Shell Game: Paellas range from classic to seafood to a mushroom-based vegan option. Kevin Marple

Restaurants

Tapas Castile Transports You to Iberia One Small Plate at a Time

The next best thing to a pilgrimage to the hills of Galicia in Spain is a meal at this new Trinity Groves restaurant.

Taking over the spot left behind by Casa Rubia at Trinity Groves, Tapas Castile serves as an enticing gateway to Spain, bridging the contemporary and classic. Co-owners Jessica Kate-Martinez and Kendra Valentine, with backgrounds at FT33 and Casa Rubia, bring you charcuterie and Spanish cheese and their taste of a sun-drenched culture’s food.

First come pintxos, the riches of the Iberian Peninsula assembled into bites of bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue Valdeón—piquant, smoky, sweet—or crisp bread spread with goat cheese then topped with garlicky mojo verde, chopped hazelnuts, and honey. Next, be tempted by tapas: roughly grated tomatoes mounded on grilled bread with a lashing of house-cured lardo; ethereal fried eggplant batons drizzled in honey, their creamy centers like cousins to cotton candy; plump Gulf shrimp, topped with preserved lemon; golden tilefish bathing in an unguent of mojo verde. In that lovely Spanish way, you taste every component that contributes vigor.

Valentine’s talent comes through in flavor pairings and a lyrical sense of place on the plate. That did not save the too-salty pulled pork croquettes filled with velouté over a house-made apple butter. But notice how well bites pair with a glass of a dry white or herbaceous, berry-tinted vermouth. Keep nibbling. And then, if you have saved room, a seafood paella promises the treasured, crispy, scorched-rice socarrat, though the wood-fired dish’s saffron flavor proved wan one evening. Among house-made desserts, an almond cake gives you one more delectable experience—this one a pilgrimage to the hills of Galicia.

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