Photos By Nicholas Karlin, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
Tapas options should be in more neighborhoods, especially in neighborhoods with large office populations. Food that isn’t fast casual and doesn’t require an hour long sit down meal seems ideal for D.C. Add alcohol and it makes perfect sense as an ideal lunch option. Calle Cinco is D.C.’s newest tapas option. It’s one of D.C.’s few tapas options. It’s not open for lunch.
Calle Cinco opens at 4 p.m. everyday. This might be a good thing since the entire idea behind tapas is eating to keep drinking and romanticizing liquid lunches is an unhealthy idea.
There are a few staples you want on every tapas menu. Olives, chorizo, and seafood should be there. It’s well represented on Calle Cinco’s consistently changing menu. The chorizo and shrimp were highlights on our first visit. The chorizo is spreadable and savory, great on toasted bread. The gambas al ajillo, fresh shrimp with garlic, cheese and toasted bread, was our favorite savory dish. Be aware, it packs a spicy punch.
We didn’t think we’d recommend the desserts at a tapas restaurant but here we are. The churros with dark chocolate fudge is excellent. It could only be improved with some red wine. Lucky for you, you’re in a tapas bar. They have a fine selection of red wine. The gin & tonic sorbet is also worthy of an order but I’d rather double up on the churros.
Michael Schlow’s newest spot is allowing him and his team to experiment with Spanish tapas favorites. He told us the team is still tinkering with our favorite item on the menu. It gives us a reason to stop by and sample it again.