Featured image by Kim Vu.
Want good tapas but not willing to wait through the crowds at 14th Street’s Estadio or the newly remodeled Jaleo? We dropped in to the not-even-two-months-old Boqueria to check out this viable alternative. (They’re at 1837 M Street NW.)
Like Carmine’s, Serendipity, and Shake Shack before it, Boqueria is a New York City import, based on two successful restaurants of the same name in SoHo and Flatiron. Located in the old Penang space above Chipotle on M Street, it is decidedly very… well, New York.
Where Boqueria’s tapas contemporaries in D.C. feature Moorish features and a brightly mod, avant-garde decor respectively, Boqueria is clean and sharp, with a white and birch and tan color scheme that covers the bricks and tiles and wood accents. The main space opens onto a central square bar similar to Estadio’s, but with more bar seating and bedecked in chalkboards.
Seating is pretty tight, save for the patio outside, and the noise level rises fairly quickly if the space fills. Overall, it’s an ideal spot for post-work drinks and quick bites.
But what about the food?
Boqueria’s tapas lineup contains a roll call of Iberian standards, but the hidden treasure is the rotating menu of specials, an extensive list of daily dishes where some of the more interesting bites appear. On this trip, the winner of the night was indeed from this group, red peppers stuffed with braised oxtail in a potato purée, with stringy-in-the-good-way oxtail and deep savory flavors mixing with some interesting textural shifts between the smooth mash and the crunchy onion topping. Boqueria also nails the classics, with sharp Valdeon cheese and almonds providing a rich centerpiece to the time-honored bacon-wrapped dates.
So for some good eats and a swank decor in a prime location, hit up Boqueria.
For a more in-depth review, visit DC Wrapped Dates.