Last night I was able to snag a spot at the bar for opening night of the long awaited Estadio, brought to us by the owners of Proof. I normally like to withhold judgement on new restaurants until they are able to work out the expected kinks, but I was impressed to see that Estadio was operating at full speed and my experience included good service and high quality food.
Estadio boasts a traditional spanish menu that includes an array of cheeses, meats, tapas, seafood, and even some delicious dessert options. The restaurant is warm and inviting with brick and stone walls, ornate tilework on the walls and along the bar area, warm earth tones such as terra cotta and marigold, and a spanish country feel with large wooden slab communal tables and high backed chairs with wrought iron detailing. The bar area is quite large, and there is also an open kitchen towards the back of the restaurant with seating for those who are interested in watching the chefs create their masterpieces. We started with interesting cocktails which included the Salty Limey Ginny Ting-Gin which got rave reviews from my fellow diner Rebecca. We learned from the bar manager that the limes are cured in salt for at least one week and then turned into a syrup with charred star anise, salt, and basil. We were also intrigued to see "slushitos" on the menu (which is clearly a fancy term for slushees) and to prove that they have fully embraced the concept, Estadio has 7-11 esque slushee machines at the bar. Finally, they offer wine from a Porron, which is a carafe of sorts with a fair warning on the menu to "drink at your own risk".
For our feast we ordered a approximately eight dishes and the dishes came out as they were ready allowing us to eat slowly and to take our time enjoying each bite. The small bite of chorizo, manchego and quince paste was to die for. We also enjoyed the smoked salmon, yogurt, and honey open faced tartine as well as the chicken skewer with Spanish and Indian flavors including curry, mint, and a crisp vinegary slaw. However there were a few favorites at the table that each deserve their own description. The tortilla espanola was my absolute favorite thing on the menu. The dish had the perfect combination of flavors with the egg and potato as well as the peppers on top which provided some spice to the heaviness of the dish. The Marcilla blood sausage was also on the top of the list as it came on a perfectly toasted petite bun with pungent bleu cheese which created a fabulous bite that was hearty but not overwhelming by any means. I could have easily eaten another one of these. Finally, we also tried the halibut with chickpeas and spinach in a romesco sauce and the hen of the woods mushrooms which were salty but crispy adding a nice addition to the meal.
Last but not least it was time for dessert. After much debate with many of the waiters and bartenders we decided to spring for the Creme Catalana and the Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding. The Creme Catalana is a Spanish creme brulee with raspberries on top but this version was much more enjoyable than your average creme brulee. It had an airy and light texture to it making it a perfect ending to a great meal. The bread pudding was also a great choice as it was warm and spongy with a spicy Mexican chocolate undertone making it extremely delectable.
Ultimately, Estadio operated on night one as many restaurants should operate years into their service. The staff was friendly, helpful, polite, and pleasant and the service was fast and the dishes were delivered at a nice pace. The place was packed with Logan Circle locals and for a first night in the midst of a thunderstorm, I'd say Estadio was looking pretty hot. I'd like to personally welcome Estadio to the neighborhood. We are happpy to have you.