"I have a great 'greasy spoon' memory, in Spain, of course! When I first arrived in Madrid in 1984, my Spanish was poor but my appetite great. The bustling tapas bars and lovely restaurants beckoned, but intimidated more. Surely full sentences and cultural savvy were required! Instead I took my shame and my grumbling tummy to the 'Cafeteria Nebraska' on the Gran Via because I found the backlit signs with numbered plates of food more navigable than the earthenware pans of mushrooms, sausages, bivalves, and squid cousins. The fluorescent lights in the Cafeteria Nebraska were horrifying, as was the smell of grease.
'Platos combinados' — combined plates — were the thing to order, a plate with three or four things on it. I chose one that looked like sausages, fried eggs, french fries, and sautéed greens, the 'Numero 3.' The only discernible flavors were grease and salt — a complete affront to what I quickly learned to be Spanish food. The next day I strode into a tapas bar and bravely shouted out my orders across the crowd to the bartender. He smiled and started handing me little dishes and a bonus glass or two of Rioja. Each of the seven little dishes I devoured was fresh, flavorful, and fantastic, and I never looked back."
"Fourteen years later I opened a Spanish tapas restaurant in Brookline, MA, and one of my most popular dishes is the Plato Combinado, a decadent but decidedly non-greasy version of combined plates you can still get in Spain. We serve two grilled pork loin slices (in a paprika, oregano, and fine olive oil-based marinade), two fried eggs, and a handful of home-made French fries. Dip your fries in the egg yolk for the comfort food of a lifetime — without the grease! $16, always on the menu."
· All coverage of Taberna de Haro on Eater [~EBOS~]
· All coverage of Greasy Spoons Week on Eater [~EBOS~]
[Photo: Taberna de Haro, Yelp/wing n.]