Restaurant Review: La Tasca, Washington D.C.

9 06 2008

I recently ate lunch at La Tasca in Washington D.C. with about 12 coworkers. We took advantage of the Wednesday lunch special, which offered unlimited tapas for $20 per person. The tapas menu available had a good selection of about 30 choices.

My overall experience was fair–it is a chain restaurant and the food that we got reflected that, except that it was tapas instead of more typical American chain fare. This was something I am not used to, as in Philadelphia, the tapas restaurants are all very upscale and expensive. La Tasca served mediocre food compared to what I am used to eating when I dine out, but the overall flavors and dishes tasted like good, down-home tapas.

The service was extremely slow, even for a party of 12, as it took us 40 minutes to be served and two hours to get through the meal. Towards the end of the lunch, someone spotted a cockroach on the wall and it put me off of the entire restaurant.

As for the food, I tasted the following:

Atun a la Plancha en Costra de Hierbas con Piquillos y Salsa Verde (Herb-crusted grilled tuna loin and “piquillos” sweet peppers)
The tuna in this dish was dry, but it worked well with the peppers, which were soft, roasted, and smoky.

Patatas Bravas con Ali-Ali (deep fried potatoes in a spicy sauce and garlic mayonnaise)
These were delicious and rich. The potatoes were soft and caramely, and the garlic mayonnaise was smooth, light, and tangy.

Champiñones al Ajillo (Mushrooms lightly sautéed in garlic and olive oil)
The mushrooms were the perfect consistency for my very picky mushroom palate—not too raw but not too mushy! They were the perfect side dish for all of the other tapas, as they were simple and the flavors were light and refreshing.

Buey al Jerez (Grilled marinated flank steak with sherry and mushroom sauce)
The mushrooms in this dish tasted exactly like the mushrooms in the previous dish. I love flank steak, and this version did not disappoint me.

Albondigas a la Jardinera (Our famous Spanish meatballs, served in a vegetable and tomato sauce)
This was the most delicious and unique dish of all. The meat was well done but moist, and the sauce was rich and filled with a variety of spices.

I would give La Tasca a second chance, as most of the food I was served was delicious, but I’d keep a close eye on the service and the cockroaches.

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