Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On the Road . . . Sarasota (Pt. 2): Tapas Night

Ceviche Tapas – #1 Restaurant in Sarasota that reminded me that good food speaks for itself
Pipirrana = Fabada beans,
crispy cucumber in
 Jerez vinegar, capers,
tomato, sweet peppers
 and onion

This was a random find when looking at a website that gives the Top 10 list for food deals in Sarasota.  Most of the food deals were because of a website, www.restaurant.com, that provides $25 gift certificates for as little $2 and $3.  Ceviche Tapas, though, was one of the few restaurants on the list with weekly deals.  Tuesday through Friday, they offer a Happy Hour special of discounted tapas and cheap sangria, beer, etc.  All day every Tuesday, they offer “Tapas Tuesdays” which features around 15 cold and 12 hot tapas, all for $4, as well as $4 sangrias in red, white, and sparkling. 

Ceviche Tapas offered a light, complex, and flavorful plate every time.  I went with my boyfriend and another friend late Tuesday night, around 10:30, and we each picked three tapas.   I got two cold tapas, the Pipirrana and Mejillones Ahumados, and Flan.  The Pipirrana was simply dressed and let the natural freshness of the cucumber, and sweet peppers, the firm smoothness of the fabada beans, and the tang of the capers and Jerez vinegar shine through.  Then, the Mejillones Ahumados  let the naturally dense and complex flavor of the smoked mussels resonate, creating a create texture contrast to the surrounding raw tomatoes and onions.  The flan--best flan I’ve ever had. 

Mejillones Ahumados = Smoked Spanish
mussels with tomatoes and onions
My boyfriend had three hot plates, the Chorizo y Pimientos, Croquetas de Pollo, and Calamares Fritos, and another friend ordered Salmon a la Gaditana, Esparragos, and Calamari. The calamari was crunchy and tender; the salmon was melt in your mouth smooth and was in a sauce that you wanted to sop up all of with the bread.  The coquette was a scene stealer because I have never had a croquette so rich and yet so light on the palette.   

 Even though tapas are usually small plates, the portions were substantial and each plate offered a different texture, taste profile, and sensory stimulation.  Oh, and lest I forget, you could couple each course with a $4 sangria, bursting with fruit and intoxicating goodness.  Everyone agreed that it was the best food find in town and didn’t break the bank.  For around $20 plus tip, I got three tapas and two sangrias and a really happy belly.

Chorizo y Piementos = Five types of chorizo sausage sliced with roasted tomatoes and sweet peppers
Croquetas de Pollo = Fresh chicken and Serrano ham folded into b├ęchamel and deep fried
Calamares Fritos = Tender squid lightly dusted in a seasoned flour and fried crispy, served with lemon and paprika aioli
Salmon a la Gaditana = Grilled Norwegian salmon served with leeks and saffron sauce
Esparragos = Fresh grilled asparagus with field greens and aioli
Ceviche Tapas Bar (Sarasota) on Urbanspoon
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