Since Carlos Matto and Begoñe Tuya opened Xixón on Coral Way in 2001, they wanted to serve a tasting menu. Unfortunately, the aspiration fell victim to the beloved Spanish institution's success, because it thrice moved to largers locations to satisfy demand. "It's something we always thought about and wanted to do, but it takes a good deal of coordination," Matto says.
In 2010, they moved a block from their space that seemed to dedicate more real estate to Spanish ham and wine than it did
But with a larger kitchen now run by Catalan import Tomas Cuadrado, they were ready to take the leap. New Times was invited for a preview of the menu. The $45-per-person menu launched last Friday and is available by reservation only.
In creating the menu that will change on a
The seven-course meal begins with razor thin slices of shrimp dotted with garlicky aioli, Maldon salt, and a good dose of fruity Spanish olive oil. A few spheres of inky
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Next it's on to a roulade of house smoked salmon wrapped around a slug of tart goat cheese. It conjures up memories of a bagel and lox sandwich. However the plate is scattered with a sugary Pedro Ximenez reduction that pulls you into another place where you're nearly intoxicated by the sweet-salty contrast.
The next dish could pass
Cuadrado also pays homage to Spain's fisherman with his rendition of the Catalan seafood stew called suquet. "It's what fisherman eat while they're out on a long trip," he says. "A bowl or two of this and you can work all day." His version is a little more dainty, with a velvety, tacky broth with enough saffron and paprika that it's aroma clings to your shirt long after the plate is cleared.
The final savory course
A pre-dessert of thinly sliced pineapple served with a creamy, house-made pistachio ice cream serves as a palate cleanser to prepare for the final course. This was the lone plate that could have used some tweaking. Had the translucent pineapple perhaps been grilled to create a bit of caramelization and sprinkled with a touch of salt it would've been near perfect.
The meal ends on a sweet succinct note. Melted bittersweet chocolate is encased inside a greaseless fritter that explodes as you cut into it. Gather it up on your fork with some of the chocolate "dirt" made of crushed home made cookies and a bit of the kitchen's vanilla ice cream. A sip of sweet dessert wine will set you right for the road.