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Calamar a la Parrilla en su Tinta (Rhode Island squid grilled with ink sauce, finished with garlic and parsley).
Scott Suchman

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Inside Downtown’s New Casa Teresa, a Top Spanish Chef’s Tribute to Home

Chef Rubén García’s deeply personal project opens on Monday, November 6

Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Spanish chef Rubén García’s anticipated flagship restaurant and tapas bar brings the downtown corridor a lively new destination for live-fire cooking. Casa Teresa is the first solo venture for the José Andrés Group vet of 16 years, who got avant-garde Minibar its pair of Michelin stars along the way.

Casa Teresa is styled to resemble the rustic farmhouse its Catalán chef Rubén García grew up in.
Scott Suchman

Casa Teresa anchors the Square, downtown’s ambitious new food market spearheaded by García and fellow Andrés alum Richie Brandenburg (1850 K Street NW). For his breakout debut, the Catalán chef goes back in time to revive ancestral recipes of the culinary matriarchs he grew up around in Terrassa, Spain. Casa Teresa celebrates time-honored cooking traditions of Basque Country and Catalonia with family-style feasts — think whole fish and pass-the-plate meats like a 16-ounce bone-in Roseda Farm ribeye — grilled over open flames and oak charcoal.

“There’s no better way to go back to my roots than go back to the most basic style of cooking, which is fire,” the Catalán chef told Eater.

Whole Amish chicken sourced from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Scott Suchman

The homey hearth also carves out room to simply prepare local vegetables over the embers. Highlights include grilled artichoke with romesco sauce; slow-cooked potatoes finished with beef fat, parsley, and garlic; and roasted eggplants, onions, and red peppers with escalivada dressing. A Jamón Ibérico cart dedicated to live carvings of Spain’s prized pig joins a selection of imported cheeses like Manchego and slow-cooked stews sparked by old family recipes.

Opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Book a table via OpenTable.

Botifarra Catalana amb Seques (grilled homemade Catalan sausage served with navy beans and aioli).
Scott Suchman
Pescado del Día (whole fish of the day cooked over cherry wood, Donostiarra-style).
Scott Suchman

Starters and sides that remind him of home include salt-cured anchovies from the Cantabrian sea, croquetas mimicking his mom’s creamy chicken and bechamel fritters, and beef fat-fried potatoes like his aunt Chavela used to make. Four types of salsas engineered with olive oil make multiple appearances from start to finish.

Desserts include goat cheese burnt Basque-style cheesecake with walnuts and lemon sorbet with a Cava float.

Acorn-fed Jamón Ibérico de Bellota is a star of the show, surrounded by pan con tomate and fritters.
Scott Suchman
El Flan de la Capitana (homemade flan served with oloroso whipped cream).
Scott Suchman

A 95-seat, terracotta-toned dining room designed by award-winning Barcelona firm El Equipo Creativo conjures memories of his upbringing. “The heart of the house is the kitchen — it heats the house in winter and is where the family stands around and stories are shared,” he says.

As such, a big open kitchen in the center of Casa Teresa carves out room for an intimate, 12-seat “Teresa’s Table” that encourages chatty chef-guest interactions over tastings.

A four-course tasting option ($105) takes diners on a trip to his homeland, complete with theatrical intermissions like cava poured from a porrón. A neutral-toned private dining nook framed with wine seats 18 guests.

Casa Teresa’s full-service central bar with room for 32 goes big on Spanish vermouth, gins, sherry, and red wines. Highlights from bar director Owen Thompson include a Bandarra Vermouth and sour orange soda and Tarragona Manhattan with rye, BCN Vermut, Yellow Chartreuse, and Antostura.

An abundant bottle list from wine director Sarah Vanags romps around all corners of Spain, with a particular emphasis on women-owned wineries.

Wines swing from crisp Albariños native to the northern coast to robust Tempranillos from Rioja.
Scott Suchman
A Catalan High Ball built with Byrrh and Ford’s Sloe Gin.
Scott Suchman
Casa Teresa is open for lunch and dinner out of the gate.
Scott Suchman

Casa Teresa is named for his great grandmother Teresa Espinosa Moreno — a female and labor rights activist during a tumultuous time for Spain when dictator Francisco Franco took power in 1939.

“To put her name on the entrance comes with a big responsibility. We are still having to fight for equality for everyone [today],” he says.

He plans to use his deeply personal project as a platform to support female wine producers and farms. Look for locally sourced beef, poultry, and vegetables, plus a dry-aging program in-house.

After spending five years at Catalonia’s three-Michelin-starred modernist marvel El Bulli, García met fellow El Bulli alum Andrés and took his career to the U.S. As creative director of Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup (now José Andrés Group), García helped build up its coast-to-coast restaurant empire before leaving in early 2020 to pursue his own endeavor.

García and Unfold Hospitality partner Brandenburg are currently filling out the surrounding Square food hall with 16 vendors that include tacos (Taqueria Xochi), top-rated sushi, an oyster bar and cafe from D.C. industry vets Ann Cashion and Johnny Fulchino, a Peruvian pad from Causa chef Carlos Delgado, and multiple Spanish stalls.

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