Adding Monday night to its business operations, Smoke Oil Salt is introducing Monday Night Dinners with a proud salute to Chef Perfecto Rocher’s childhood in Valencia, Spain.
Served in a trayed fashion, his Putxero Valencia Amb Pilotes is made with lamb, beef, pork, pilotes, chickpeas, cabbage, potatoes and short noodles. The ingredients can vary with what is available in the region it is made, but the pilotes is the main attraction of this traditional Spanish stew. Large oval meatballs made with minced meat, egg, parseley, cinnamon, pinenuts and light seasoning with salt and pepper are cooked in broth and wrapped in cabbage. If this meal were the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers, the pilotes would be Shaquille O’Neal winning the Finals MVP.
What makes everything on the platter great is that all items are seasoned subtly and perfectly. You’ll notice you won’t be immediately overpowered by flavors trying to beat you into submission. Rather, your taste buds will welcome their new best friends for the evening and ask them to stay a while, getting to know one another slowly but surely.
The fried chicken is very inviting, and the texture of the skin is so crisp and light you almost want to shed a tear of praise when you realize the meat comes off the bone with very little coaxing. All those years of letting drivers change lanes in front of you and holding elevators for people have finally paid off. At last, good karma has come back to you in the form of stupidly delicious, almost-too-easy-to-eat chicken wings.
It’s recommended you take bites of everything as you go rather than finishing each item one at a time, and it makes sense. Although they are separated by tray partitions, all the components go together. Like its cafeteria lunch brethren, putxero is meant to be a complete and balanced meal. While the cafeteria style serving is a nod to Chef Rocher’s childhood, this is leagues beyond a basic TV dinner or anything Red might serve you on “Orange is the New Black” (sorry, Red!). These Monday Night Dinner trays are proud presentations of tastes, techniques and history.
Monday Night Dinners launches Feb. 16 and putxero platters will go for $35 each. Wine and dessert will be available à la carte. The restaurant will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Monday night, making it now open seven days a week. Smoke Oil Salt is located at 7274 Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax District.
Note: This meal was hosted.