Photos and Words by Amanda Barillas
There are few things that come close to frustrating a foodie as much as this Foodie’s Dilemma. You sit down at your table, and open the menu. You see the slow-roasted BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, the creamy Pasta a la Carbonara, the smokey grilled salmon with a side of whipped garlic potatoes and spicy gravy, and you find yourself torn in a hundred directions. The culinary world’s solution to an indecisive foodie? Tapas.
This Spanish style cuisine comprises of smaller plates, meant to be shared among a group of people. A popular place to enjoy tapas is Taberna de Haro on Beacon Street. The ambience is warm and relaxed, with dim lighting that helps make your culinary journey smooth. Trying any number of their plates, from appetizer to dessert, touches on all of your tastebuds, so that each meal is an adventure.
Simple plates can help start the night off; something small, light, like croquetas. These small fried bundles of béchamel filled with ham are crunchy on the outside, flavorful, warm, and soft on the inside. This could be followed with a soup, perhaps a bowl of slow-braised oxtails. Typically served in a broth, the meat falls right off the bone at the simple touch of the fork. The warmth and wholesomeness of this course might seem like the perfect meal, but you’re just getting started.
Spanish cooking is known for saffron and spices, flavorful food with a punch that leaves you wanting more, with the different flavors lingering in your mouth as you walk away. Creamy Patatas Bravas, tossed in a spicy sauce, live up to that standard; The Gambas al Ajillo, shrimps served in a buttery garlic and lemon sauce, will have you dipping bread in the leftover broth for that one last bite. Just when you think the there is no more room on the table for anymore food, you order Ancas de Rana, frogs legs in a similar broth, with a kick of brandy. Slowly cooked, the meat is tender, juicy, and once it arrives steaming at your table, the meat will have absorbed each flavor it encountered in the pan: garlic in the background as the citrus bite of lemon comes through, while the brandy gives each bite a slight punch that has you going back for more.
There’s just nothing like it.
As untraditional a meal as this might be, dessert is a must; it follows through in its unique combination of flavors: dark, creamy chocolate truffles, drizzled in olive oil with a dash of sea salt sit elegantly on one white plate. Glistening in the candlelight, you see the crystals of salt sparkle. With one bite, you’ll find yourself experiencing the creamy and rich dark chocolate while the olive oil adds a touch of savory to the lush sweetness, and the salt enhancing all the flavors around it.
All in all, Taberna de Haro gives you the feel of escaping Boston, finding yourself in a warm tavern in Madrid, enjoying flavors from all over the world, but especially the spicy, flavorful touches of Spanish cuisine with tapas as your main vehicle to different palatable destinations.
Taberna de Haro 999 Beacon Street Brookline, MA 02446 (617) 277-8272 tabernaboston.com
Hours Mon-Thurs: 5 PM-10 PM Fri-Sat: 5 PM-12 AM