Monday, March 11, 2013

Revisiting: My First Restaurant Review

For my last restaurant post (and my penultimate post of all), I went back to Tapas Teatro.  I used to go here often but sadly have not gotten around to this place lately.  It hasn't changed: still bustling, still ready with the delicious sangría, still with a dizzying array of tapas for the hungry theater-goer (or the guy who stumbles in off the street).

I re-read my first Tapas Teatro post from way back in September of '06 before heading there, and I have to admit: I like how my writing style has evolved (specifically away from the style I used to write in).  I don't know.  It does seem like I'm being extra-descriptive, something I really don't bother to do anymore.  An example from that post:

When the waiterss came back, I ordered a Guiness [sic] (a favorite beer of mine) and one of my favorite dishes, their battered fried vegetables. A little bit about these veggies: the chefs take onions, eggplant and asparagus and fry it in what seems like a tempura-like batter. The chefs at Tapas Teatro then serve it up hot with a spicy, smooth mango-jalapeño salsa (actually, it's more like a jelly), with pieces of red pepper on the sides. The presentation on a square white plate is also gorgeous.
After another wait, in which I was brought some Italian bread with olive oil mixed with softened baked garlic (mmmmm, garlic), the waitress brought out the veggies and my beer. I bit into the onion first. It was a little soggier than usual, but still tasty. Everything else was nice and crispy, not soggy at all (well, as not soggy as fried eggplant can be). And the sweet and spicy salsa was a perfect complement.
I can't explain why but I want to smack the guy who's writing this.  But then again, I've always been self-critical.

Well, my tastes have definitely evolved since then.  I've switched form Guinness in a bottle to the much hoppier craft beers (mmmmm, hops).  But I admit that I was a little bit disappointed when I didn't see that same tempura veggie dish on the menu.  I was looking forward to that.  Not a big problem, mind you, since what I ordered along with my friend Eric (sadly the hubby is out of town) was still very good.

So what did we eat during this visit?

True to form, we ordered a variety of things.  We started with the fritura de mariscos plate, a bevy of tender and wonderfully crunchy fried calamari, bass and shrimp.  Normally I might just order this one thing and that would be enough for me.  But no, there was more.

For a little bit of red meat, I ordered the bistec a la brasa, a small but juicy piece of Angus beef with a "piquillo pepper sauce" and a parsley aioli.  I don't eat too much in the way of steak, so this was an indulgence for me.

Believe it or not, my favorite part of the meal was something I don't particularly enjoy: fennel.  I have nothing against it, but I just don't usually find very inspired versions of it.  However, this fried fennel with garlic aioli was a nice surprise: crispy and even a little juicy with a flavorful crunchy breading.  The aioli was a delicious sauce to go with it.  Alongside this dish was the remolachas dish, made of beets and arugula on top of chêvre.  Again, delicious.

Not pictured was our final dish, the plato de España: an arrangement of different Spanish cheese, sausage and ham: Manchego, Cantimpalo and jamón serrano.  This was a nice way to end our dinner - no dessert for us, as we were just too full.  And this was also a lovely way to end this blog: one final post about a restaurant I haven't gotten to in ages, and am reminded why I need to get there again.

There we go, my last normal post.  There is just one left, and it's going up tomorrow!