I have a little theory on tapas bars: people flock to them for an exciting small-plate adventure that usually consists of walking away hungry, needing more alcohol, and whining about the amount of money spent. What’s even more ridiculous is how us small-plated suckers always come back for more pain… again and again and again.
Upon entering Tasca’s corner space you immediately realize the complete lack of, well, space. This place is tiny. In fact, it’s so tiny that they use what seem to be Tiny Tim’s crutches as bar stools. The overall décor has the classic fresh-air feel that you would expect from a Mediterranean diner: windows looking out onto Seventh Avenue, white-washed walls, curvy ceilings, and hand-designed mosaics. Oh, and let’s not forget the stars of the show — large bulbous lamps that strangely resemble a certain unmentionable bodily fluid. (Ok, fine. It’s sperm.)
Despite the impressive 100-plus Spanish wines, ranging from hearty Riojas to beautiful Chardonnays, it is in fact the sangria that stands out amidst all the drinks. Sure, you could sip the rum-lover’s “Tasca Kiss” (coconut rum, spiced rum, pineapple) or insect-inspired “Spanish Fly” (Grey Goose, cucumber, lime, mint), but how on earth does one pass up fruit laced with alcohol? Whether you choose red or white, each glass comes full to the brim with chilled wine and a handful of liquored-up fresh slices of apples, kiwis, and grapes that wait every so patiently to knock you (or your unsuspecting neighbor) on the floor.
When perusing the menu it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed by the numerous selections that Chef Craig Wilson has created. Amidst the countless items, the must-trys certainly involve the Savory Meatballs ($9) and the ultra-tender Short Ribs ($11) that would melt if you looked at them cross-eyed. Top them off with one of the rich cow’s or sheep’s milk cheeses and you’ve got yourself a meal.
Because Tasca is new, I recommend getting there sooner rather than later. Its fanny-packed-tourist-meets-NYU-ankle-biter location will soon be attracting hordes of individuals looking for that “filling” Mediterranean experience. As always at tapas bars, the bill will add up fast. Order slow, take in the scenery, and know that even though you once again spent too much money, you’ll certainly be back… again. Damn.