I don’t know how qualified I am to review fine dining establishments due to the fact that I have never served as a professional chef in any capacity and I have no degrees from prestigious, food related universities. However, I am the worlds foremost authority on what tastes good to me. And as far as my taste buds are concerned, the National is A-OK with me.
The first Dish my friend and I had was the patatas (or papas) Bravas. Originating in Spain, they are basically the Spanish equivalent of french fries soaked in brine before being fried. These come smothered in a spicy tomato/ red pepper sauce and garlic alioli. I don’t know if its my love for potato or my appreciation for doing the simple things well, but this was my favorite dish all nite. Spicy, savory, wonderful. This is evidenced by the picture.
The Next Dish I had was a local beet salad. Again it was delicious from Beets to dressing. Again I committed a blogger fail and forgot to take a picture before consuming a large portion of it. The marriage of the savory cheese with the nuts, with the extremely sweet beets worked perfectly with the sweet and sour dressing. Once again, the basics won my heart… or stomach… or whatever.
My entrée was a squid stuffed with veggies and all sorts of other goodness accompanied by saffron rice. This dish was pretty good, but oddly enough left me wanting much more as compared to the previous ones. It had what tasted like a great deal of butter or oil in it and it was not as flavorful as my previous dishes. Don’t get me wrong, the dish was successful, but the two previous ones were sublime so I left feeling a bit empty… and still hungry. More on that later.
On the whole, the food at The National is good, but the portions are small and its expensive. It is also very small and almost impossible to find a parking spot downtown, but you can blame them for the parking situation as much as you can blame them for the weather. For my money, I prefer Big City Bread for fine dining, but only by hair because it is easier to get a seat and slightly cheaper. That being said, The National is a wonderful place to go for special occasions and the “crowded space” I complain about also gives it a unique character all its own. Overall I really liked my experience at the National and I will be back next time I’m celebrating something.