Review: Despaña Soho

Let’s set the scene:

It’s 6:06pm on a Friday night and it’s rainy yet still sizzling hot outside (how is this possible?). I’m suppose to get dinner at Despaña Soho with my roommate so I look it up on Google maps and it happens to be 600 feet from my apartment. After realizing some things are still okay in this world, I make my way to enjoy some wine and tapas with my roomie.

When I got to Despaña, I almost instantly forgot about the rain. It’s bright, homey, and lively while being equal parts relaxed and ~fancy~. They have community tables in the back, so I popped a squat and ordered the white wine sangria, while my roomie went for the rosé sangria. Their sangrias (white, rosé, and their most-popular red) are known as “Victoria’s Secret” and are a special secret recipe by the store’s manager, Victoria. As a recently graduated college student I won’t pretend to be well-versed in wine lingo, but these sangrias were so good. They were fresh and crisp and what I imagine a proper sangria would taste like, not the “sangrias” from college.

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After some sangria sippin’ and talking, our first “course” came out. We ordered the meat & cheese platter, and it was a display of pure beauty. All the employees were next-level nice, and they took the time to explain each aspect of the tray so that we would know exactly what we were eating.

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I’m going to try my best to explain each part of this masterpiece:

SERRANO HAM & MURCIA AL VINO CHEESE

Serrano is very similar to prosciutto and the murcia al vino was our waitresses favorite cheese on the board. It was soft and creamy and not too bitter.

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(From left to right)

MAJORERO PIMENTÓN CHEESE / CANTIMPALO DESPAÑA BRAND MEAT / MANCHEGO AÑEJO CHEESE

The majorero pimentón cheese was my favorite. It’s described as being smoky and spicy, but I didn’t really get any spiciness which is good because I’m a baby and I dislike anything spicy. The meat in the middle was also my favorite and is described as “dry cured sausage with paprika” and honestly that’s what it was. I love when food is exactly the description, it makes me a happy gal. Also all the points to the yellow/clear jam in the back, it was my jam. ALSO. We can’t forget about the baby pickles. Those little guys shouldn’t be forgotten either.

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SALCHICHÓN DESPAÑA BRAND MEAT  / AHUMADO DE PRÍA CHEESE

This cheese was definitely something I’ve had on previous cheese platters and I don’t think any cheese board would be complete without it. Once you have a sliver, you can spread some of that red jelly on bread and add the meat and then the cheese, and it’s a trifecta + one.

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SERRANO & MANCHEGO CROQUETA PINTXOS

These little guys were an impulse decision and boy, were we glad we ordered them. They were little fried “croquetas” stuffed with manchego cheese and serrano ham. They reminded me of Europe and I’ll eat anything that brings nostalgia over and over and over again.

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Up next was the tapas sampler. If you think this is a lot of food for two people then you would be right. I kindly asked for the little display notecards so I could properly identify each tapas for you all. (Actually it was for me to know what the heck I was eating but it came in handy when writing this post.)

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PATATAS RIOJANAS

This picture looks a little trippy I know, but it shouldn’t take away from the fact that this little pot of potatoes and meat was full of sophistication. This lil’ dish and the one behind it were my two favorites and despite their size, they were big on flavor.

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MORCILLA CON TOMATE

I’m not going to lie, this tapas does not look appetizing. It honestly looks a little scary, but you know what they say – beauty comes from within. This was my favorite of everything I ate and it was jam-packed with so many different flavors. I couldn’t describe what it tastes like to save my life but it was sweet/salty/smoky/everything-else-that-tastes-good.

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ENSALADA DE LENTEJAS & ENSALADA RUSA

These two lil’ ones were served chilled. It gives them a lighter/crisper flavor (does that even make sense?). If you’re a potato salad kinda person, then you’ll love Despaña’s recipe. It’s not heavy like its potato salad counterparts.

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SERRANO HAM (REGULAR & HAM FROM THE BLACK PIG)

Our waitress was 1. the cutest thing 2. kind enough to bring out the two different kinds of serrano ham so we could taste the difference. One is the regular serrano ham mentioned earlier, the darker one on the bottom half of the plate comes from the black pig. It’s richer and more decadent and I felt high-class while I was eating it.

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It’s safe to say my roommate and I dined like KWEENS. The waitstaff was so friendly and hospitable and not just to us, they were kind and attentive to all the people dining and wining that evening. If you’re looking for a more relaxed dining experience that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside (both from the food and the environment) then Despaña is you’re go-to.