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Joselito Casa de Comidas hoping to open in Eastern Market in early January has named David Sierra as its executive chef.
Sierra is from Madrid, Spain and cooked in Spanish kitchens until he moved to the U.S. in 2009 to work at the D.C. location of Taberna del Alabardero. Locally, he has also cooked at Fiola Mare in Georgetown and SER Restaurant in Ballston.
Javier Candon is an owner of both SER Restaurant and Joselito, but the concepts will be different. Joselito will focus on the cuisine of the south of Spain and simply prepared seafood.
“What I love to do is take the traditional dishes from Spain, but give them a twist to make them look prettier,” Sierra says, adding that he’s not afraid to use some molecular gastronomy techniques. “We’ll respect the flavors and will try to mimic the flavors that we have in Spain.”
Sierra’s menu will feature ten cold dishes and ten hot dishes, and most will be available in three portion sizes: small (tapa), medium (media ración), and family size (ración).
“We’re going to have five or six traditional dishes that we’ll change depending on what’s in the market and what’s in season and then we’ll have two or three dishes that will be a little crazy, less traditional,” he says.
There are two dishes destined for popularity. The first features boquerones (mild white anchovies) that are marinated and olive oil, garlic, and parsley for a few hours before being lightly breaded and deep fried. The dish is a staple in beach downs in southern Spain where they usually comes in folded squares of paper for easy eating on the sand with a beer in hand.
Then there’s the Ibérico secreto also known as Ibérico pluma. Right below the ribs of a pig is a mass of fat that contains a secret piece of meat, hence the name “secreto.” For a long time, Sierra says, chefs would discard this portion of the animal.
“Normally people a long time ago would throw it away because it’s like pork belly, it’s full of fat but in the center there’s actually meat that’s super deep in flavor because little pieces of fat get inside the meat,” he says. He’ll serve it with potatoes and salad.
Other highlights include a mixture of carrots, peas, and potatoes called Ensaladilla Rusa that comes topped with caviar and gulas (tiny eels); almejas (clams) finished with garlic, olive oil, and sherry; and a ceviche-like mix of shrimp, mussels, octopus, and scallops dressed in sherry vinegar, olive oil, and pepper that’s known as salpicón.
Finally, Sierra says he hopes to serve some dishes that require table-side preparation.
Joselito Casa de Comidas, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; facebook.com/JoselitoHILL
Photo courtesy Joselito.