The hams curing above the bar and heavy, ornately carved chairs feel straight out of old Madrid—like the kind of place where you can kick back over garlicky shrimp and oil-slicked Marcona almonds. You can do those things here, but much of Haidar Karoum’s menu flouts expectations. Manchego turns up in a satiny cheesecake, while piquillo peppers add contrast to a crispy pork-belly sandwich. Cocktails have a similar creative streak: There are seasonally changing “slushitos,” gin-and-tonics scented with orange and thyme, and for the brave, porrons—glass vessels that tip mixtures of wine and soda down your throat. All of this means that hourlong waits at the hot spot are still the norm. If you’re not up for that, you can almost always get a table at brunch—it’s one of our favorites in the area.
Don’t miss: Ham croquetas; chorizo-and-Idiazabal-cheese sandwich; grilled squid with salsa verde; grilled hanger steak; grilled chicken with slaw and green rice; brunchtime burger and toast with honey, butter, and salt; sherry float.
Open: Monday through Thursday for dinner, Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.