I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I ventured out to try the new Longview restaurant, Tapas. All I knew was that it was attached to a casino and had a dance club, which quickly evoked an image of small plates being served by big haired, hot pants wearing cocktail waitress yelling over top 40 music and the clink of coins being dropped into slot machines. Alas, I am happy to admit that I was wrong, something I don’t admit to very easily. The entrance was separate to the casino and opened up to a romantically lit dining room that was airy and modestly decorated so it felt like its own entity apart from the casino. I have to admit that the current décor did not impress me. With the name Tapas I was hoping to be temporarily transported to an exotic oasis with beautiful drinks paired with small but incredibly satisfying pallet teasers.
Closing my eyes, that is exactly what I got. For me their cuisine and ambitious cocktail menu trumps the visual ambience, since I would seriously sit on a cardboard box if that’s all they had to enjoy their ginger lime martini and a plate of cucumber tapas. I went traditional with my tasting and just did small plates although they do serve dinner. Tapas, if you are not familiar is traditionally Spanish and it is a style of eating in which you order several different dishes to share while imbibing pairable drinks that put your taste buds on an adventure.
My first stop on my taste bud adventure was with a ginger mojito and calamari. The spicy dipping sauce was beautifully complimented by the coolness of the drink. My next drink I spotted from across the room as it made an entrance. This deliciously tart lemon drop was served with dry ice so it arrived like a bubbling volcano that was perfectly cold, the way a martini should be. I paired that with a pound of clams so tasty I actually ate them all, even though I was supposed to just be tasting. My next drinks where all just tastes, in case you are starting to wonder how I was still standing. I tried the peach ring, caramel apple martini and the ginger lime, which again was excellent with the delicate yet complex flavors of the cucumber tapas.I find myself partial to less sweet drinks but the few I did taste where light and would make an excellent after dinner drink. The drink that I will go back again and again for though, is the whiskey smash and it’s cousin not yet on the menu the basil gin smash. The only problem with this drink was that it did not come with a lounge chair and someone to fan me. It was hands down one of the best blended cocktails I have had. The hand squeezed juices escalated this simple cocktail to sheer perfection.
If you stay past 10 pm the music starts and the vibe turns more casual, but don’t limit yourself to the infamous fireball shots. I know, I know ladies it’s cheap and tastes like cinnamon but leave that for campfires and the beach and give a caramel apple martini a try. It is sleek, sexy and gives you a sophisticated look as you are holding it. Don’t be fooled by this drinks delicate look it delivers a mighty proverbial paddling that the next words you will say when you hit the bottom of the glass will be “Thank you sir may I have another.” Tapas is a refreshing destination in a limited culinary area. They are heading toward a level of sophistication and taste that will provide us with the variety and quality I think most of us are looking for. Their drinks are complex, creative and well crafted. The knowledge of their staff is reflected in their ambitious attempt to do more than just serve a drink but give you an experience. In layman’s terms Tapas is killin’ it with their drinks and is deserving of the title of this article. A Votre Sante!!