After a few soft-opening dinners over the weekend, Spinasse and Artusi owner, Jason Stratton, is finally ready to launch Aragona. She opens to the public tonight at 5pm for dinner, with lunch service following in the coming weeks. Chef (and Top Chef contestant) Carrie Mashaney is helming the kitchen.
A quick peek at the menu proves invigorating: a salad of shigoku oysters, pear and endive; beef tongue en escabeche with currants and capers; a Catalan stew with black cod, almonds, tomato and artichoke; and that dramatic slate-hued rice with squid meatballs, baby turnips and black breadcrumbs we told you about a few weeks back.
There are also assorted caprichos (the translation is "passing fancy" or "craving," but they're essentially tapas) such as quail eggs with mojama (dried, cured tuna, pictured); migas; lomo Iberico; flatbread with sardines; and tortilla with Jerusalem artichokes.
For dessert, Clare Gordon (late of Portland's Ava Gene's) brings us olive oil ice cream rolled in bread crumbs, cocoa nibs and thyme, and sweet Catalan flabread with persimmon and goat cheese (along with a few more offerings).
Lest we forget the cocktails: here, Coca Cola ice cubes anchor the Cuba Liberada (which, along with El Dorado Superior White rum, also has a splash of Ron Barceló Añejo),and there are three versions of gin and tonic, all with superior gin and small-batch tonic. Or opt for the drink perhaps most suited to the season, the Viaje del Corso, with Estrella Damm lager, Vermouth di Torino, orange bitters and nutmeg.