“P” is for Pricey ... and Maybe Pretentious


Sula House is an updated version of what Madrileños call a tasca ilustrada (bistro with pretentions). It’s the progeny of Quique Dacosta (creator of the silver-plated oysters and foie gras “cuba libre” at Denia’s famed El Poblet restaurant) and José Garcia (owner of Joselito, which Spaniards will emphatically tell you raises and cures the best jamón in the world). Sula is the kind of place where the waiters dress only in black, and the menu is heavy on stews and croquettes but with some modern touches—a delicious parmesan flan topped with a verdant basil and olive oil reduction, for example. Given its Joselito connection, it’s not the best place to take a vegetarian. I learned this the hard way, over lunch with one. Ham floats unannounced in the chickpea broth and comes wrapped, paper-thin (in the same stealth manner), around the grilled tuna loin. It huddles under the sabayon in the peas with poached egg. But the hidden jamón is not the most surprising thing about Sula. That would be that those simple peas costs $35. Admittedly, they’re served with shaved black truffle on top, rather like a certain $55 macaroni and cheese in New York. Which had me thinking that tasca ilustrada these days might even translate as “Waverly Inn.”

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