Food & DrinkMarch 28, 2012 at 5:42 am

Spanish Splurge

Jamonera is worth the wait and the price

Laura Francis

Jamonera
105 S. 13th St.
(215) 922–6061

Don’t Miss: Iberico Ham Croquetas, Crispy Calasparra Rice
Skip: Jamonera Sundae

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There’s no denying it: 13th St. is one of the trendiest dining blocks in Philadelphia. With El Vez hawking expensive gourmet nachos on one end and Grocery offering pricey organic chips on the other, passers–by can tell with a quick glance that their wallet is about to take a big hit. That being said, 13th St.’s acclaimed restaurants are well worth the steep cost. Jamonera, the latest jewel in Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s 13th St. crown, is no exception.

Occupying the space that used to be their Indian BYO Bindi, Jamonera executes authentic Spanish cuisine flawlessly and with flair. Although reservations have been tough to nab since the January opening, we walked in early and were seated immediately at the bar. We started off with a few drinks: the sweet, refreshing passionfruit Bizet ($8), the spicy rum cocktail La Granada ($9) and the tart gin and grapefruit Alhambra ($10). The cocktails were pricey, but then again, so is Jamonera itself. If you’re already shelling out the cash, the drinks are a worthwhile addition.

Next, our super–friendly waitress brought out the heirloom pumpkin croquetas ($8), which were fried pumpkin balls oozing with urgelia cheese. With their crispy outside and their smooth, sweet inside, this is a must–order appetizer. Prepare to fight your companions for the last one. Comparable were the Iberico ham croquetas ($5), which replaced the pumpkin with ham and the cheese with a delicious horseradish crema. We also enjoyed the setas ($7), a kind of truffled mushroom dish served on toast. Still, by far the most satisfying was the crispy calasparra rice ($13), a cheesy blend of squash, parsnips and chestnuts. We raved over this dish and even considered a second helping.

We were having one of those “I need dessert” days, so we ordered the Jamonera sundae ($10) and the pastel del miel ($8). While the sundae’s mix of pretzels, fudge, marshmallows, a cinnamon brownie and vanilla ice cream sounded like absolute heaven, the dish ended up being sickly sweet to the point where we didn’t even finish, which, trust me, is a rare occurrence. The honey cake, on the other hand, was the perfect blend of sweet, creamy and fruity, and we had no problem polishing off the dish.

Jamonera doesn’t fit into the average college student’s budget — that’s for sure. But for a special night out with friends, or when a parent comes to visit, this satisfying Spanish spot is worth the extra cash.

 
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