows her grapes. Once we had poured our glasses full, we toasted again and began to sample the cuisine of the Mediterranean as interpreted by the Chef at Café Gibraltar.
First up, a Croquette de Crabe. Our little group had decided to share everything, which is my favorite way to consume food. So when it arrived, there was a flurry of forks. I love sampling. If I could, I would decree the universe to be all tapas all the time. But I digress.
|Gnocchi ~ Delectable... look at those mushrooms!|
And here I should take a moment to digress and wax prolific about their bread. As you can see from the photo, they have a lovely brick oven, in which these round and robust loaves of manna are roasted until they are sheer perfection. It emerges from the ovens a lovely focaccia, dimpled and oiled as only this Italian native bread can be. They slice it up and serve it hot. With absolutely everything.
So, back to the Mezza Platter. Tyrosalat is a creamy mash of Feta cheese, sprinkled with chillies, and scrambled with milk and mayonnaise; Hummis will be familiar to most as the soft, flavorful crush of chickpeas and sesame, which is lovely spread over bread; Tomato Jam was a lovely compote, the consistency of heavy blackberry jam, and made from fresh tomatoes, garlic and olives. The Tomato Jam was among my favorites of this platter. It was savory and well seasoned and quite memorable. There was a mixture called Nezukton that I do not think I tasked, and a along with the dips a delicious ensaladilla de piquillos (salad of chopped peppers), roasted garlic cloves and house marinated olives. All of this went very well with the steamy focaccia as it arrived — loaf by glorious loaf — fresh from the wood-burning ovens.
|Pot-au-Feu de Poisson|
The BH enjoyed the Pot-au-Feu de Poisson. It was a nice dish of fresh local dungeness crab meat, scallops and shrimp, with a beautiful slab of perfectly cooked seasonal white fish atop it. The whole dish was covered in a creamy sauce of tomato, saffron, white wine and herbs, which was swimming with calamari and mussels. The broth was delicious, and even the rouille topped crouton was perfect.
The desserts all looked so good we tried several. The Better Half thought the Flourless Chocolate Torte looked good, so he’d ordered that, and I can’t resist anything with coconut or cream these days, so I ordered a Banana Coconut Creme Pie. Serendipitously, the Birthday Girl ordered a Lavender Creme Brulee, which was the other dessert that had captured my attention. It arrived with a lovely thoughtful candle blazing on top of it.
|Banana Coconut Creme Pastry|
The Chocolate Torte was a thick, rich flourless chocolate torte, decadently served on a bed of raspberry coulis. The Coconut confection was a housemade flaky pastry shell filled with caramelized bananas, coconut pastry cream, fresh whipping cream and shaved chocolate. My idea of heaven. BG loved her Brulee, and even let me have a bite or two. I love the milky sweet treasure that one reaches by breaking that hard crust of the outer shell. There is something viscerally satisfying about smashing one’s way into the delicate belly of a good Brulee, and this one was a smooth, creamy custard infused with essence of lavender.
It was indeed the local treasure that was promised, the food as varied and pleasant as any natural delight served up by the Mediterranée itself. I wholeheartedly suggest that any and all who are fond of Italy, or of the rich hearty flavors of that part of the world, make time to find your way to the Café Gibraltar. As always, Bon Appetit!
425 Ave. ALHAMBRA
EL GRANADA, CA
Noise: fairly boisterous, maybe two (and up to three) bells, but mostly we could hear each other speak okay.