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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Casa Rubia

This past Friday, I was invited by a friend to a gathering of foodies at Casa Rubia in Trinity Groves. She told me it was going to be a group of foodies, friends, and friends of friends, and I could bring some people. So I asked 3 of my friends to join me, who I'd thought would enjoy the food. :) They specialize in Spanish cuisine. I have always wanted to go to Casa Rubia. Out of all the places in Trinity Groves, that was the main one I wanted to try. So, yay!

Casa Rubia
3011 Gulden Ln.
Dallas, TX 75212
(469) 513-6349
Price: $$$-$$$$

The reservation was at 8pm. My friends and I arrived about 15 minutes early so we just hung out at the bar. They all ordered drinks. Sangria, some sort of Blueberry fizz drink, Sparkling Sangria. None of them were my thing, but they all enjoyed them.

The restaurant is fairly small. But they have a big patio dining area. I saw that 2 long tables in front of the kitchen were empty. I figured one of those was for our group. A few people were running late so we just hung out at the bar a little longer. We later realized that half the other group was already there. So we made our introductions. The restaurant never once pressured us to get everyone there to seat us, so I thought that was pretty cool. Finally, we sat around 8:30pm. We had a total of 11 people. Everyone seemed to be getting along just peachy, considering it was 3 different groups of friends. :) Food always brings friends together.

We decided to do family style for the entire table, which is what they recommend anyways since it's tapas style. The guy that made the reservation took charge and ordered for everyone.

Manchego, Mahon, Cana de Cabra, San Simon, Idiazabal, Valdeon
Tasting Queso Plate $24~

Fermin Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Lomo Embuchado, Chorizo Picante, Lardo Iberico de Bellota, Jamon Serrano, Mousse de Higado con Macetilla Vinaigre, Fermin Salchichon de Bellota
Tasting Embutido Plate $33~

We got the tasting plate for both the cheese and meat. It came on this hefty wood board, looked super impressive. It also came with some bread. I sat in the middle of the long table so I got a good look at everything! :P Everyone just dug in! There were so many different things and none of us knew what was what. haha. I got to try several different types of cheeses and meats. Honestly, I can't tell you what anything is. But my favorite was this pepper wrapped in some sort of fatty meat... I'd guess it was the Jamon Serrano.

Bread with Tomato and Garlic
This wasn't on the menu but was requested by one of the ladies in the group. She was Colombian and was speaking Spanish with the waiter. He said they can totally do this. There was a name for it... starts with "M"? But I can't remember for the life of me. This was sooooo good. The bread was soft but had a really nice crunchy crust. The tomatoes and garlic spread had so much flavor. I'm gonna have to keep this picture to show the restaurant when I go back next time!

We got 2 of each of the hot dishes since we had so many people. The portions of each is not super big but was just the perfect amount for everyone to share.

Alcachofas (crispy artichokes, meyer lemon, fresno chile, mojama, saffron aioli) $12~
Baby artichokes are so cute! Each one is bite sized. So yummy. Not at all tough like artichokes can sometimes be. Great flavors from the chile and aioli as well.

Pulpo a la Plancha (Spanish octopus, duck fat potatoes, pickled onions, smoked tomato-Jerez vinaigrette) $16~ 
This was the one thing I really wanted to try. Not only did it not disappoint, it totally exceeded expectations. The octopus was cooked perfectly... sooo tender. And the dish was just exploding with flavors between the char on the octopus, the duck fat potatos, and the sauce. Best dish of the night, but only by a little since everything else was also delicious. Definitely a must order!

Rossejat (toasted fideos, chistorra, gulf shrimp, crispy calamari, charred citrus aioli) $15~ 
I also wanted to try this one. I saw a preparation for fideos on the Travel Channel once and have wanted to try it since then. It's like short pieces of pasta that's been sauteed and crisped up in the dish. Very interesting. The shrimp and calamari on top paired well with the fideos and sauce. Another winner.

Paella del Dia (market price) 
Only available for 4 guests or more. We knew we wanted to get this. It comes in this gigantic pan. The waiter told us it takes 35-40 minutes to make this. So it was going to be our last dish. Initially we were contemplating getting 2, but my friend who's been there said it's A LOT and quite heavy. I'm so glad we only got one. They plated it out for us since our group was so big. That entire pot made 12 plates! And each portion was actually quite big. 
It was soooo awesome looking! It was topped with a bunch of (I think) kale, peas, mussels, clams, shrimp and an entire chicken. I haven't had much paella in my life but this was great. I had heard some no so great reviews on it, but for us, it was delicious. The rice was perfectly cooked. I've had previous ones where the rice was too mushy or undercooked. This had good texture. The chicken was the star for me. Super tender and lots of flavor. If you have a group of 4 or more, don't skip this. Plus, it certainly makes for an impressive photo! :P It capped the night off just perfectly. Everyone was content, and I was surprisingly not exploding like I normally am. hehe.

We decided to go to the Cake Bar to get dessert, but one guy wanted to get something here. Pan Calatrava (vanilla bean flan, texas blueberry, almond bread pudding, ginger ice cream, sea salt caramel) $8.50~ 
Everyone got to take a few bites... some more than others.. *ahem*me*ahem* haha. It was another winner. The portion was bigger than I expected. And it was excellent. The bread pudding had the most amazing crust and caramelization on top. The flan was creamy and contrasted the bread pudding texture well. The waiter poured the caramel on top. I always like tableside presentation. Loved it! I'm glad he spoke up and got a dessert when no one else did. hehe.

It was a fantastic meal. And we made some new friends. :) Thanks to the guy that ordered for the group, it was just the perfect amount and guess what... it came out to be $32 a person. What?!?! Yea... and that's including all the booze too. Wow. Ah-MAH-Zing!!! I will definitely be back. In fact, I already have a reservation for next weekend. hehe.

Quality of Food: 4.5
Service: 4
Ambiance: 4
Value: 4.5
Overall Experience: 4

Oh yea... here's some of the cakes we got at Cake Bar. All super moist and delicious. You can get a slice a la mode (vanilla or chocolate ice cream). The Chocolate cake was the best. 

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake 

Key Lime Cake (a la mode)

Chocolate Cake (a la mode)


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