Scott Evans, owner of Pago, says his new restaurant Finca will be opening April 2. I'll be following its progress until then with weekly posts about the restaurant's evolution. Tune in.
I talked with Scott last night over an amontillado cocktail and a plate of mussels and frites with super-garlicky aioli, a couple of Pago's signature caviar pillows and a glass of natural wine–flavors that reflect Evans' twin passions for Spain and sustainability.
Evans fell in love with Spain the same way you did: traveling through Europe with a backpack and a skateboard in 1998.
Isn't that the way it happened? Well, maybe just the way you wish you had.
Anyway, since then Scott's had his head in Spain, and although he's eaten in Spanish restaurants all over the country–and liked many of them–he hasn't found one that captures "his Spain."
Meanwhile, he pursued his idea of a local, sustainable restaurant, Pago, which has won local and national kudos and a loyal following for its innovative but not unnerving cuisine and exciting, ever-changing wine list.
Still Scott's dreams of Spain persisted.
When he saw a new development going in on the northeast corner of 1300 South and 1100 East, across the street from Liberty Heights Fresh, Scott knew he'd found the location to invest in.
Here's what to expect:
A modern, jazzy rendition of Spanish style. "No old pottery, no mantillas, no old oil paintings," says Scott. "That's fine, but it's been done."
Finca is going to be about the spirit of Spain, not a Disney-style re-creation of cliches. And the food will follow suit. "Spanish food isn't really about classic recipes," says Scott. "It's more about the process and the ingredients–really fresh fish and vegetables, simple preparations that don't require a recipe so much as a terrific sense of taste."
With his new teams in place for each restaurant in place–two chefs, two sous chefs and two sommeliers–Scott's pumped. He and Finca's chef, Phelix Gardner, will have room to buy and whole animals and break them down the way they want to, allowing for much more latitude in the menu. Look forward to a three-foot grill, an all-Spanish wine list, a real tapas bar–that is, a bar–with sherries, ports and Madeiras available as well as 16 original cocktail recipes.
Like the one I was sipping as we talked: an ounce of Amontillado Gutierrez Colosia (a special order sherry) and 1/2 ounce dry French vermouth. The rim of the glass is rubbed with lemon zest, so the taste progresses from vibrant lemon oil to the deep nuttiness of the sherry.