When I heard word that new restaurant Little Spain was coming to The Original Farmers Market at The Grove in LA, I couldn't have been more excited. Some might say I was crazy, 'cuz it's the 5th Spanish Tapas joint to hit the area (Cobras & Matadors, AOC, Tasca, and Bodega de Cordova-now-Sheddy's are all in a square mile radius), but Your Next Bite just can't get enough of more plates to try.
Keep in mind, while I visited last December, Little Spain had literally just opened that weekend. The menu wasn't complete, the bottles of wine were still being shipped in, and a lot of things including the service (there was 1 waitress that night, which we all felt bad for) had to be ironed out. So I'm keeping this review simple with plans to return once they're better settled.
- crisp, spicy, fresh 'n fruity Red Sangria $4
- bread is bland, cold 'n soggy, ham is too chewy Pa Amb Tomaquet con Embutidos (Artisan Toast Smeared with Tomato, Olive Oil and 4 Hams) $8
- could have eaten four more plates solely for the cheese Pa Amb Tomaquet con Quesos Fundidos (Artisan Toast Smeared with Tomato, Olive Oil and 4 Cheeses)$8
- parsley 'n salty, solid breaded outside 'n creamy inside Patatas Bravas & Croquetas Espanolas Jamon Serrano with Mayo & BBQ Sauce $4.5 / $5
- chicken brothy, kinda bland 'n tough Paella Valenciana 1 with Chicken, Mussels, Shrimp. Green Beans, Peas, Red Peppers, Onion & Garlic $10
- crowd favorite, sea salty, bittersweet, clam juicy, fluffy rice Paella Mariscos with Clams, Mussels, Scallops, Calamari, Shrimp & Squid Ink $12
- preferred the spicier Chorizo Montadito Fuet (Catalan style) over the Chorizo 3 for $4.5 / 5 for $7
- kinda slimy, soggier than the regular Pa Amb Tomaquet con Escalivada with Roasted Red Pepper, Eggplant, Onion & Tomato $8
- paprika and oregano stand out Albondigas En Salsa (Veal Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce) with Onion, Sweet Peas, Carrots & Potato $5
Don't come to Little Spain with fancy Spanish Tapas flare – a.k.a Bacon-Wrapped Dates and Sweet Potato Fries – in mind. They keep the dishes here pure 'n simple with only a few ingredients to compete for your tastebuds.
I came with a group of 3. We shared 7 plates and left feeling semi-full with mixed reviews.
When I saw the selection of Pa Amb Tomaquets on the menu, I got really excited. I remembered a delicious one with Egg – kind of like a Fried Egg Pizza – that Cobras and Matadors had before they recently changed their menu. After ordering Little Spain's soggy version, I felt bad for the table. At least the 4 Cheeses made up for it.
In the battle of the Paellas, the Black Squid Ink Mariscos won. Its protein is a lot more tender, and its bursting with a lot more flavor than the Valencia. The bitter, salty sweet Squid Ink also keeps you going back for more.
Lastly, we enjoyed the Albondigas wishing there were more. The Sauce is simple, yet hearty and thick, and the Veal Meatballs are tender.
We all really wanted to like Little Spain – and we kinda half did – but I think it had a lot to do with their newness...or our "Date (bacon-wrapped) Expectations".
I'll definitely be returning though, so stay tuned for an update.
Follow @littlespainres for changes to their current menu, as it says they'll be introducing new items every week.