First off, can I just say that any restaurant that gives you crayons to draw on the table is a great place. You don’t even have to bring children, and if the staff really likes your doodles they’ll hang the table covering in the hallway. We amuse ourselves drawing pictures of the food, or trying to incorporate olive oil stains into our illustrations. Why be a grownup all the time?
Flats is one of our favorite local restaurants (local being a relative term around here, meaning less than an hour’s drive away). We first discovered it a few years ago – we had gone to Bellingham to celebrate my birthday at our then-favorite restaurant, Calumet, only to discover it had gone out of business. Disconsolate, we headed to the Fairhaven district, discovered a new tapas restaurant, and ended up having a wonderful birthday dinner – good food, great ambience, impressive wine list, fantastic service. We’ve been back many times since.
Over the years, we’ve pretty much worked our way through the menu, so we know what our favorites are. On our most recent visit, though, there was a must-have special: Taylor Farms clams and mussels in a sherry-cream sauce with Spanish chorizo, served with grilled bread. Wow.
To go alongside the shellfish, we ordered one of our usual favorites, yams bravas. It’s a very simple dish of roasted sweet potatoes, dusted with paprika, served with romesco sauce and a good drizzle of aioli. We never get tired of it.
As usual, we asked the waitress to recommend a wine for us – I don’t believe she has ever steered us wrong. This time I had asked about Priorats, and she pointed us to a special: Mas Sinen by Celler Burgos-Porta, brought in by fabulous local importer Casa Ventura. It was good. Really good.
After our first two plates, we considered our appetites and ordered two more: piquillo peppers stuffed with ground lamb, and “Flatsbread” topped with apricot preserves, serrano ham and chevre. Despite my optimism, I was almost too full to eat the Flatsbread, but it smelled fantastic. Drat my limited capacity. One of these days I want to see what the desserts are like here. But just sitting and drinking wine at Flats is a lovely way to spend an evening.