My sweetie and I checked out the brand new Cosmo Tapas, in east Nob Hill tonight. They're in the old Martini Grill space at Central and Sierra. They've only been open since Monday, but you wouldn't know it based on the food, drinks, atmosphere or service. It's a pretty smooth operation and absolutely enjoyable.
To start, we chose a couple of drinks from their mixed drink menu. My sweetie had a Huaso, which is essentially a pisco sour. Pisco is like a grape brandy, which is the national beverage of both Chile and Peru. It was so good, I had one myself for our second round. I started off with a Caesar, which was limoncello, campari, soda and some maraschino cherry. It was sweet and refreshing. There are only a handful of mixed drinks on the menu, but all sound worth a try. The wine list is extensive and the beers on tap include a Marble red (Marble brewery is a fav in our household) and a Santa Fe Porter.
Food! We spent a long time perusing the menu, which is divided into sections for appetizers, seafood, meat, and vegetables. The great thing about tapas is that you order one or two and then repeat until full. We had the mixed olives, which turned out to be an enormous serving of tasty varieties, some pitted, but some not, so beware if you have sensitive teeth. We also tried the traditional plate of Serrano ham and manchego, or spanish cheese. I spent the first couple weeks of June in Spain and I became inordinately fond of jamon iberico while there, so I was disappointed not to see it at Cosmo. (I did a little research when I got home and found out that these two types of cured ham come from different pigs and the Jamon Iberico is a lot pricier.) However, the Serrano was quite tasty, especially paired with the manchego. I do hope that sometime we see a special which includes iberico (hint, hint, if anyone from Cosmo is out there).
My sweetie also tried a Chilean empanada, which is a savory baked version filled with beef, beans, and a couple other tasty ingredients. He declared it delicious. We also tried the lanza de carne with chimichurri, which is a skirt steak served with a green sauce from Argentina, made with parsley and other veg and seasonings. That was good too. Though they have an enticing dessert menu, we finished our meal with a tapa of medjool dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon. The combination of flavors was amazing, as the sweet dates played a nice counterpart to the pungent cheese and salty bacon. It was really rich and I think we'll start with that one next time. For me, however, the best tapa of the evening was the tortilla, a spanish dish of potato and egg, served here with a really garlic-y aioli. It was absolutely delicious, and I loved it in particular because it tasted exactly like the tortilla which was a favorite of mine while traveling in Spain.
As we finished our meal, the owner came by to introduce himself. He's Guillermo Loubriel and he runs the place with his wife Cecilia Kido, who is apparently the genius behind the menu. They've created a lovely space, bright and colorful and welcoming. The service was great, particularly as our waitress seemed to know a lot about the different tapas.
Sometimes you go to a new restaurant and you think "hey, nothing we tried was bad." We walked out of Cosmo saying to each other "everything we tried was good and some of it was really great." I admit to making a mental list of the things we didn't eat this time around that we're definitely ordering next time. It's wonderful to anticipate a new restaurant's opening and then have such an overwhelmingly positive experience on our first visit. I'd love to see this place survive and thrive, so si quiere ir de tapas or if you're interested in trying them for the first time, please check out this restaurant. The address is 4200 Central and their phone is 232-0535. (They have a web address at cosmotapas.com, but their site doesn't seem to be up yet.) Good luck Cosmo! We'll be back.