Food & Drink

Morena

Transforming from one thing to another is pretty damn cool: tadpoles somehow morph into four-legged frogs, and who isn't moved when watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon, and end up as a beautiful...tattoo on your left ankle. For a joint that changes on the fly, get thee to Morena.In the legendary Macarena space, old-world-feeling, red & black-decked Morena is a Spanish fusion tapas & big plates joint that transmogrifies into a venue for enjoying live music once it gets a little later; the space also features a semi-private lounge, which is good for lounging, and then later, lounging. Small plates're repped by coastal faves like grilled octopus on a bed of saffron sauce, and tuna carpaccio w/ capers & lemon vinaigrette, plus terrestrial goodies like chorizo & garbanzo beans; beef carpaccio w/ Manchego, smoked sea salt and truffle oil; and Morcilla Argentina: marinated onions w/ blood sausage, which Leo at first acts like he doesn't care about, but eventually realizes that that stuff is ruining lives. Beyond tapas there're meats like Asado Morena (slow-braised short ribs finished on the grill w/ onions tempura), an 8oz prime filet with crispy four-cheese polenta, and an herb-marinated buffalo rib eye; there're also swimmers like sesame-crusted tuna w/ grilled asparagus in a lemon/orange fusion, and herb-crusted salmon w/ teriyaki ginger glaze, which everyone knows is the most evil, soulless teriyaki glaze of them all.After 12:30am or so the dining room'll be cleared out for live music with a bent towards rock, and the side lounge'll operate until 5am. And because they're just that nuts, 'til Feb 28th they're offering a "Name Your Price" special (mention it when you make a reservation) where you get to choose the price you think you should pay for the entree you just ate -- a policy that'll transform you from customer into thief.

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