Rendezvous tapas no longer just at the bar
We went tonight expecting to sit at the bar to get tapas at the weekly Monday event, but we were told by the friendly gentleman at the front that now you can get tapas at the tables, and with reservations. We went early needing to get home for child care, and it was so delightful to sit by ourselves in a corner. We got only three tapas as it was just a snack; all three wonderful. The muhammara is really spicy in a good complex way, the feta a great contrast with creaminess and the olives a counterpoint. We always get the fried oysters, good as ever. And the Iggy's bread is always a treat.
Steve Johnson makes an excellent cassoulet available only seasonly on Sunday evenings and in a "petite" form, on tapas Mondays. The portion is carefully doled out so you get the garlic sausage, duck confit, and braised pork in each small bowl.
Each of these tapas were only $6 each. I can't see how Steve is making any money on Monday tapas, but we resolved to go back every Monday during cassoulet season. The tapas menu seems to change some; I do remember with great fondness the bluefish with cucumber and asian flavors from trips past.
As usual, the service was friendly, attentive, excellent, and Steve made a few appearances in the dining room. It was even easy to park around 5:45. Also, the lighting is so nice and soft and the place is quieter than you'd expect, given the acoustical set up. Of course, it was not exactly full when we left, but at other times we've had to wait for bar seats even earlier on.
Sat down at 6:30 at a 4-top 2/3 of the way back into the room – tables & banquets amply spaced w/attractive, subdued amber lighting. Bar seating was full, but we wanted a table for conversation-easy w/low noise level in the room. Service was excellent w/water glasses refilled, used plates & silver replaced & table top wiped down as needed. Loved having warm, wet towels provided for hand cleaning after shelling shrimp.
Salty head-on shrimp with chili oil + lime
Fried oysters w/mustard pickle + spicy mayo
Grilled Portuguese sardines w/fennel-caper vinaigrette
Beef tongue salad w/shaved fennel, black olive + salted capers
2 Mini-cassoulet of pork, duck + sausage
2 Slow-roasted grilled lamb ribs w/Berber spices
Lemon-buttermilk pudding with huckleberry sauce
Espresso semi-freddo with chocolate sauce and hazelnut pralines
Bosc pear crostada with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce
Wonderful, moist sliced bread brought w/offer to refill. Oysters were melt in your mouth. Loved the 3 beautiful sardines, but the fennel was so pickled in vinegar, that we couldn’t taste the fennel – could have been jicama or anything, maybe add some fresh fennel fronds & less pickling. We could have done w/1 order of the earthy, satisfying cassoulet, but didn’t know we’d be ordering 3 desserts at the time. Lamb ribs tender & meaty. Pudding as fine as ever. The espresso semi-freddo really delish, but some large pieces of pralines so hard you could break teeth-pushed them to the side. Our fav was the pear crostada – pastry surround crispy, flaky & pear nicely spiced w/large, melting scoop of ice cream to top. Bill for 3 w/1 glass of wine inc. t&t about $110. Place was packed by the time we left before 8pm. We’ll definitely be back another Monday for this great deal. I will be back to order the skate wing off the regular menu maybe even before.