Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tasca Tapas Restaurant @ Brighton, MA

We picked Tapas to celebrate Rob’s birthday and decided to try this place call Tasca Tapas Restaurant in Brighton, MA. We made a reservation to dine at 5pm; which we realized upon arrival  that reservation wasn’t quite needed since the place was quite empty. It took a while before somebody came to seat us; the staff were apparently still busy setting the place up for dinner. It was definitely CHILLY inside!

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A basket of quite burnt (but still delicious) bread was brought to the table. It came with a little container of green mush later identified as mashed green peas. The mashed green peas were definitely a refreshing change to butter or olive oil. While it was quite bland, all of us enjoyed it.

We ordered a pitcher of Sangria @ $18.00 which serves 5 people perfectly. One glass each, though! The Sangria was pretty good. Surprisingly, we did not order a second pitcher!

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Overall, we did not order as much as I anticipated. I wonder if it was coz we were not that hungry or was the portions THAT big that it filled us up? All of us picked 2 dishes per person.  Here’re some of the Tapas we ordered. Some of my pictures came out blur. =(

1) Atún salteado @ $6.95 (Pan seared yellow-fin tuna over a mixed bean ragout in a saffron Dijon aioli) (Bottom Left). It was a pricey plate of fresh melt in your mouth fish. Perhaps the saffron in the bean raqout jacked up the price of the fish. I think we could get more fish elsewhere for the price we paid. This is after all Ahi-Tuna. I did enjoy the bean ragout which was nice and refreshing.

2) Confít de pato @ $6.75 (Fall off the bone succulent roasted duck leg served over braised red cabbage and apples) (Bottom Right). Now that I read the description, this duck confit didn’t quite fall of the bone! It was just ok, still quite moist but not the best I’ve had. It actually looked deep fried to me. The mysterious sauce drizzled on top of the duck was a little funky.

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3) Patatas bravas @ $4.50 (Cubed fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce topped with garlic aioli) (Bottom Left). I knew right off I needed to order this when I saw it on the menu. It was sheer disappointment. It was nothing like those I had in Barcelona. The potatoes were a little on the soggy and somehow tastes a bit queer. Not sure if it was the spicy tomato sauce. I regretted ordering this.

4) Pisto manchego @ $5.95 (Roasted Mediterranean vegetables served on garbanzo pesto toasted flatbread) (Bottom Right). This was just ok. I could hardly identify the roasted vegetables; they looked all the same. Perhaps there were some zucchini and eggplant. I think Seyda and I agreed that we couldn’t really taste the garbanzo pesto.

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5) Caracoles Escargots @ $6.95 (Escargo baked in puff pastry with herb butter over a roasted garlic and sambuca sauce) (Bottom Left). Now, that I see the description for the escargot and compared with the picture and my memory; the puff pastry seemed missing. This was the only escargot dish on their menu. Hubby loves escargot and yes, he’s the one who ordered this. I did not try this oil butter soaked escargot. I prefer my escargot a little hidden, be it under layers of cheese or yes the missing puff pastry.

6) Calamares Fritos @ $6.95 (Fried calamari with salsa Andalucia) (Bottom Right; Right Corner). This was the best dish of the night! Plenty of perfectly fried, fresh springy goodness. The portion were quite big too, surprisingly. The only downside was they hid the sauce under the calamari. You sort of have to dig thru the calamari to find the delicious and slightly spicy (I think) sauce. I wish we saw the sauce earlier; it would have been better to dip the calamari in them!!

7) Albóndigas @ $4.95 (Homemade tenderloin meatballs in green peppercorn sauce) (Bottom Right, Left Corner). I did not try this coz it was beef. Hence, I can’t comment on I don’t know what the rest thought of it.

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Here are a few others that we ordered and not pictured.

8) Empanadillas de queso de cabra @ $5.95 (Herbed goat cheese empanadas served on a roasted red pepper relish). The empanadas were light and crunchy. Too bad I loathe goat cheese, hence I did not enjoy this dish at all! I can’t stand the taste (or smell) of goat cheese but I did take a bite of the empanadas and still did not like the cheese filling. I think the others said it was pretty good.

9) Asado de cerdo  @ $5.95 (Char grilled pork loin over a rosemary infused white bean ragout with braised mushrooms). For some reason, I don’t know why I did not try this dish. I remember it looked pretty good from far.

10) Gambas al ajillo @ $7.50 (Sizzling shrimp in garlic with chili pepper). I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures of this shrimp dish. Whilst it’s good and plenty, the shrimp were really tiny! It would have tasted much better if they use large succulent shrimp (quality instead of quantity) to cook it in a pot of buttery garlicky goodness. Can’t really taste the chilly pepper though.

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There is live music; a guy strumming his guitar in the dining room. In the summer, they supposedly have Flamenco performances. We enjoyed Flamenco performance while in Barcelona, Spain…perhaps we’ll make a trip to the restaurant in the summer for some Sangria and Flamenco.

Overall, I enjoyed the company more than the food. Can you believe they don’t serve Churros? And the waiter has not even heard of Churros!!! Oh yeah, the place did warm up a little..but I still needed my Pashmina to cover my freezing arms… And there were a little more people by the time we left.

I’ve only been to 2 Tapas restaurant in the Boston area and right now my vote still goes to Dali’s @ Somerville. I think Dali feels a little more authentic even though their prices are a little higher. Read my review on Dali HERE. I don’t know why the reviews on Tasca was so great (5/5 Stars); I don’t think I’ll give them 5 stars. Nevertheless, their prices were reasonable for those scouting for an affordable meal.

Check out Tasca’s website HERE and their menu HERE. Check them out in Brighton during dinner hours (yes, they’re only open for dinner) :

1612 Commonwealth Avenue
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 730-8002

PS: Parking is quite limited there. There’s only street parking and you do need to watch where you park!

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