Taperia Raca Offers Rich, Easy-to-Enjoy Tapas in MiMo
In Miami, ordering tortilla española is like playing a game of Russian roulette. In kitchens from Kendall to South Beach, the humble dish begs comparison to versions cooked by mothers, abuelitas, the great chefs of Spain, and that country's beloved tapas bars. Some argue the slices of potato should be razor-thin, stacked three to four inches high, and served at or just below room temperature. For others, the dish is best served slightly warm, with thick slices of potato encased in egg that's cooked to the point where the scrambled yolks begin to brown and lend just a touch of crunch.
billwisserphoto.com Calimocho and Tortilla Española at Taperia Raca.
At Giorgio Rapicavoli's Taperia Raca, which opened in February in the Miami Modern district, the tortilla was inspired by a brief trip to Spain, where the tortilla at Cervecería Catalana in Barcelona is thin, warm, and slightly runny on the inside, says the Eating House chef and reality TV winner.
Raca's interpretation is aggressively seasoned and cooked firmly on the outside while remaining creamy and slightly runny inside. It combines the classic tortilla with luscious French-style scrambled eggs, cooked slowly at low heat with a vast quantity of butter to yield a near-custard that outshines the rubbery, almost-burned slop American parents whip up for their children on weekends. Two wedges of the pale-yellow omelet are topped with a Christmas combination of tiny chopped chives and roasted red peppers crowned with a dollop of creamy, garlicky aioli.
It's a delightful interpretation of one of the cornerstones of Spanish cuisine, and a shock coming from a chef who's better known for stoner-friendly fare with modernist leanings. On a recent visit, it also hit the mark for a friend raised on tortilla in a Dominican home, who was instantly transported back to childhood after the first bite. Soon his portion was gone, along with half of mine. The humble tortilla represented the challenge facing Rapicavoli in his follow-up to his wildly successful Eating House, where people still line up for more than an hour on weekends to eat his Cap'n Crunch pancakes.
While Rapicavoli looks to push the envelope and explore his own creativity at Eating House, the goal at Raca, he says, is to be a solid neighborhood tapas joint.
"We're not trying to be the Bazaar," he said, referring to the modernist Spanish restaurants helmed by Ferran Adrià protégé José Andrés. "And we're not trying to be Casa Juancho with flamenco and all that shit."