November 1, 2010

Tapas Barcelona @ Evanston

Nestled in Evanston, Tapas Barcelona is a charming little gem that serves authentic Spanish food. I was very excited as this was my first time having tapas, something that I've been meaning to try for a long time. On my last day in Chicago after some outlet mall shopping, we wind up here for a late night dinner.

Through the patio, we walked into the dimly lit interior. The decor is very whimsical and cute, although I have no clue whether this is what the typical Spanish restaurant looks like. I very much enjoyed the lively and laid back ambiance.

To accompany our meal, we ordered a jug of the classic red wine sangria. The last time I had sangria in Macau (in a Portuguese restaurant), I drank too much of it too soon and felt dizzy and drunk for course of my dinner. So this time, I was careful not to consume too much of it on an empty stomach. I'm no wine connoisseur, but it tasted pretty good to me.
What I love about tapas is that you can try so many different dishes. My pick of the night was the Croquetas De Cangrejos: Crab croquettes with sherry mayonnaise. I love crab cakes, and anything deep fried with mayonnaise tastes good to me. So with that winning formula, I figured this can't go wrong, and I was right. The lemon juice gave a nice splash of citrus flavour to the croquette.
Tortilla: Spanish style omelette with potatoes and onions. To my surprise, the tortilla was served cold. To me, this resembled a potato quiche more than an omelette. The texture was denser than I would have preferred it to be, but the flavour was delicious and enjoyable. We all loved the side salad that was drizzled with a light balsamic vinaigrette. It was very refreshing and contrasted well with the heavy tortilla.
Charcuteria: assorted imported Spanish meats. Cured meat is usually not my cup of tea, so I have very little to comment on this. I tried a piece of everything and I really cannot recall the exact difference between the various meats.
Vieiras Con Salsa De Azafran: Sea scallops grilled, spinach, saffron sauce. This was one of my personal favourites of the night. The scallop was delightfully tender and bursting with rich flavours. I particularly loved the buttery saffron sauce (saffron is supposedly the most expensive spice in the world!) and the pine nuts that provided a great crunch for the dish.
From the daily special menu, we sampled the mushroom stuffed with pork tenderloin. I wasn't a huge fan of the combination of mushroom and pork, but I think by this time, I was a little too drunk to remember the specific details of this dish. It was by no means bad, but it wasn't particularly memorable.
Of course, I always find it hard to resist ordering dessert. This is the Pan Perdido: Bread Pudding Layered with Sauteed Apples, served with Raspberry sauce and Creme Anglaise. Sadly, I found it rather underwhelming. The bread pudding was served cold (I prefer them hot) and I didn't like how the dense bread was completely drenched in the thick and overly sweet creme Anglaise. I wish I had gotten something else.
By the end of the meal, I was pretty much drunk once again. ( I have a ridiculously low tolerance for alcohol). Nevertheless, I really thought the meal, as a whole, was quite spectacular, but perhaps the alcohol had affected my judgment. I will definitely be looking forward to my next tapas experience!
Tapas Barcelona on Urbanspoon



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