Taperia Raca: Spanish Tapas on the Upper Eastside (Photos)
Doesn't get any more Spanish than tortilla española.
Photos by Carla Torres
In less than two years, Giorgio Rapicavoli has gone from executive chef at 660 at the Angler's and winning Chopped to making Eating House a pop-up-turned-Miami-mainstay that boasts lines down the block for Wakin-n-Bacon brunch and tang mimosas every Sunday. This past Friday, he -- along with partner and longtime friend Alex Casanova -- opened their second concept: a Spanish tapas joint named Taperia Raca.
Rapicavoli's Argentine-Italian background might have made an Italian eatery the obvious choice, but his time in the kitchens of Chispa, Por Fin, and 660 have prepped him well for this endeavor. Besides, there's really no other Spanish place in MiMo. Short Order headed there to try the dinner offerings. Pictures of tapas galore after the jump.
The menu is divided in two parts -- hot and cold tapas -- with more than you could chew off in each category. Pan con tomate, boquerones (white anchovies), pulpo a la vinagreta, and cachetes de cerdo are some of the authentic Spanish offerings.
In Spain, gazpacho is a big part of the food culture. It's typical to have it daily and as a lead-in to every meal in a small, cup-size portion. We opted for a bowl of the cold summer soup, dubbed gazpacho de Merche ($7). We could have easily had another.
Ensalada de remolacha ($9) translates to beet salad, another dish that's ultra-Spanish. It boasts a Rapicavoli spin, though, with marcona almonds and fig vinegar drizzled on top of the salt-roasted beets. Like the gazpacho, it's cool and refreshing -- perfect for Raca's terrace.
Albaricoques con tocino ($8) wraps Ibérico cheese and apricots with honey in a nice bed of bacon. What more could you possibly want?
Camarones al ajillo ($12) takes your traditional shrimp in garlic sauce and raises you toasted garlic and sherry vinegar, adding a bit of unexpected but welcome potency to the dish.
You won't score a bowl of Rapicavoli's famous pasta carbonara at Raca (or any pasta, for that matter), but you can indulge in some patatas contentas ($11), which are bathed in the same sauce. Traditional Spanish patatas bravas (or heated potatoes) are made even better by drenching them in black truffle, bacon, and Manchego.
Huevos rotos ($11), or "broken eggs," is another traditional potato dish. Similar to the patatas bravas but usually with French fry-style potatoes, these bad boys are topped with Serrano ham, aioli, and a fried egg. As the name suggests, they are meant to be broken, so go ham with that egg and let the yolk disperse through the mountain of potatoes.
Who doesn't love chicken wings? Well, you won't find any here. Instead, you'll get duck wings ($12) à la sweet-and-sour fig and smoked pimenton.
Grilled short ribs ($13) on a bed of romesco with charred onion and fried garlic are tender and delectable.
The steak tartare ($12) is a great cold selection served with toast. It, too, gets a kick from sherry vinegar, fried garlic, and Manchego.
Chistorra a la sidra ($12) fries pork sausage in apple cider and sherry wine.
For dessert, go for the Nutella rice pudding. Think dirt cup on steroids.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha
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