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At this end of Park (where it T’s into Adams Avenue), you usually think Mexican (El Zarape), Ethiopian (Muzita), or Persian (Soltán Banoo).

But last night I took the Extra Step, and boldly walked almost to Adams.

That’s where I caught this little place (okay, the restaurants all look little, up here in University Heights) with a sign in its window:

“Gazpacho.”

It’s one of those cold Spanish soups. Love it.

Also says “Specializing in the regional foods of Spain, France, Italy.” Also “Paella Saturday” on a big sign.

Man, how could I have missed this before?

So I end up inside Savory Deli and Market (4661 Park Boulevard), a small space that’s half deli, half eatery. Festooned with actual flags. French, Italian, Sicilian, Corsican.

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French, Corsican flags

Good vibe.

But erk, no more gazpacho. They’re out. Menu’s mainly sandwiches and soups and salads. But then the guy serving, Mike, says they may have some Beef Bourgignon left.

Twelve dollars. A lot for me. But I’d walk a mile for a good beef bourgignon. Danger is, it often turns out to be just a watery stew. But when it’s good, it's really good. And this is terrific. Beefy, winey, garlicky, with lots of pearl onions, shrooms, ham -- pancetta, a kind of prosciutto (Ed later adds: but maybe not. See comment #2 below)-- to sex it up, plus big chunks of fall-away beef.

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“My partner Julius marinated it in burgundy wine and slow cooked it all day,” says Mike.

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Mike

Taste buds tell you it has to be true. Turns out these two spent years living in Paris, Marseilles, and places in Italy and Spain. Taught themselves the cooking. This is the result.

Plate comes with delicious green beans and sliced potato, bread.

Mike says for their sandwiches they use a 500-year-old recipe for Romagna flatbread called piadina, which they bake fresh with each sandwich they make -- like for the $7.50 piadina prosciutto -- so it comes straight out of the oven, steaming hot.

’Course the bread for my plate’s French, good for sopping up.

“Oh man,” I say. “If you only had some nice cheap red plonk to go with it.”

“We will, real soon,” Mike promises. “We’ve been working on that for two years.”

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Comments

Groucho Aug. 11, 2011 @ 11:21 a.m.

Hi Ed, I live in the neighborhood. It looks like you did not try the paella. Well, I did. It is not very good. It was plain, devoid of flavor, color and the consistency of the rice was too sticky. It wasn't like any paella I tried before. I to lived in Europe. But that doesn't mean it makes you a good chef. The paella did not have any of the saffron color nor flavor. I'm not sure if they used bomba rice or calasparra. It definitely was not a traditional mixed or Valencia style paella. The broth at the base suffered from lack of flavor. It had chunks of meat. But to be honest I can't recall what the meat was. Overall, it was a negative experience and did not approximate a traditional experience. If you want a good Valencia style paellla try El Prado Restaurant in Balboa Park or House of Spain's paella. Those are paella worthy dishes. Groucho

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Ed Bedford Aug. 11, 2011 @ 3:53 p.m.

Hi Groucho,

Actually I've tried to love paella in general. Found it okay but, honestly, not that tastebud thrilling. I saw they sell little boxes of Spanish saffron threads at the restaurant, so they definitely have it. Haven't been on their Paella Saturday, but I should. And to El Prado and House of Spain. See how they match. Except how epensive are they? Maybe that's why paella and I haven't met that often. Anybody else love paella? Thanks for the insights. I've learned a lot.

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ncboy Aug. 11, 2011 @ 3:27 p.m.

hi ed, just wanted you to know that pancetta isn't a kind of prosciutto. it's pork belly that is salted and peppered (and usually rolled up). while prosciutto is a boars hind leg that has been salted and hug to cure for various times.

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Ed Bedford Aug. 11, 2011 @ 4:14 p.m.

Hi ncboy. Wow. Talk about learning on the job. Hmm. Different body parts. Quick google here...Food Network...Wiki..pancetta generally called "Italian bacon," prosciutto, "Italian ham." Does that sound right to you? Thanks!

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