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The Early Word on Dupont Circle's New Boqueria

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R. Lopez

Boqueria, the New York City tapas hot spot, has just opened its highly anticipated first-ever DC branch. The digs here are larger than the NYC counterparts and boast a spacious patio too. Marc Vidal, a Spanish chef who was a semifinalist for a Beard award and worked at El Bulli, is heading up the kitchen. Chef Vidal is working with local chef Brian Murphy, his chef de cuisine. Now it's time for the early word.

The Straight Up Rave: One Yelper writes in with an overly exuberant review. "Boqueria has only been open for a few days (since Thursday 3/15) and I have already made a point to visit twice. The service was great. Everyone was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. The location of the restaurant is convenient, located in the heart of Dupont. It has a large bar overlooking the Dupont scene, and a patio for outdoor seating. The way the tables are organized invites conversation and passing the delicious food and it also has a large back room for private events. f its location and service are not enough of a draw, then consider the really good stuff, the food! I've sampled way too much Cojonudo (Fried Qual Eggs and Chorizo on toast....these are phenomenal) and Datiles con Beicon (dates wrapped with bacon). These two tapas alone will get me coming back for more." [Yelp]

The Short But Sweet News: Blogger Wen posts a slew of pictures and writes, "New tapas spot in DC. Food and drinks were excellent!" [Wen]

Good News: An Eater commenter writes in about their great experience: "had the pleasure to see the place and try the food - beautiful restaurant, very tasty plates (don't sleep on the churros con chocolate). I think Boqueria stacks up favorably in comparison with other Spanish offerings in the city (notably fellow el bulli alum, Jose Andres). The ingredients in the tapas were very flavorful and fresh tasting and the preparation was authentic (from my eating experiences living in Spain). You really can't beat a bar that has a leg of jamon serrano behind the counter and serves up sangria and cortados with equal skill. The atmosphere and set up of the restaurant was impressive - slick decor and huge windows overlooking the street, walls lined with wine, good music, that big bar that welcomes you as you walk in - yet comfortable, well spaced with warm colors, and those big windows makes it feel like part of the city." [Eater]

The Not so Great News: One Yelper takes the time to write up her thoughts on her expensive meal, noting there is room for improvement. "We started on a positive note, and $140 later(w/1 drink), ended with some Julia's Empanadas to fill that void. I was pleased at the fact that my party of 3 didn't have to wait for a table, and the staffs were friendly. As far as food, the highlight of the night were the Razor clams... all 4 of them. That's it! ...The grilled baby octopus came with a tossed salad of sort that came with 3 or 4 pieces of grilled calamari scattered around the salad itself. This left me heart broken bc I had expected so much more. A few nights prior, at Estadio, I had the grilled calamari there, and it came with a whole plate's full of calamari that was made to perfection. They technically didn't need to wash the plate after i was done with it. We then had the blistered Shishito peppers that left us wanting more... literally! There were maybe a dozen peppers total in one order, and although it was made well, I expected more of them. At Estadio, they give you at least 50% more peppers for a dollar less, which brings me to a conclusion that Estadio is a better tapas restaurant for me. We had several other dishes that i don't care to bring up, bc they were also quite forgettable." [Yelp]

The Great Booze News: The Drink Nation files a review and calls Boqueria "a welcome addition to a downtown drinking scene otherwise dominated by cheap swill and overpriced steak joint martinis." They continue, "Consider this your new post-work drink destination; an interesting selection of cavas and Spanish wines provide an antidote to a frenzied day, while the bite-sized menu options — the bacon-wrapped dates and patatas bravas are especially good — are perfect for sharing with coworkers...Our favorite libation is the white sangria. Made with rum, it’s the most traditional of the three offerings, which also include a rose version made with tequila and a red version made with gin...we predict Boqueria will quickly become a favorite destination of the downtown set." [The Drink Nation]

The Bad News: Two other Eater commenters aren't so into the space. Says one, "Disappointing. Perfect fit for the nonexistent DC restaurant scene." And another: "From my visit, I'm wondering how dinner will work. The tables seem more comfortable/sized for drinks and appetisers than having a meal. I know dishes will keep on coming as they are ready, rather than all at once. It will be interesting to see it in action." [Eater Comnents]

More Short and Sweet: There aren't a whole lot of Foursquare tips yet, but one user writes, "Try the Red Sangria ( or the white), Tortilla Espanola (Egg omelette), & Pintxos Morunis (Colorado Lamb skewers)." Meanwhile, here's a quick Twitter rave: "Awesome dinner @boqueria DC. Loved the bacon wrapped dates, cheeses, croquettes, razor clams and oysters #stuffed." [Foursquare; Twitter]

—Sarah Rose


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