We got to Bar Ferdinand at exactly the right time- we were able to get a table outside before the waiting list started, and was still in time for the tail end of happy hour. We decided to try the chef's tasting, 10 plates over 4 courses for $35 a piece.
Overall, everything was very good, with some high points. My gold standard for tapas is of course, Amada, which sets high expectation.
The high points first:
An arugula, spinach, and cabrales cheese salad with honey vinagrette. This was listed on the menu with the addition of crispy quail, which sounds delicious, but didn't come on our plate. However the greens were dressed perfectly and the cheese and vinagrette made a delicious salty-sweet combo that was really irresistable.
Croquettes of bacalao and jamon. Crispy, creamy, perfect. Only complaint is that they served only one of each, so we had to share.
Tapas shrimp with olive oil and garlic. Standard tapas fare, straightforward and well executed. However, they served 3 shrimp for two people. Would it have killed them to throw us an extra shrimp?
Lamb meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce. Meaty, tender, perfectly cooked so they weren't tight and dry.
Flan with fresh berries. Light, creamy, and suprisingly lemony.
The low points:
Demitasse cups of lentil soup with a sun-dried tomato crouton. Not horrible but rather uninspired; then again I don't really like lentil soup.
Seared venison with a microgreen salad. The venison was perfectly cooked, nice a rare, but everything was just too salty.
Pan-fried Dorade with a honey sauce. This was my first experience with Dorade and I wasn't such a fan. It tasted a bit fishy and reminded me a bit of swordfish, which I don't particularly like. It looked like we had a piece that was mostly bloodline.
During dessert, we were served something that looked like a modern take on s'mores on a skewer. there was some form of frozen meringue or foam that had been cubes and resembled a marshmallow. It screamed "molecular gastronomy" to me. It turned out to be breaded manchego cubes with, upon perusal of the menu, was "frozen apple foam." eh.
The service was pleasant and attentive. H and I both agree we would go back, but would forgo the tasting next time.
1030 N. 2nd St
Philadelpha PA 19123