They say that good things come in threes and I now have three favorite tapas restaurants in Milwaukee.
I have been a fan of both La Merenda and Odd Duck for some time, and I have now added Espana Tapas House to the list of great food places that deserve regular and repeated visits.
We were a Espana last week in advance of a play and I was surprised by how good the food and service were. Pleasantly surprised.
The restaurant, on the corner of Wells and Plankinton, has a nice and non-intrusive décor with a number of tables next to windows, which always makes for intriguing activity during dinner.
A meal of tapas, which are small plates of a variety of dishes, can be an adventure, if you are adventurous. The idea behind them is to try a little bit of many dishes and share them around your table.
We started the night off with Ko-Bat, a single skewer with charcoal broiled shrimp, pork, chicken, beef and lamb. The nicest thing about this dish is that each item on the skewer retained it's unique flavor. When broiling it is easy to make everything taste alike.
Also hitting the table was a dish called Gambas al Allio, jumbo shrimp sautéed in garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, lemon juice and fresh parsley. It was wonderful and with fresh, still warm, bread to sop up the sauce, it was a special treat.
Also on our menu were grilled asparagus and cold red potatoes with a homemade aioli.
The star of the night, however were dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in Serrano ham and grilled under a broiler. I marveled at the dish and couldn't help but wonder how easy or difficult it would be to make it at home.
We had a waiter, Tony Aleniz, who who was very attentive without being intrusive and he kept the dishes coming without any long delays. He was also very knowledgeable in his explanation of dishes. He complimented us on our choices and I asked if he had ever warned people off any items. He assured me he had.
A tapas meal is a lot like what Mark Twain said about the weather. "If you don't like it, just wait a minute, it will change."
At most restaurants if you order a dish, but don't particularly like it, you're stuck. At a tapas restaurant wildly different flavors keep coming so you are never stuck with something you don't like.
After some early struggles, Espana Milwaukee has truly gotten its act together and has joined the elite of this city's small plate restaurants.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published Oct. 25, 2016
In the world of theater in Milwaukee, the holiday offerings typically start in early November and run through the new year. This year there is a Santa bag full of interesting productions scheduled for the holidays. There are some wonderful productions in store.
Published Oct. 23, 2016
Three women, all dressed in bridal gowns, each tell a tale of how that turn-of-the-century bathtub, filled with water, became a dastardly end for the brides shortly after their magical weddings. That's "The Drowning Girls" at Renaissance Theaterworks.
Published Oct. 21, 2016
"Scheherazade" was the feature when Milwaukee Ballet opened its season Thursday night, but it was the opening act - "Angels in the Architecture" by Mark Godden - that stole the show, proving how exciting and thrilling this company can be.
Published Oct. 20, 2016
For many Milwaukeeans, Sheriff Clarke's recent comments have only made him more of a national and international embarrassment to the city. Perhaps the answer is a recall election - which requires only 13% of the adults in the county sign a petition.
Published Oct. 18, 2016
Sometimes it can be difficult to fully understand how magnificent First Stage is in the theatrical firmament, not just in Milwaukee, but across the country as well. Take a look at "Goosebumps," which opened over the weekend, to see how they do it every time.
Published Oct. 16, 2016
It's not always the case that a play lives up to either its title or its billing, but First Stage, as you might expect, does just that with "Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium: The Musical," which opened over the weekend.
Published Oct. 13, 2016
The Milwaukee Ballet opens its season Oct. 20 with two one-act programs that are as different as night and day. "Angels in the Architecture" is about the Shaker religion, while "Scheherazade" is filled with romance, intrigue and spectacular costumes.
Published Oct. 12, 2016
Disney princesses are revered in the world of storybook tales, films, books and theme parks. "Disenchanted," the musical review running at the Marcus Center, turns those princesses around with a musical of riotous humor about how ridiculous they can be.
Published Oct. 11, 2016
I made a mistake and I'm sorry. In my review of "Dracula vs. the Nazis," which opened Friday night at In Tandem Theatre, I identified a couple that slept through much of the show. Naming the couple who invited them was out of bounds.
Published Oct. 8, 2016
How bad was it? This bad. A couple who were the invited guests of the couple that sponsored the play, slept through giant chunks of the play. That's the low point of "Dracula vs. the Nazis" that opened at In Tandem Theatre Friday night.