Taberna del Alabardero, the elegant Spanish restaurant in the former Cascadia space on First Avenue in Belltown, is the Seattle outpost of Spain's prestigious Lezama hospitality group (restaurants and hotels across Spain, founded by a Catholic priest in Madrid to train wayward youth, and successful beyond all expectations).
Local GM Paco Pena is responding to the restaurant downturn with an innovative series of themed dinners based on the famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. (In English, it's known as St. James' Way.) The routes, still traveled today, wend through much of Europe, converging in southern France, crossing the Pyrenees, heading to the cathedral in Santiago, in the northwest corner of Spain.
The first dinner, last month, "followed" the northern route, with food and wine from Navarra and Rioja. The May and June dinners will tackle Asturias and Galicia, respectively, with a grand finale July 21, on the Feast Day of St. James.
But if the pilgrimage route is as old as medieval Christianity, Taberna's kitchen, in the hands of Diego Castroviejo, is capable of turning out a series of modern Spanish dishes, some of the world's most innovative cuisine (like a carpaccio of beef with freshly made peach sorbet) offset by comfort-food favorites (like lamb braised in red wine). See the complete menu here.
If you go: The next dinner takes place at 6:30 p.m. May 27th, at Taberna del Alabardero, 2328 First Ave., Seattle. For reservations, call 206-448-8884.