Why? why cant anyone do Spanish cuisine right!!!??
I understand that they just opened, i can look passed the poor layout of tables, the extremely cold red wine by the glass, the 5 minutes sitting without menus, the dropping off food at the wrong table..(twice!) ....but when you hear the hype and you hope that finally someone has done it right (in the kitchen) then you are upset when you are once again overcharged for under-performed food.
The American belief that tapas are just "Expensive finger food" is highlighted here in a $100 meal that left me hungry. I almost needed a pizza after dinner...not good.
Suprisingly, the best part culinary wise was the paella, a hard dish to make well, but the gambas al ajillo were a dud, so were the boquerones, and 2-3 other tapas we got. my girl liked the short ribs in red wine sauce. they looked good (for meat eaters!) Over all too expensive for what we got and flavors did not work. Sad, because i thought we finally had a good Spanish restaurant in NYC. I guess i might just have to do it myself......
Boqueria is still # 1 here in NYC, by default.
I tried Tasca tonight. I thought it was a solid "good". Does it taste like a tapas place in Madrid or Barcelona? No. But, it was a pleasant experience with good service. We had 5 tapas and red sangria. The arugula salad was delicious. The garlic shrimp was very good, a bit spicy. The mussels were OK. The torilla w/aioli was good. The scallops were very good. The sangria did lack marinated fruit, so it was just OK and was not as full flavored. The service was just fine and friendly. It is not a destination place,but mid week it worked just fine as no rese was needed the place was only 1/2 full. My dining companion thought the acoustics were a bit loud--but not terrible. The bill: $86--exc tip. I will return.
We only had one tapa, here, since we just stopped by for some wine before dinner, but it (chorizo e higos)--and our wine (Arzuaga Navarro 2003 crianza)--were quite good, if overpriced. If I remember right, the half bottle set us back $35 and the chorizo and figs $10. To judge by the Juan Gil (a lovely wine from Jumilla, which I saw on the wine list), wines are marked up about 200%.
Does anyone know if this is in any way related to the Tasca on Brighton Ave. in Boston?
We had a pretty good experience at Tasca. We spent about $70 at Tasca and left absolutely stuffed (and smiling). Of course, we didn't drink and we were there at 6:30pm so it was still pretty chill. Everything we had was at least good, some excellent, with a couple of misses:
Zanahoria Tapena (Stewed carrots) - Excellent
Bombas (Pototo Balls) - Just okay, not great. Wouldn't order again.
Gambas Al Ajillo (Shrimp w Red Pepper & Garlic broth) - Very good. Spicy, addictive
Almejas Chorizo (Littleneck clams & Chorizo) - Pretty good, not great.
Beef Empanada - Pretty good, not great - great pastry, not enough meat.
Solomillo Pulman (Hanger steak) - Excellent
The service was above average - special props to a bus boy who offered to bring extra bread when he noticed we had broth left from that addictive shrimp broth.
I agree about the paella being terrific at Tasca, and I was sorry the place is so frantic, playing against what you want a tapas place to be. I liked the tapas we had but the noise level and everything arriving at the same moment have deterred us from going back a third time. Tonight we tried Ostia and found it warm and terrific. The patatas brava are fabulous and we'll certainly go back there.
I had some good stuff at Tasca. I liked the Zanahoria Tapenade (Stewed carrots) and the Stuffed Piquillo Peppers were delicious (if not cheap). Didn't care for the potato balls.
I also like the new Tapas place right across the street (south of Gourmet Garage), Ostia. Their menu was very different, the grilled asparagus and the roasted vegetables were bothe exemplary (and particularly good Patates Bravas). My wife liked some traditional fishy stuff. And the people at the next table loved the serrano ham. And a very nice well-priced wine from Navarra.
And I also like Las Ramblas around the corner on West Fourth Street. Very good mushroom dish, and an suprisingly interesting salad (tomato, onion, orange?, more).
None of these three Tapas places has too many vegetarian choices (authenticity hurts), but at each of them I can put together a delicious and satisfying meal. And the variety that I can't get at any of them can be achieved by going to each in turn - thank goodness each is interestingly different.