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 Jan. 21, 2017
"Disgraced" by Ayad Akhtar opened at The Rep Friday night to a rapt audience enthralled by one of the most powerful plays of this or any other season. It's a play designed to engender deep, and perhaps troubling, thought, and it succeeds with punch.
Published Jan. 19, 2017
Most of the actors had only a nodding acquaintance with the unique sound of Shakespeare's language, sight gags ranged from risque bumping and grinding to pratfalls, and the entire scenery budget was $65 but this production of "The Taming of the Shrew" was plenty funny,
Published Jan. 19, 2017
Dave Begel has long maintained a bromance with Brett Favre forever and long resisted all claims that Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in Packers history. Until now. After the display at the Palace in Dallas, it is now time to put the crown on Rodgers' head.
Published Jan. 17, 2017
It could hardly be more appropriate to our times that The Milwaukee Rep unveils a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about Muslims in America the very week that we are getting a new president who has made Muslims a target of his vitriolic political campaign.
Published Jan. 14, 2017
"Welcome to Bronzeville" is a world premiere at First Stage about the vibrant and exciting neighborhood that existed in Milwaukee. The play can't capture that vibrancy and delivers a performance that is without any excitement.
Published Jan. 13, 2017
When I was a young man in the U.S. Navy, stationed far from my home, I had to borrow $300 from my father in order to pay for an abortion. It's stayed with me since then and I now find myself thinking of it again as new abortion attacks are underway,.
Published Jan. 10, 2017
It's clear that the Milwaukee theater community faces challenges of young artists leaving town in order to find work. How to keep them here is a question that deserves attention and consideration of a variety of ideas that could step that tide.
Published Jan. 5, 2017
Republicans in the Senate and Assembly celebrated their increased stranglehold on Wisconsin politics by smiling with glee over the prospect of being able to do just about anything they want without any real regard for people who might think differently.
Published Jan. 4, 2017
"Sexual chemistry" is not a phrase normally associated with the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music," but the production at the Marcus Center creates a fully realized Maria, a woman perplexed by her feelings of love.
Published Jan. 3, 2017
There has been no formal announcement yet, but it appears as if another theater company that provides work for young actors and directors in Milwaukee, is about to fold its tent. Soulstice Theatre looks like it's shutting down after 15 years.