Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe
Where to Matadora, inside the Hilton Boston/Woburn.
What for A “bull-stopping dining experience,” promises the website, with tapas and wood-fired steak. The restaurant was created in conjunction with COJE management, the team behind chic Boston spots Lolita, RUKA, and Yvonne’s.
The scene Pleasantly busy on a weekday evening, filled with travelers in bike shorts, colleagues in suits, and a few bar-goers nursing glasses of wine. Several long tables are occupied by celebrating officemates. There’s an open kitchen with its own counter seating; a few people perch there to see the chefs at work. There’s also a bar at the opposite end of the restaurant, where a handful of lone men watch TV. The restaurant, with deep red walls, opens into a brighter lobby, making for fun people-watching while you wait for your food. A New Age-y version of “Hotel California” plays in the distance.
What you’re eating Spanish bites and wood-grilled meats from chef de cuisine Billy Jimenez, with a menu developed by COJE’s Tom Berry. The menu is divided into Spanish cheeses, like generous triangles of aged Manchego; Spanish meats, including a “spicy and spreadable” semi-soft chorizo; olives, nuts, and cured dishes; tapas (try the shrimp toast in spicy saffron butter, dotted with green olives); and entrees like spicy Catalan mussels and rosemary chicken breast. There are also a few a la carte wood-grilled items — New York strip, pork chops — with a choice of chimichurri, tomato romesco, or creamy horseradish. Portions are hefty, so bring the whole office.
Care for a drink? Sip red or white sangria; drinks like the aptly included Bullfighter (rum, lime, honey, ginger beer) and the Matadora gin and tonic, made with cinnamon; or Guineu Riner Spanish ale.
Overheard Work woes; alcoholic ribbing; Hollywood opinions. “Sometimes I feel like half project manager, half therapist,” a fellow sipping a beer tells his companion as they share dinner. A man in workout wear ambles to the host stand, clutching a large glass of wine. “I’m heading to the bar,” he tells the hostess, pointing toward the TVs. “It looks like you’ve already been there!” says a passerby. “That Weinstein guy needs a better p.r. machine,” a dude at the bar informs his neighbor. A lone woman settles into her table. “Are you familiar with tapas-style dining?” her server asks sweetly. “Definitely,” she replies.
2 Forbes Road, Woburn, 781-932-0999, www.matadorarestaurant.com
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