"Pata negra" refers to the black-hoofed pigs of Southern Spain from which comes the world's most revered ham. This pair of words is perhaps the most treasured in Spanish gastronomy, as Iberian ham is about the only thing the politically diverse regions of Spain can all agree on. The name is fitting because Spanish native Ricardo Segura's culinary tour of Iberia is regionally complete. Shareable plates come in two sizes and include tender Galician boiled octopus with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of paprika and sprinkling of sea salt; Fabada Asturiana during winter—a runner-bean soup that's Spain's answer to French cassoulet; the Catalan staple pan tomate —bread with fresh tomato and Serrano ham; and the most famous Spanish export, paella from Valencia. While the famous "black-hoofed" ham won't be available to U.S. connoisseurs until 2008, the restaurant plans to stock it as soon as it crosses the pond. Like at Segura's former restaurant Tapeo, these are the most authentic Spanish tapas you'll find stateside, and the intriguing roster of Iberian wines only sweetens the deal. (MT)
Signature Dish: The seafood paella is top-notch.
Standout: Gooey ham-and-cheese croquettes; Torta de Santiago, a spongy almond cake.
Regrets: That we must all wait another year for said ham.