Kelly the Culinarian: My meal at El Tapeo Oakbrook Center

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My meal at El Tapeo Oakbrook Center

I was recently contacted by the PR team behind El Tapeo, a Spanish tapas place located in the Le Meridien in Oakbrook Center. They're hosting an Easter brunch at El Tapeo next weekend and invited me to partake in their offerings. In addition to tapas and a really nice view on the ninth floor of the hotel, the restaurant has an expansive menu offering seafood, steaks and signature cocktails. It's also a very sleek space that feels like it belongs in a sophisticated downtown locale. It's nice to have something so upscale and romantic this close to home, meaning I don't have to fork over cash for parking or worry about how I'll get home.

After a warm welcome from the staff and a review of the menu with the head chef, we were ready to get to the first course of every meal: cocktails!

We got the Mediterranean pink lady and the Paraiso, as well as a number of pre-dinner tapas. From the top: bacon-covered stuffed dates, Palpo (grilled marinated octopus) and the mushroom croquettes with cilantro sauce. I enjoyed the dates, which contained marcona almonds, which were a crunchy contrast. The tomato sauce they came with was also fantastic. The vegetables served with the octopus were also really tasty. Moving on, the next course was my favorite: Spanish-style charcuterie featuring the most delectable black footed iberico pig, an assortment of olives, pickled green beans and toasted bread rounds. It was so good alongside the white wine sangria. The combo would be an awesome happy hour offering.
Why bother with lettuce when this salad has seafood?! Our salad course was a jumbo lump crab salad with avocado, blood orange gelle, chervil and toast points. It was so creamy and the seasoning on the toast complemented the salad accouterments.
For the main course, the chef recommended the paella, and when in Spain ... we order the paella, obviously. It had a little bit of everything in it - lobster, mussels, shrimp and clams over seasoned rice, served in a giant pan perfect for sharing.
On the recommendation of yelp, we ordered the seasoned potatoes, which were topped with creme freche and a tomato sauce. We also went for the setas, which is  wild mushrooms, garlic, fresh herbs and cana de cabra cheese, which I thought worked well with the earthy flavor of the mushrooms.
And finally, dessert. I didn't care that I would need to get rolled out of that place. The answer to dessert is always yes at a place like this. We went for the manchego cheesecake and the chocolate pastry, which was a lava cake served with pistachio ice cream. Paired with the espresso, the dish was molten chocolate bliss. It came with caramelized bananas and some crunchy bits under the ice cream, which was a nice contrast of textures throughout the dish.

Thanks, El Tapeo, for the awesome meal and service. Learn more about El Tapeo's Easter brunch and experience it for yourself.

1 comment:

Losing Lindy said...

You are always of doing the coolest stuff.