Dining

Contemporary Dining

Spanish art (and food) at the National Gallery of Art

New York art museums can't rival those in Washington, D.C. in terms of quantity and price (free). But they embarrass our nation's capital when it comes to museum food: Where the MoMA has the award-winning Modern; D.C.'s Air and Space has McDonald's and Boston Market.

Now that's changed--at least through September 17. Washington superstar chef José Andrés (pictured) has created a special menu for the National Gallery of Art's Garden Café to coincide with two new exhibits featuring still lifes and portraits from Spain. The menu offers highlights from Andrés's flagship restaurant, Jaleo, in the elegant and contemplative atmosphere of the neoclassical garden court.

Andrés likes to say that everything is better in Spain. He's proved it true on the National Mall. His all-you-can-eat buffet ($19) encourages diners to try everything. But not to be missed are Andrés's signature gazpacho, a garlicky cold tomato soup spiked with sherry; boquerones, Spanish white anchovies that will make anyone reconsider their opinion of the tiny fish; and rich meatballs stewed with sweet plums. There are also Spanish cheeses and excellent salads, such as refreshing braised artichokes with oranges, grapefruit and tomatoes.

If you can't make it to D.C., click here (pdf) for three of the chef's featured recipes.

Garden Café España at the National Gallery of Art, National Mall (Constitution Ave. between Third and Seventh sts.); 202-712-7458 or nga.gov

Garden Café España at the National Gallery of Art National Mall Washington D.C. 20560

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