I can’t seem to forget about how much I enjoyed Toro in the South End so, in an effort to find another Spanish tapas restaurant, I came across Tasca in Brighton. It came down to a choice between Tasca in Brighton or Tapeo on Newbury Street. Tasca has better reviews and is less expensive, so I chose Tasca! It was an easy commute for me from WGBH in Brighton, but for Gary, Graham and Charlie coming in from the North Shore at rush hour, the Back Bay would have been a lot easier. Parking in this part of Brighton is really difficult. Tasca has a valet, but he is not always out there (he is parking cars) and there is no sign, so I spent 20 minutes finding a spot and so did Gary. I arrived first- this is another place that will not seat you until your whole party is present and almost nobody who comes through the door has their whole party because someone is out driving around Brighton trying to park their car. Anyway, once we were all there and on our way to the table, the host asked me where I had parked and when I told him, his thought was that I would probably get towed. So, back out to fetch my car and give it to the valet. Let me just say right here that if I hadn’t picked this restaurant myself, this is when I would have really started to get cranky.
This restaurant was filled with young professionals and college students from around the area. Tasca is located in between BC and BU on Comm. Ave, also really accessible from Cambridge and the price is right for a really satisfying meal. The Green Line stops right at their door and that, or walking, is the best way to arrive at Tasca. This restaurant won a lot of awards back in the late ’90’s and as recently as 2005 – it’s a little tired now and could use some freshening up, but I really don’t think that matters to the those who would like some good Spanish food at a reasonable price. The place was packed with people who seemed very happy to be there.
We tried a number of things:
Brie a la plancha- Grilled imported brie cheese with a savory apple and raisin chutney with warm baguette. I loved this-possibly my favorite of the meal.
Gambas al ajillo- sizzling shrimp in garlic with chilli pepper. Cool presentation served sizzling in a small frying pan, but very salty.
Solomillo- petit filet mignon (3 oz) served in red wine sauce with mushrooms.I heard this was good and it was gone in no time.
Mejillones- fresh mussels steamed in white wine, tomato saffron broth with garlic and grilled herbed crostini- mussels yum!
Canelon de pollo- Chichen and spinach baked in canelon with a duo of fresh tomato and smoked cheese. Everyone liked this Spanish pasta dish similar to a ravioli or shell covered with tomato and cheese sauce. This could definitely be a meal for me and $6.75! Kids are you hearing me?
For main courses,
Paella de mariscos- Shrimp, scallops, mussels and calamari with saffron rice cooked in a lobster broth. This was different from the Paella I have tried. The vegetables were bright and crisp and it wasn’t served in the pan so there was none of the charred bottom of the pan thing that makes paella really flavorful.
Filet de buey- Filet mignon over scallion potato cake and vegetable cognac and green peppercorn sauce. Delicious and gone before I could ask a lot of questions.
Tarta de chocolate- flourless chocolate terrine served with a raspberry sauce. This was reviewed as “okay and kinda hard”. hmmm- I could see by the effort it took to get the fork through it that this was an accurate review.
Crepe Helade- Ice Cream rolled in a thin crepe and smothered in a chocolate and amaretto sauce with toasted almonds. I tasted this – the crepe was hard and frozen- I was thinking French crepe, so I was disappointed.
All in all, Tasca is a great spot for those living in the area -good for a group or for a reasonably priced date. It has a fun and authentic atmosphere, the food is good and the price is right. I would put it third on my list of Spanish restaurants behind Toro and Dali.
Check out the rest of the menu at www.tascarestaurant.com and don’t forget to get a reservation!
Meeting Lauren in Florence at the end of this week! Let me know if you have any restaurant suggestions in Florence or central Tuscany!