Have you ever wished to travel to Europe or in particular Spain? Maybe you’ve already been and checked that off the bucket list. Regardless, we have a new place that is not only local, but also one of the top rated restaurants in the Arlington, VA area. SER is the ultimate mix of modern, yet casual. It’s not too fancy, and aims to please all customers that walk through their doors. If you live or work in Ballston, you need to check this place out ASAP. They have a crazy good lunch menu that is perfect for a quick and delicious lunch that will leave you feeling fulfilled + happy. Talk about the perfect food coma to go back to work with.
Even though it is located right on the busy section of Glebe Road, SER has done a fantastic job of creating the perfect outdoor spot. Surrounded by beautiful plants, flowers and large umbrellas for the perfect sunny day making for a lovely tranquil space. The beautiful design continues as you walk through the doors into the nicely decorated space with several walls full of personal photography and art.
We were greeted by the wonderful staff upon arrival and presented with a five course menu. We knew then that it was going to be a great night.
We first started with a board of meats + cheeses. The staff first brought out Jamón Pata Negra, otherwise known as the leg of a pig (pictured below). To better explain, this pig was only fed with acorns, so it was extremely delicious and packed with flavor. Words can't describe how good this was! Blake couldn’t get enough!
In addition to the Jamon, we tasted an array of meats--Cana de Lomo, Chorizo Ibérico, and Salchichón Ibérico. We then paired them with Manchego, Montenebro, Puig Pedros, Idiazabal, Valdeon and Mahon. All of the meats + cheeses on this plate were extremely fresh and paired so well with each other. To top that off, the fresh bread from a local bakery was the ultimate combo for a great first plate. We highly recommend just coming in to SER and ordering a cheese + meet plate with a bottle of wine. You won’t be disappointed.
I indulged in a glass of red sangria…and I don’t just say this, but it was by far the tastiest sangria I’ve ever had. I am not a fan of anything sweet, and this was absolutely perfect that I had to have a second glass. Blake opted for a Spanish Beer called the Alhambra Roja Doublebock from Granada, Spain, which he enjoyed very much. This was just the first course.
We then moved onto the second course of small plates. The waiter served us a bowl of Salmorejo (gazpacho) and light salad. The gazpacho was extremely refreshing and quite filling when paired with the salad.
After indulging in the second course, the third course was served. We had never tried the following dishes before, so we had no expectations but we were pleasantly surprised! The first plate was called Revuelto, which is a small bowl of sautéed mushrooms, served with an over-easy egg on top with shaved duck. As it’s served on the table, the waiter breaks it immediately and mixes up the plate to allow for the mushrooms to be soaked up by the egg. Blake was a fan of this, however I didn’t love it since I do not like mushrooms.
We were even more surprised by the next plate as we truly never heard of this--- Kokotxas, which is basically a term for the codfish jowl. As weird as it sounds, it was quite honestly mouthwatering + warm. The chef creates a texture by slowly stirring the codfish pieces in butter and olive oil, which in turn creates a creamy, buttery sauce that literally melts in your mouth upon entry. It is something definitely worth trying!
To keep things interesting, the staff then brought us a plate of Tomates verdes Fritos, which was my personal favorite—a plate of pan-fried green tomatoes with melted goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette. So incredibly delicious.
For the last of the small plates, we also sampled the Gambas al ajillo and the Croquetas. Blake was a huge fan of the Gambas as it’s a typical Spanish dish --- shrimp with olive oil, garlic, and cayenne pepper.
Blake decided to sample a glass of the Alhambra Reserva 1925 Lager from Granada, Spain to pair with the entrees. The two Spanish beers that he had were a real treat!
For the fourth course, we had a taste of their Catch of the Day—Merluza. Merluza is a type of fish that is very rare and hard to find in this region. It was cooked extremely well, and melted right in your mouth. The reason I enjoyed it was because it was not “fishy” by any means, and was incredibly delectable.
Lastly, we indulged in a plate of Costillas de Buey which was a dish of braised short ribs, carrots, onion, thyme, and table side mashed potatoes. This was by far one of the top favorites for us of the entire evening. The manager brought the potatoes right out to us fresh, with butter and spices, and mixed it right at our table, creating fresh, delicious mashed potatoes. There’s nothing more fresh than that!
If that wasn't enough, they added an extra course onto the meal and tried their signature meat paella. By this point, we could barely move but paella is a signature Spanish dish so we had to try it! It was very flavorful like everything else on SER's menu.
We ended the night on a sweet note with a special plate of Goxua which is a cold layered sponge cake topped with strawberries, cream and custard. It’s definitely a light dessert if you are looking for something less heavy and the perfect way to end a night after a lot of indulging!
We highly recommend you stop by SER for a glass of sangria after work or even indulge for lunch. You will not be disappointed with this beautiful ambience and incredible service. Also, every other Thursday, SER hosts a live jazz night. SER boasts the perfect ambience for a date night so all couples should definitely check this spot out! To find out more, visit their website!