Having been to Nido (read our review here), I was confident that the food at Mola, a newly opened spot in Mount Pleasant by the same team, was going to be pretty damn good. I was a little nervous when I heard it was a Spanish tapas restaurant. I mean, I love tapas but why do all of the tapas restaurants in D.C. have such similar menus? As soon as I saw the menu of this new venue I was excited to discover that it takes Spanish cuisine in a different direction. You won’t see the typical bread topped with diced tomatoes, spinach and raisin salad, croquetas, or tortilla espanola.
The restaurant is simple and charming, with wooden floors and tables, golden lighting, and a small bar area. Because the restaurant is not very big I would recommend making a reservation. And then, I recommend ordering as many items as possible and share with your dining companions.
Start off your meal with the cauliflower and labneh “snack.” I say “snack” because that is the section of the menu it is listed under, but the dish is definitely bigger than a snack. Cauliflower is minced and blended with garlic infused labneh to make an excellent spread for shards of crispy toasted pita. Another not to missed dish from the snacks section of the menu is the fried goat cheese, where hunks of goat cheese are breaded, fried, drizzled with honey and crowned with crispy beet chips. It’s as awesome as it sounds.
Then, move on to some of the more substantial tapas, which include one of the best tapas I have ever had in my life: sweet and sour eggplant. The eggplant is cooked to perfection; it is super soft and creamy and melts on your tongue. Bathed in a glassy, silky sweet sauce and adorned with mint leaves and fried garlic, it’s so crispy it cackles when you eat it. The crunch is the ying to the yang of the soft eggplant, and the garlic is the hubby of the sweet sauce.
Other wins include the carrots which come in a cumin infused dressing, braised artichoke, and grilled hunks of bread piled high with super earthy chewy, tender wild mushrooms that are draped in flags of manchego cheese. I had to wrestle the last piece of this from my dining partner.
For dessert, try the lemon ice cream smothered in a rich, dark chocolate sauce or the deep fried cinnamon infused bread. Wine, sherry, beer and cocktails are available in abundance and should be consumed in abundance.
While each dish runs around $9-14, the portion sizes are pretty good so you really only need about four dishes if you are sharing with another person. I wouldn’t call it cheap, but you could get away with a dinner for two, with a bottle of wine, for $100. It’s great for a date night. Spanish tapas for the win.