Portugal: Right off the Bone

You ever go to a restaurant and think “I am pretty sure they kill people out back?”  Well this was that restaurant.

Tavira (Tavirarestaurant.com) is a hard to find Portuguese restaurant hidden in an office building in Chevy Chase.  The decor was from the 1970s and hasn’t changed since.  The staff and other patrons all looked like they had been there since the same era.  Very surprisingly, the food was so. freaking. good!

The main reason we chose Tavira was because they offered a variety of dishes through a “Taste of Portugal” menu.  Not only was this  better for our taste adventure but Bridget didn’t have to make choices.  (Which if you don’t know her, choices aren’t her favorite things.)

To start we ordered a couple of Portuguese drinks.  I ordered a glass of Super Bock, a Portuguese brewed beer.  As you can see below it’s a golden lager.  Bridget ordered a glass of Portuguese red wine.  Both went excellently with dinner.

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Now we start our adventure of flavors from Portugal.  The ‘Taste of Portugal’ menu was a 3 course meal.  We each started with a different dish as our appetizer.  Bridget ordered Portugal’s national soup: Caldo Verde. This consists of shredded kale, onions, potatoes & olive oil, garnished with chouriço.

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I ordered steamed mussels that were in a tomato and white wine sauce called Mexilhoes na Cataplana.  The most fun about this dish was the copper bowl it was served in.  Very old fashioned and reminded me of something my grandmother would have at home.

For an entree we went different ways.  Bridget ordered the Frango a Piri-piri. This dish sounded familiar with the piri-piri sauce.  We realized this is the same sauce used at a local chicken joint called Nando’s.  However, Tavira’s sauce was so much better on the cornish hen that was served.  Also made were pickled veggies and fresh homemade potato chips.

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Most of the other items of the menu were fish but I found something that was landlocked and boy was I happy with this choice.  I ordered Pernil de Porco a Madeirense, a braised pork shank.  The pork shank was cooked like Ossobuco, an italian style of pork shank.  It was braised in a white wine sauce and sitting on a bed of white beans.  The pork was the best thing I might of eaten in this adventure and peeled off the bone with a fork.

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We were completely stuffed after these 2 courses but sadly had to get dessert (not so sadly.)  We both split the 2 desserts that were available and were happy with the choices.  We ordered a chocolate cake with ice cream, Bolo de Chocolate com Gelado, which I am not sure is very Portuguese. The other dish was a traditional Portuguêse caramel custard called Pudim Flan.

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After having trouble finding this hidden restaurant in the basement of a business center and not sure if we would make it out alive, we ate well and survived.  Portugal was a huge success and I kill for them if asked just to eat that pork off the bone again.

-Matt

 

 

 

 

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