Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Taberna de Haro

Taberna de Haro
Spanish Tapas and Wine
Brookline, Boston

My experience here was one made in culmination. I'd been wanting to come to this intimate, cozy, little late-night wine-and-cheese get-away on Beacon Street now for quite some time. I'd always walked by late at night and said, "Tomorrow night, it's wine and tapas for me", but it never happened, and now I'm glad it did, and in great company. We met up with the gal who is the reason for which I began my blog; she got the ball rolling for me and said, "you need to write about your food experiences," and I followed her advice. Thank you, Mo!

When we walked into the place, I appreciated how we were immediately greeted by the Executive Chef, Deborah, a sweetheart and ultimately hospitable. She and her husband owned an American restaurant in Madrid, Spain, and now she has a Spanish Tapas place in America... funny, huh? This place has a cozy, inviting bar and a few tables inside, enclosed by low-lighting, dried garlic and peppers hanging from the walls and atmospheric Spanish artwork and posters. The colors are warm and are very much nook-like. The kitchen is open and the place is pretty much spackled with small date-deuce tables. There are tables outside too for starry-evenings. On the weekends, you'd better be ready to wait for a table here. This is certainly a quiet, intimate, European getaway of a date restaurant or just a refined evening of pure Europe-- simple, natural, and romantic. At this place, you eat late. Do as the Spanish and Europeans do... you'll understand.

Sangria
According to many restaurant reviews, this sangria is supposed to be famous. I tried it, and asked what was in it and was told it was a concoction of sprite, a merlot-type grape, some diced up fruit, sugar, and ice. I didn't think it was THAT incredible, to be honest. I kind of like Dali's Sangria better. I think that Taberna puts too much ice into their Sangria and not enough wine. It was pleasant though, a very light, " spritey" Sangria.

Appetizer Bread

This was a plain kind of French Crust Loaf, wide slices, but thin in volume. The bread was OK, but hey, it wasn't supposed to be the star of the meal. I ate it, and it was just fine, fresh.

Potato Salad
Slightly cool chunks of baked white potato with a mayonaise, creamed mixture on it that was on the blander side with some herbs, chives I believe or maybe it was parsley. This was a very petit dish, probably about 5 spoonfuls, and we were three people tonight.

Pescatore (Seafood) Selection:
"SHRIMP with olive oil and garlic"
This shrimp was good, but there was a TON of olive oil in this, and it probably had some butter too. The garlic flavor was not standing out to me, but the shrimp were still good, served steaming hot in a little cast iron skillet. There were probably about ten shrimp in this, and they were not jumbo, but small-medium sized. Despite the obscene amount of grease in this dish, the shrimp were yummy.

Raciones Selection:
Asparagus (Salad) with drizzled white wine, and olive oil
Olive oil was not in the description, but it was certainly on these grilled, long, skinny asparagus pieces. They were quite grilled, and tasted grilled, but they were good. They were simple, and a healthy start to the evening. This was actually the first dish out after the bread and the potato salad. There were about a dozen of these on the plate, enough for the three of us to share.

Pincho manchego(?)
A hot cast iron skillet presentation of a salad, according to them, yet it was really stewed-casseroled braised eggplant, tomatoes, onions, (maybe some roasted red peppers) and poached egg on top that looked like a ball of mozzarella while the yolk spilled into the medley. It was interesting, and so tapas-looking. This was my favorite dish of them all. I loved the stewed tomato flavor with the softened, hot eggplant pieces. It was all really good. It wasn't terrific, but my stomach loved it, and it was a simple dish, but certainly transported me to Europe, to a late-night hideout where you could get affordable food that was just simply... good. I kept taking bites of it. It was new to me, almost tasting like ratatouille but lacking the spice. It was fresh and warm and chunky... a fair selection.

Carne (Meat) Selection: Grilled lamb on skewers, marinated, served with French fries topped with parsley
I'm a meat-eater, so I was looking forward to this, but after the eggplant-tomato casserole thing this was a bit of a disappointment to me. The lamb was tougher than usual, and we only got it medium rare, but then again they were on skewers so the pieces were small and cook rapidly. There were four little chunks per each of the two skewers. The juice of the lamb was all it was marinated in I believe, because it had no other flavor besides lamb jus and salt. The french fries were the compliment to this dish, and the french fries were good, nothing extraordinary though. They went well with the lamb, and I appreciated how these shorter fries were not thin crisp things but rather had some volume to them, and were topped with some chopped herbs.

Postre (Dessert) Selection:
Pudin: Sherried Chocolate Pudding
This was a little clear dish of chilled chocolate. The consistency was very thick and dense, like nutella. It reminded me of a frosting/fudge consistency, but tasted of a semi-dark chocolate mousse. It was good, and had a rich flavor. That dark-chocolate flavor is probably from the sherry. It was meagerly dusted with some powdered sugar and topped with 2 decorative walnuts. This was so filling, just 3 spoons did it for me. It's so thick, the three of us really couldn't finish thing. It was a fine selection though. I love chocolate. Next time, I'm getting the "famous" Vanilla Custard Soup that I've heard about. It sounds good too. I enjoyed this dessert too though. I'm just a dessert person, though I wasn't hungry after dinner tonight.

Anyhow, we had a pleasant evening, and it wasn't really about the food, but it was different and some of the dishes were good, but nothing that I'd need to crawl back for. Next time I'm going for the 170 bottle wine list, imported from Spain. It's impressive, it's a book. What I really loved was the fact that I had great company, romantic and intimate atmosphere of a small European place, something different to experience, and the idea of sharing little appetizers amongst each other--and we were full at the end!

Taberna de Haro on Urbanspoon

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