Ever seen the perfectly-coiffed Taberna del Alabardero waitstaff use power tools in the dining room? They do this weekend for the restaurant’s annual flamenco show and four-course dinner, inspired by the Andalucian region of Spain. Once waiters take away the last dessert plate—a white wine-soaked sponge cake—they huddle around the “main stage” to drill a wood board into the ground.
The platform is no bigger than a decent-sized closet, so female dancers Ana Menendez and Sara de Jerez must be extra precise, trying not to fall on nearby diners. Given the women’s contour-hugging skirts, they probably didn’t enjoy the night’s hefty tapas plate (potato omelete, seafood croquettes, pork brochette, jamon Serrano with Manchego cheese), bowl of chilled gazpacho and entrée of sliced tuna with pepper and thyme sauce.
Worth the $65-a pop pricetag? For that caliber of footwork and live toque (guitar) and cante (song) by performers flown in from Malaga and Guadalajara, Spain…yes. Since the space is pretty cozy inside, even diplomat couples nestled into corners and sangria-sippers at the bar could experience the hour-long adrenaline rush of hand-clapping and foot-stomping. This isn’t a simultaneous dinner-and-show, though. Reservations can be booked for 7, 7:30 or 8 p.m., but everyone sticks around for the "9 p.m." flamenco performance, which can translate to 9:30 p.m. by the time stragglers are fed. The evening was full-bodied, in every sense of the word, from the seafood croquettes to the last high note by Spanish diva Almudena de Malaga. (A flower tucked behind her ear completed the we-just-stepped-into-Seville feel).
Taberna del Alabardero is located at 1776 "Eye" Street, NW. Reservations for Noches de Andalucia (taking place tonight and Saturday) can be made by calling 202-429-2200. For more info, visit www.alabardero.com.