So, for a few weeks, I was craving tapas. Tapas – those small, flavorful plates of Spanish cuisine – are light but satisfying: they are perfect dishes for hot summer days. Eventually, my craving got the best of me, and I started researching local Spanish restaurants.
My search ended when I landed on La Tasca Restaurant. It’s been years since I’ve dined there, so I was overdue for a trip. This Chinatown restaurant has become something of a DC standard, especially since there isn’t an abundance of Spanish restaurants in the District. I decided to stop in for lunch and I was eager to see what delights the restaurant had to offer.
I ordered a lunch special, complete with four tapas. My server was friendly and made sure that I had a table with a great view. As I sipped my iced tea, I watched the hustle and bustle of people milling around in Chinatown. Soon, my first order arrived- except it wasn’t what I actually ordered. The pan con tomate (bread with tomatoes) that arrived at my table looked appealing, but I knew I hadn’t ordered it. When my server returned, I let him know that I’d gotten the wrong dish. But he then let me know that the dish was no mistake: it was complimentary. I was surprised and delighted to get an additional tapas plate at no cost.
My complimentary appetizer: pan con tomate
Then, my actual order started to arrive. My gazpacho was a chilled, creamy delight, bursting with freshness and flavor. Every mouthful was a gourmand’s dream.
Next I enjoyed fried manchego cheese bites, manchego frito. These crisp and lightly salted morsels were perfectly complimented by the honey orange marmalade dipping sauce that came with it.
Yummy manchego frito
Then I had the fresh tomato and lettuce salad, the tomatina. It’s been years since I’ve had sweet, fresh tomatoes (most of what’s available in stores is tart). The dressing enhanced the sweetness. I really enjoyed this!
I ended my tapas experience by eating gambas al ajillo, the garlic shrimp. I love garlic and, when I’m not doing the vegetarian/vegan thing, seafood is always on my list. The garlic was subtle but undeniable. And the shrimp were cooked perfectly. This was accented nicely by the red pepper flakes: they added a little heat but weren’t overwhelming.
Overall, my meal at La Tasca was superb! It was a great value and experience. I can’t wait to return for lunch sometime in the near future!