A return visit to La Tasca (but my first to the Chinatown branch) with a fab friend brought some interest to what otherwise would have been a dull Tuesday. Interesting bit about La Tasca, it's actually a UK chain that is alll over the place across the pond with just five US locations, all in the Balt/Wash metro area.
Tapas are my cup of tea. In fact, I'd like to have tapas-style meals with all kinds of food, not just Spanish. I'd like small plates of Italian, American, Thai, etc etc. That's why I love going out for Indian and Ethiopian food with groups--you get to try tons of stuff. Go out for Indonesian, same deal!
We had the following:
1. Champinones al ajillo (pardon my lack of tilde)- Sauteed mushrooms - You know, mushrooms. Good. Not particularly flavorfully seasoned.
2. Berenjenas gratinadas - I wanted this to be better than it was. It was ok, but I prefer my eggplant peeled, and the cheese had melted and hardened a little, gathering in the middle. So if you wanted to eat some cheese you had to literally cut it with a knife and take a piece, rather than have it smothering your eggplant. It was less "baked with cheese" as described, and rather, topped with baked cheese.
3. Mejillones a la marinara - I really enjoyed these mussels! The sauce was delicious, I wanted to drink it but instead politely dipped my olive and tomato bread in it.
4. Pulpitos a la gallega - baby octopus - I have put out many disclaimers about my lack of adventurousness, but I tried it. It was hard to look at it up close (I'm glad it was kind of dark in there) because ewww gross, but the crunchy legs (tentacles? Whatever they were) were pretty good and had a little kick to them. They could have been potato straws for all I knew.
5. Albondigas a la jardinera - MEATBALLS. Can you ever go wrong? There were peas in the sauce, and they were welcomed.
The service was ok. While our server was friendly and mildly amused at my attempt to order in Spanish (I've been learning via podcast), our service wasn't attentive. We were starving and ordered some appetizer bread (pan de tomate and pan de aceitunas--tomato and olive), which came along with a basket of regular bread WITH OUR FOOD. I'm sure the bread could have been ready earlier, and maybe it's Spanish custom to serve it with the food, but I needed something to nibble on in a serious way. Also, a few times I wished I wasn't staring at an empty glass of water. We were seated in the back left corner of the restaurant, and I faced my friend and a door that was THANK G-D NOT THE BATHROOM, because then I would have been annoyed. Besides the general bathroom smell (even if it's an air-fresheny one), I don't like the people shuffling in and out and around. Very distracting.
Sidenote, my other area of seating pickiness is with "floating tables." I prefer to be anchored to a wall, particularly when it's only me and another person, that way I can't be surrounded on all sides by people (sitting, talking, walking by...). I don't mind a small space, just let mine be against the wall.
Also, La Tasca, your pillows are a little bit awkward sometimes for sitting. Too big maybe? Too many?
Coming up: Why Old Ebbitt Express is the best bang for your lunch buck, and my Happy Hour picks...
Bon appetit and b'teavon.
2900 Wilson Blvd...772 7th St NW
Metro: Orange Line to Clarendon...Green, Yellow, or Red to Gallery Place/Chinatown