Tasca Brava in Raleigh
I'm never in Raleigh but find myself there this afternoon. I was driving around chain restaurant hell looking for a place to eat lunch (Quiznos? Panera? Moes? hunger?) and happened across Tasca Brava off of Falls of Neuse. We went once when they were in Cary maybe 4-5 years ago but had literally forgotten about it. What a happy accident this afternoon.
Literally empty when we arrived but open but Tasca Brava is doing everything right in my book.
The pace was slowish (authentic) and the food was phenomenal. My wife and I split a sandwich and two tapas. The sandwich was manchego and serrano on fresh bread. We had an arepa with chorizo and a roasted piquillo pepper stuffed w/ onion, eggplant and goat cheese. I'm a sucker for cured meat so the sandwich was a hit. The serrano was appropriately thin and fatty. The peppers were well balanced and the goat cheese was assertive without overpowering the other flavors. The arepa was crispy and the egg inside was literally perfect. The egg was farmer's market fresh (owner said it was local, as were other non-Spanish ingredients). He also roasts his own coffee fresh a few times each week.
W/ coffee and tip, the bill was around $40. Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to eat and drink away the afternoon or I'd likely still be there.
you're entirely spot on. thankfully everyone that goes here remembers it well. I'd bemoan this places loss more than any other in the triangle if it were to disappear. Juan Samper and his wife create one of the best dining experiences for those prepared. It's intimate interior is such a gem, especially after the initial nondescript brick strip mall exterior. Juan's knowledge of spanish cuisine is superlative, as he personally selects the tapas and wine with a true love, thats the only way to describe it.
My only issue with it is that on a busy night, you feel bad about trying to monopolize Juan's time. It's just so fun to hear him talk about the menu. Tasca Brava really is like the little restaurants in spain, or italy, that are operated as a home - warm, friendly, and in it for the joy of cooking and sharing. Last time I went, it was with a party of 6 and we made a 3 hour meal of it, sampling near 20 dishes and many wines. No dish or bottle went without an absolute fan. Top 5 dining experiences in my life. Tasca Brava fits as a vacation tale of this amazing place you found traveling the world, but I thank fortune that I can call it local.