So with the (near) return of nice weather, my eating habits tend to change as well. I'm so done with heavy, winter meals and instead turn to something lighter. In my opinion, there's nothing much better than sharing a bunch of small plates with friends and sipping some tasty Spanish vino. So, I'm just wondering if anyone knows any hidden tapas gems here in the TC (not Solera!). I'm guessing it's a pretty limited market but hopefully I'm suprised!
Rincon 38 just opened, anyone try it yet?
First Course in South Minneapolis does a nice selection of tapas. I'm not sure about their wine list, but you could check. I wouldn't be surprised if they have a Spanish selection or something similar in nature.
The Sample Room in North East Minneapolis is focused almost entirely on small plates. Again, the wine list is pretty large there too.
The Strip Club in Saint Paul also has a wide array of small plates meant for sharing and a pretty wide array of wine available.
Yes, the market is limited in terms of true Tapas restaurants. But with a little creativity in ordering, you can expand the market.
Here's First Course's Tapas menu. And yes, they call it Tapas. It is a 30-person restaurant in a neighborhood. You decide. But in a market with a Spanish population of less than 1%, I guess I'm not too surprised there aren't more of these:
Honey garlic baby back pork ribs with soy, ginger & chili oil ~ 7
Fried green olives stuffed with blue cheese ~ 4
Three Salami’s – cured pork loin, chorizo, Spanish wine salami ~ 4
Grilled asparagus with balsamic and thin onion rings ~ 4
Senorio de montelarreina (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese) with banana-date-raisin-ginger-curry chutney ~ 4
Large green Spanish olives marinated w/celery, garlic, oregano and olive oil ~ 3.50
Calamari lightly fried with chipotle aioli ~ 4
Humboldt Fog goat’s milk cheese with boozy cherries ~ 4
“First Course” Shrimp (buttery tail on tiger shrimp w/our special bbq spice) ~ 11
“Shop in the City” skewers (beef tips w/green chili, tamarind & molasses) ~ 8
Olive duo - small Spanish arbequina & kalamata ~ 4
Warm almond coated manchego cheese on baguette w/ sherry vinegar-garlic oil ~ 5
Parmigiano Reggiano with balsamic vinegar of Modena No. 12 & Arbequina Extra-Virgin Olive Oil~ 5
To eat Tapas-style, small plates designed for snacking while drinking in the late afternoon or early evening, you don't have to restrict yourself to Spanish restaurants.
One could go to many restaurants getting small and savory bites at the bar with their wine. Alma, Piccolo, Vincent, Tillia, Haute Dish, 112 Eatery to name a few.
I have been a couple times...some hits and misses, but the standards are decent. The pulpo, chorizo, and mushroom flan have all been ordered a few times. Wine list isnt huge but solid, I usually go with a pretty reasonable and tasty garnacha.