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 Dec. 16, 2014
How do you explain why a hot, successful team like the Green Bay Packers lose to the Buffalo Bills when there is so much at stake? It's a complicated answer, but it isn't just statistics or even motivation that seem to be the problem. A loss like that may not even be avoidable at some point.
Published Dec. 14, 2014
The sixth edition of "Who Killed Santa" by the Umbrella Group has become a highlight of the holiday season in Milwaukee. But unlike almost all the other traditions, this one not only takes the gloves off, it never even had any gloves. If you like your humor both funny and raunchy, this show is just for you.
Published Dec. 13, 2014
A 50-year-old play about race seems like a perfect fit for the discussions raging across American today. And while the play has lessons, they get lost in too many amateur moments in the production by World's Stage Theatre Company.
Published Dec. 11, 2014
"A Christmas Carol" is a story well over 110 years old but it still has a magic and the MilwaukeeRep manages to find new pieces to keep the audience delighted. It is running for the 39th consecutive year at The gorgeous Pabst Theater.
Published Dec. 11, 2014
Cases in New York, Ferguson and Cleveland are getting a whole lot more press than the case of Dontre Hamilton here in Milwaukee, It sure seems like his story deserves to be right up there with the others.
Published Dec. 10, 2014
This is the season when thousands of people try to do something special for those less fortunate. There are lots of good causes out there, but a tiny South Side church runs programs for the homeless and it has a very special fundraiser coming up.
Published Dec. 9, 2014
Marquette has always had a pretty good basketball program but there is something about the whole thing that doesn't inspire love. As a matter of fact, in some quarters, it's very easy to hate the Golden Eagles.
Published Dec. 5, 2014
Hillary Clinton wants to be president and somebody thought they ought to write a country song about it all. The song stands no chance of finding it's way onto the Billboard charts and is really the most trite example of country music. They ought to be ashamed.
Published Dec. 5, 2014
Once again the beautiful story of "The Nutcracker" will sail into Uihlein Hall for the holidays. It's a spectacular and warm show for the entire family. It's especially fun for all those little girls in black leotards who dream of being a dancer someday.
Published Dec. 4, 2014
Someplace along the line we decided that if we change Christmas cards to holiday greetings we thought that we'd be safe from accusations of discrimination. That kind of political correctness does nothing for the spirit of the season or for those who don't celebrate. Let's be honest about differing faiths and enjoy each of them.