Today is: Friday, January 24, 2020
Tasca Restaurant and Wine Bar Review
Stepping into Tasca Wine Bar, transports you far away from Los Angeles. Inside
the restaurant, a Spanish like dining room and lively tapas bar offer two settings
in which to experience Spain’s cuisine and culture. A menu of authentic and
inventive tapas, paella, and entrees showcases the flavors of the
Iberian Peninsula, with a seemingly endless array of options.
Located on theWest 3rd Street at Crescent Heights Boulevard, there is a portal.
Enter it any evening, and it will transport you halfway across the world to the heart
of southern Spain. All you have to do is step inside. Travelers do it for all sorts
of reasons. Some go for a romantic meal, others grab a drink and a snack at a
tapas bar. You don't need a plane ticket or a passport, just a few hours,
some spending money, and an appetite for adventure.
The entrance proper, where a hostess will eagerly greet you, takes you to the charming restaurant's dining room. Low lighting, an interior entrance to the bar
affords a glimpse of the lively scene. We sat at the bar, behind us all the tables
were already taken, it was about 7:30pm. The palces has about 40 tables,
and Chef Nano Crespo’s team is already in a whirlwind of action.
Great Beers and Dessert Wines
It's all we can to do sit back, relax, and sigh. We haven't even glanced at the menus when we are greeted by one of the owners; Gustavo Landgrebe and an amicable, quintessentially professional server who will be our guide on this trip. "Have
you been to Tasca before?" he inquires, launching with a smile into
an explanation of the menu when we reply we have not.
Tapas the general term for small plates or appetizers originated in Spanish taverns centuries ago. Small portions of breads, mediterranean olives & nuts, cheeses launched a tradition that today allows diners the luxury of sampling a broad array
of dishes in a single meal. At Tasca, the selection includes both traditional tapas plates as well as more modern, fusion creations. Larger, entrée-sized dishes, including enormous portions of Paella Valenciana, available only on Tuesday & Wednesday
for two people, are also offered. Tasca’s tapas are both hot and cold, portioned
in two sizes. About four small plates or two to three larger plates are
recommended per person. Sharing is encouraged.
The most difficult moment of the evening comes when we must narrow down
our tapas selection. Anticipating the process, our server brings drinks while we
begin the debate. I'm enamored with the selection of European and Latin
American wines, and opt for a glass of Malbec from Argentina. My date
opts for a combination of the Meritage Atria Mendocino 2004, and
later on he also wanted to try their Chimay Beer.
We start with the simplest of dishes bread. Warm from the oven, a small loaf
arrives in a simple basket, accompanied by two dipping sauces.
A selection of Small Plates start to arrive, and a presentation that helps save surface space on our soon-to-be crowded table. The Cod Brandade; a Salt Cod &
Potato Puree, with house made crostinis, it’s hard to exhibit restraint as our
server spreads the remaining small plates over the dark wood table.
Arancini; Wild Mushroom Risotto Fritters
Next we had the Arancini; wild mushroom risotto fritters, with truffled sauce.
The flavors are complex and elusive each bite resonates with underlying spice, freshness, and the salty-sweet distinctness of the truffled sauce. We are smitten.
At our server’'s recommendation, we simultaneously sample two tapas together
Beef Carpaccio; with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, arugula, fennel, and Tuna
Tartare; with Black Truffle & Taro Root Chips. Bite-sized pieces of thin slices
of tender filet mignon with tiny pieces of the reggiano cheese. While the meat
slowly dissolves on the tongue, the cheese explode with moistness and
flavor. Also the Tuna Tartare an unmistakable flavor.
Gambas Al Ajillo
It's a tough call, but we decide to also taste the Gambas Al Ajillo, which is the sauteed shrimp with garlic sauce. This dish is full of flavor, thanks to a rich white wine garlic sauce. For every shrimp there is a thick sliver of garlic, which surprisingly lends flavor without being overbearing. The sauce is light but deliciously complex, full of tomato, acidity, and tang. It pairs amazingly with our lingering Alcance from Chile, 2005.
Croquettas de Pollo
As a surprise, we also got to try their famous Barised Short ribs with spinach & goat cheese agnolotti, brown butter & sage sauce. I just can’t describe the lightness and amazing flavor of this dish, it was truly magnificent. Another and final surprise from
the Tapas menu: The Croquettas de Pollo, the most delicious tender, spicy, crispy
and amazing Chicken & Bacon croquettes on a romesco sauce.
Alaskan King Salmon
While tapas alone will comprise an amazing meal, Tasca’s entrees are equally stunning. The Alaskan King Salmon, one of several fusion-inspired dishes on the night special menu, has gained another devoted fan: me! A generous portion of bright pink salmon sits atop a bed of diced tomatoes, kalamata olives, and verdant pesto sauce. The salmon, however, steals the show, the moist, flaky meat mingling with lively pesto,
tart tomatoes, and savory olives. It is so flavorful, so enjoyable, that I am
tempted to eat the entire dish, even after an entire tapas course.
My guest’s choice was the Steak Frites, which was perfectly charred from the grill,
the steak is coated with a flavorful spice rub, adding a salty, addictive flavor to
each succulent bite. The frites were out of this world, one of the best frites we
have eaten in a long time, usually you do not finish the frites, this time we did!
The same holds true for dessert. The Tokaji Aszo – a chocolate cream that each
bite is outstanding buttery, and delicious. It is comforting, and invigorating,
rather than weighty. Perhaps the lightness of dessert is intentional, as
a Tasca’s experience isn't over when the meal ends.
Tasca is a tour through the best of Spanish culture. It is the only place in the
Los Angeles area that you’ll find Spain’s outstanding cuisine, alluring
crowd, and great wines. A Spanish vacation is at your fingertips.
Do not miss Tasca Wine Bar, it is the best Wine Bar of LA.
Special thanks to Gustavo Landgrebe for your hospitality and generosity.
For map and location click Here!
For more information please visit their website at http://tascawinebar.com
Article By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx
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