Arlington / Spanish / $$$
Tapas are great. They can be better than great. But there is far more to Spanish food than tapas. As the name of SER suggests—it means “to be” in Spanish, but it also stands for “simple, easy, real”—Spanish food at its best is ingredient-driven, fresh and focused on flavor. Sometimes, you crave more of a dish than a small plate can provide.
Case in point is the presa de cerdo Ibérico ahumada, a full-size dish of smoked pork. The centerpiece is densely marbled and crusty seared meat that melts in your mouth like wagyu, a wisp of smoke defining the flavor of each bite. It sits atop an orange pool of mojo picón, a sauce that balances earthy cumin and luminous vinegar, elevating each bite of pork and the soft Canarian-style papas arrugadas—multicolored potatoes that add an additional burst of flavor to the plate.
It’s far from a tapa, but you’ll still wish you could order more than one just to keep experiencing its wonders. Luckily, there’s far more to love. From pans of paella to churros dipped in intensely cacao-flavored chocolate mousse, there’s lots to help you indulge your taste for Spanish flair.
See This: The letters S, E and R are displayed in lights above the kitchen, which is viewable through a small window. A collection of hams hangs nearby, priming diners for good things to come.
Eat This: Croquetas de puchero, presa de cerdo Ibérico ahumada, churros con chocolate
When to Visit: Barcelona beckons, but you and your guests are hungry now.
This post originally appeared in our November 2020 issue’s Best Restaurants cover story. For more food reviews, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.