This cozy spot is run by a husband-and-wife team with lots of experience in local restaurants: Xavier Miro, who is from Barcelona, was previously the general manager at Chic From Barcelona, and his wife, Catalina Ocampo, who is from Colombia, worked at La Duni. Together they have opened Cava, with a Latin-inspired menu that includes tapas, salads, sandwiches, entrées, and dessert. The dining room is never crowded, which is a bit scary in this economy, but the customers who were in the restaurant when we visited were well-acquainted with the food and their hosts. Two men at a neighboring table chatted with Miro about his cooking technique for basmati rice. (They liked it so much they bought a couple of pounds to take with them.) The tapas list is routine. They offer the standard Spanish tortilla and a moist omelet flavored with onions and potatoes and roasted piquillo peppers, which are simply sautéed in olive oil and garlic. The best dish we sampled was the Amazing Artichokes—tiny fried fritters drizzled with an avocado sauce infused with fennel and stuffed with goat cheese. Entrées were so-so. What is billed as Dover sole was priced at only $21.95 and included a fistful of the aforementioned basmati rice. The mild fish was tender and covered with a light lemon champagne sauce and topped with capers. The dish was pleasant but not worth a drive across town. Perhaps the loyal people of Preston Royal will keep Cava afloat in these turbulent economic times. Otherwise, this mom-and-pop neighborhood spot could disappear.

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