Think Big! This must have been what came into José Gordon´s mind when he decided to embark in what he, himself calls “The Ox Mecca”, as everything in that place is described as being superlative: the local produce, the service, the venue, its wines…and Gordon’s cattle, in size and quality. The quest began more than twenty years ago, when Gordon was seduced by the ox’s’ elegance and nobility; he realized the importance of patience, sensitivity and integrity in order to produce the best quality ox in the world. Climate, land, pastures and a close communication between man and ox, are the factors that along with a meticulous aging and cooking technique have made this place a unique and award winning restaurant. Behind this project there is a conservationist side to it, because while the main focus is trying to indulge the most delectable palate the aim is to recover certain breeds and ensure that others do not become extinct.
Just like a precious truffle, El Capricho is hidden away in one of the centenary caves of the La Bañeza area which was once used to produce and store wine. In a dimly, lighted space, embraced by handmade walls and the warmth of fine linen, the guest goes back in time to the roots of the true countryside life. Locally sourced herbs, vegetables, eggs and meat are served and displayed in the most humble way, on wood or flint but with a hint of modernity to it.
On the menu beef is the star and comes into play into many different cuts, sizes, textures, aging and cooking methods. The marbling of fat is the quintessential element and gives way to the sheer quality of meat and the visual appearance. A must try is the Cecina, cured to perfection yet tender and juicy with a smoky finish. With that add a few drops of nutty flavored virgin olive oil and you’ll soon be reminded of the land, farm and nature. The Carpaccio rolled onto your fork with salt flakes on top – as the waiters suggest, feels like butter in your mouth. Another dish to be mentioned is the fresh tomato salad and the holm oak roasted peppers that grow in the restaurant’s garden. In El Capricho there is always a proper way to do things – from beginning to end – and slowly, just as the noble pacing of the ox. Within this “Ox Mecca” everything is made to entice the palate.
And as any gourmand will admit, the last bite always comes in the form of a dessert. Not surprisingly, the fat finds its place and elegantly melts with the cookie crumble and ice cream making this dish one of the more delectable dessert options. The wine list pays homage to the best national and international D.O. which includes the spectacular bodega, making it look like an altar of prayer.
There is also a variety of products that can be bought at El Capricho or online but you have to be quick as there is a high demand for these products and a waiting list.
For José Gordon meat is like a religion, so let us pray to keep this heritage both of wisdom and breed.