Restaurant review time! Friday night date night the boy and I got all gussied up (yes, I even put on a DRESS) and decided to use one of my recent Living Social purchases, a $15 or a $30 coupon for Tasca Restaurant in Brighton.
I hadn't heard of this restaurant before, but after getting a peek at their extensive tapas menu (34 items), I knew the boy and I had to try it out. Normally I get overwhelmed when faced with a lot of choices, but luckily tapas are the kind of things you can showcase your gluttony with. The more you order, the better.
While it was nice to get all dressed up for a change, it was definitely not necessary at Tasca. The atmosphere is pretty casual. The dining area is well lit (which is great for dinner with friends, but not so much for Friday night date night). We had a reservation for 6:30pm and the restaurant was about 3/4 full when we arrived. By the time we left however, it was completely full and extremely loud.
A bad omen came when we first sat down and the table was wobbly. I don't mean a little wobbly, I mean if either the boy or myself put our elbows on the table, our drinks would go flying. Luckily the boy showed off his handiness by jacking it up with a napkin, but really, we couldn't be the first people to notice that table was on it's last leg...literally.
After getting settled in with the wobbly table, we perused the drink menu. Naturally we started our evening with a pitcher of sangria. The sangria was actually quite good and relatively cheap for a pitcher ($19). Rather than the usual citrus fruit garnishes, the sangria had mostly apples. While apples are good, they don't quite soak up the alcohol like citrus fruits do. Still, the sangria is worth ordering.
I know I don't feature pictures of myself much on the blog, but I am making it a goal to change that. Here is a cameo of me enjoying the sangria ;)
Rather than order a few tapas and then full entrees, the boy and I decided to just order six tapas to share. The first one we chose was albondigas: homemade tenderloin meatballs in a green peppercorn sauce. The meatballs were juicy, but not all that flavorful. Also, this is the second time in two weeks that I have been randomly served potato sticks. I wasn't aware potato sticks were a gourmet food.
Next we chose the Brie a la plancha: Grilled imported brie cheese with a homemade savory apple and raisin chutney served with a grilled baguette. Amazing. Truly. This was by far the best thing that we ordered. The brie was smoky and almost melted. The baguette was grilled with butter and garlic. Oh my yum.
Just to keep things fancy, we ordered the Solomillo: Petit filet mignon (3 oz) served in a red wine sauce with mushrooms. The meat was dry. And I don't know why I thought ordering anything with mushrooms was going to be a good idea. This did not remind me of filet at all, which is sad, because it's one of the most expensive tapas they have. On the bright side, it does come with french fries.
Next we ordered the Croquetas de pollo y jamon: Chicken and ham croquettes served with Romesco sauce (contains almonds). Yes, they do look like mozzarella sticks. No, they don't taste like them. These were just ok. The ham and almonds are negligible, all you can taste is the chicken and cheese.
We also ordered the Pincho de pollo y chorizo: Grilled chicken and chorizo skewer with peppers and onion in a spicy chili sauce. This tapas was the second best of what we ordered. The chicken definitely had a little kick, but not too much. The chicken was juicy and the vegetables still a little crisp.
Per the boy's request, we ordered the Patatas Bravas: Fried cubed potatoes in a piquant tomato sauce and garlic aioli. These were extremely spicy (as far as I was concerned anyway) and the potatoes were dry and overcooked. The garlic aioli looked like it came out of a Hellman's squeeze jar. These we didn't even finish, so that goes to show how much we liked them.
For dessert we got the Pastel Vasco: Layered dessert of a homemade oreo cookie base with milk toffee, bananas and whipped cream. Sounded so much better than it actually was. The oreo cookie base did taste exactly like oreo cookies, but it was really hard and too crumbly. The bananas definitely helped the dryness of the cookie crust, but it still was not great.
In addition, I had wanted to get a double espresso with dessert but was informed by the waitress (not very pleasantly) that the machine was broken and there was no coffee. I like espresso after dinner so they lost major points for that. Service was adequate, although our waitress forgot to bring us a few things we asked for and was not quite as quick as she could have been, but certainly nothing worth complaining about.
All in all, it was nice to visit a tapas restaurant with the boy (he had never been) but I would probably never go back. It was pricey even with a coupon, and was definitely not worth the price we paid.
Do you like tapas restaurants? What are your favorites?