So your first question is, Montrose? Never heard of it. Don’t feel bad. I’ve lived in LA for over a decade and only just discovered this gem in the past two years. Tucked in where the 2 and 210 Freeways meet is Montrose. More specifically is Honolulu ave. This little street is lined with bars, restaurants, gelato shops, and retail establishments which look pleasantly stuck in time. Definitely wander by the old-school bowling alley for a trip down memory lane, (pun intended.)
At night the twinkling Christmas light filled trees that line the street give it an old town Pasadena/Promenade feel. On weekends the street is bustling with people, teens and lots of cute dogs. They also have a farmers market that I must go visit soon.
Tucked down a small alley is Casa Córdoba. I’ve tried multiple times to visit this Spanish Tapas restaurant. One time they were closed, another time there was a private party. I decided to try my luck once again this past Friday. My husband made reservations online for 9pm and we headed over. Approaching the host desk I gave our names but sadly she did not have our reservation. Ugh.. stupid online system. Serves me right for not using Open Table. So she tells us that she will try to find something inside. Which is not where we want to be. This place has gorgeous outdoor garden atmosphere. I was bummed that we would be relegated to sitting indoors. We explained how this is the third time we’ve tried to eat here and were really hoping that, “third times a charm.” We crossed our fingers as she checked for a table.
Success. She found a small table for two tucked away in the back corner of the garden near the fountain. It was perfect. It was a little chilly so I was glad for the heat lamps. Plus, they drape a lovely soft blanket over the back of each chair, should your legs need a little extra warmth. We settled in with our menus and immediately started to drool. So many delicious choices! Croquettes, Moroccan spiced short ribs, shrimp, salads, paellas and more. This was going to be a delightfully difficult decision.
Casa Cordoba is known for their Sangria, which comes in both red or white varietals. I do enjoy Sangria on a warm summer day, but on this slightly chilly evening I needed a big bold red wine. Our server, noticing our indecision happily made some suggestions. We started with a glass of the Campo Viejo, a classic full-bodied Tempranillo and placed an order of the Chicken and Serrano Ham croquettes.
Every time I eat tapas I have to get croquettes. They are like the most elevated version of a fried chicken nugget. These were delicious. Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Next up was another tapas must have, the raw Ahi Tuna with horseradish aioli and red pepper garlic sauce. Wow! I could have eaten three plates. That horseradish aioli was everything. I would be happy with a bowl of it and some pita. Yes please.
The music is a lovely touch. Light enough in the background to not intrude on conversation. But present enough to let you know it’s live and not playing through speakers. The guitarist was very talented. It was nice to sit for a moment and sip my wine while listening to him play with the gentle bubbling of the fountain as his accompaniment. The restaurant also offers Flamenco Shows a few times a month. The next show is this Thursday if you want to check it out. You can visit their website for a full entertainment schedule.
Time for more wine! I had a hard time choosing between another delicious Tempranillo with intense red fruit and a touch of vanilla: Pago de los Capellanes Joven Roble. Or a 100% Grenacha Centenaria, with notes of sour cherry and plum.
My husband is not a huge sour cherry fan, so we went with another Tempranillo. Which means I got to pick the next round of tapas. I chose the shrimp with garlic, sherry and lemon aioli. As well as the Moroccan spiced short ribs with lentils. The short ribs were hands down my favorite dish of the night. They were super tender and the lentils were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. It also paired perfectly with the Tempranillo. So much yum!
I am so glad I finally got to try Casa Córdoba. It was worth the wait. I know I will be back this summer. I imagine myself sitting on the patio with a glass, or a pitcher of white Sangria and a big plate of Paella.
Check out Casa Córdoba to view their wine, and tapas menus. Also be sure to look at the events page to find out more about their Flamenco Guitarist, Flamenco shows and upcoming Wine & Tapas pairing events.