In my short timing reviewing Broward County restaurants for the New Times it's been rare that chefs or owners have reached out, even for favorable reviews.
Inedit owners Jose and Luis Varela sent us an impassioned, near angry response to our review in the February 21 issue. It's understandable why. We found the Spanish restaurant's tapas, on which it stakes its pride, lackluster. As we said on weekend evenings the restaurant was full of fun action, which the Varelas said they didn't see. We noted the a great crowd, the speedy service, the fair-priced drinks and a great Flamenco show. Luis said they regularly do around 200 covers on Fridays and Saturdays. "They must like it," he added.
The Varelas took issue with some of the criticism of their food. They said our calling the Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce) like "cheap Chinese takeout shrimp" gave them the impression that I was out to hurt them. Jose even went as far as to bring out the bags of frozen shrimp they use for the dish as well as a carton of takeout fried rice. Indeed their frozen shrimps are larger. He also argued that the dish in Spain is served with more medium-sized shrimps opposed to the larger shrimps we've enjoyed in other restaurants across South Florida.
Their main argument was that they're trying to prepare food "the way our forefathers did it and if you like it that way you might like Spanish food." On one visit I tried Inedit's Pulpo a la Gallega. The slices of octopus tentacle were tender. The simple dressing of olive oil, garlic and paprika perfectly complemented the meat, yet I was put off by crunchy pieces of rock salt that overpowered the dish. In doing research for the review I learned that rock salt always comes on the dish in Galicia, where it originated. It was a new experience for me, and to criticize it would have been unfair.
The grilled pork loin in the Lomo de Cerdo en Salsa was overcooked and dry. Jose argued that it would've have been so had they seared the thick slices on the grill and finished them in an oven, "but that's not the way it's done in Spain," he said.
"What would you do if you owned a business?" he asked. "Would you go with what everybody else was doing or would you set out to do."
The Varelas also argued that in many ways the South Florida's ingredients are far different from Spain's. When we mentioned the small, slightly sour tasting mussels in the Zarzuela de Mariscos, a fish stew in a tomato sauce with onions, red bell peppers and paprika. Jose said "c'mon man. If we were in Spain I could find mussels like this," he said making a half-dollar sized circle with his thumb and forefinger.
We stand by our review. The Varelas invited you in for a sangria, a few bites off their expansive menu and a healthy dose of Flamenco.
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