I had a nice experience at Andalu. While it serves in a tapas style and has the Spanish name, little if anything on its menu is remotely Iberian. That said, I enjoyed what I did have--the food was bold and full of flavor. I remember the gremolata fries, served in a surprisingly large portion, as being rather addictive. We also had a scallop dish that was tasty, but the scallop was overcooked. We selected off the "small plates" section of the menu, ordered a couple of things, and were satisfied. The wine list is long and well-selected, and there are a great number of choices by the glass. If you go, though, don't sit at their miniature bar--it becomes crowded and uncomfortable. We sat there because we were only going to snack, and then it turns out that there's not too much difference between snacking and dining at this place.
re: J Mackay
We had a nice meal at Andalu last night. We ordered the polenta fries, ahi tartare tacos, spring roll (Vietnamese style, with chicken and mint), grilled prawns, and brussell sprouts.
The polenta fries were quite tasty -- they're large and crescent shaped, and come with a slightly spicy, tomato-y, aioli kind of sauce. Filling, too. The ahi tacos were very good -- a little spicy, with a mango salsa on top, but they're tiny. While the grilled shrimp, served with a romesco sauce and wilted arugula, tasted fresh, the fact that they're served shell-on makes them a bit more effort than they're worth, we thought. My girlfriend liked the brussel sprouts, sauteed in a brown-butter caper sauce, but they were a bit rich for me. The spring roll was good, but I would have liked it better if it had been served slightly less chilled.
The sangria was good and potent, and the dulce de leche sundae was tasty enough -- served with good quality ice cream, a huge portion of whipped-cream, toasted macadamia nuts, and a dark caramel sauce.
The place was packed, but service was good.
I ate there a couple months ago and found it quite enjoyable. The menu is "international tapas"--small plates of fusion food that wants to be trendy and tasty, sometimes dishes are more successful than others. I can't remember too many details of what we ate other than that the goat cheese fondue (stolen from Luna Park) and the polenta fries were big hits, and the ahi tuna tacos were less well received. There's also an extensive wine list as I recall, and sangria and other cocktails. The vibe is fun/funky, which I liked. All in all a pleasant place, relatively good prices (I think most dishes were in the $6-10 range), and especially good for groups, since you can share and sample more).
Besides what's just been said, my take on this place is that it offers comfort food in a small plate setting. This is not a "tapas" place just tapas-style.
Also, we went with a group of 6, and I think this is the way to do a place like this - plenty of small tastes, as some of the dishes can be heavier (fondue, osso buco, hoisin spareribs). It would be hard to order quite a few dishes for a couple. Their salads are decently sized as well.
The wine list is adequate, but if you're looking for something great, bring your own - they welcome that (corkage $10). However, their Champagne selection is very nice (for a small place like this). We got a NV Fueillate Rose that was excellent for a fairly decent price.
I was out in the Bay Area for work recently and had an enjoyable dinner at Andalu.
Dishes I thought were particularly well done included
- brandade of cod with aioli
- chestnut gnocchi with brown sage butter
- curly polenta fries with tomato cream sauce
- tuna tartar tacos with sprouts, lime chili and mango salsa
- bitter greens salad w/ shaved pecorino, grapefruit and chestnut vinegarette
These were all rewarding choices. The brandade was good. The gnocchi were very savory and earthy -- we almost ordered a second portion. I can see that the polenta fries have a little bit of a reputation on this board already and deservedly so - yum. I can also understand how opinion on the tacos is mixed -- I thought they were good and clever, if small. The salad deserves mention because it was balanced just right and very nicely dressed.
We also had (these were mostly okay but nothing to write home about):
- house cured salmon with capers, cucumber/red onion salad
- Mcdowell syrah (Mendocino)
- tombo tuna puttanesca
- citrus carpaccio w/ mint
- chocolate terrine with grand marnier ganache and raspberry sauce
- duche de leche ice cream sundae with whipped cream and macadamia nuts
Ambience was pretty nice. We got there early (before 6pm) were seated right away and got very attentive service. By the time we were ready to leave the place was very busy and got a bit loud.