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August 13, 2009

Unlimited tapas for Restaurant Week



Midnight Sun Sam tells me he's going to La Tasca, the tapas bar in the Inner Harbor, for Restaurant Week.

That surprised me until he said you get unlimited tapas for your $20.09 at lunch or $30.09 at dinner.

My reaction: a) I wanted a mini-review of his meal and b) I didn't believe him. ...

But sure enough, when I checked the Restaurant Week Web site, it confirmed that the offer was unlimited tapas.

It still seemed unlikely, so I called La Tasca to make sure.

I spoke to Tan Ahmed, a manager/server, who said it's been working very well for them this week. Not only that, the same deal is available every Wednesday. Ahmed said it's been a good way to introduce folks to tapas who aren't familiar with the concept.

Sam, we await your review.

(David Hobby/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 2:40 PM | | Comments (44)


Oh, nice. Shame though considering that you couldn't pay me $30 to eat at La Tasca.

Sgt. Grumbles -- I agree. I was there in June and the food was horrible! I don't have a positive thing to say about it.

I saw that deal, too, and considered going until I read reviews of the place. No chance at all of me going.

Sgt. Grumbles -- I agree. I was there in June and the food was horrible! I don't have a positive thing to say about it.

the other reviewer mentioned Tosca's deal in preview piece....which he had forgotten to invoice for...THANKS!!

Uhhh ... should we reconsider going? Is it really that bad?

Sam -- Yes! Save the $60 for a good meal...some place else.

I did this 2 years ago. It wasn't bad. Could have changed, though.

We had trouble getting the attention of a waiter after 2 rounds, though.

I was tempted as well, but then I thought about it. To take advantage of this you'd have to stay there for a long time and I think they frown upon parties of two bringing books to read.

Its not that bad, if you have a worthy conversation it just might work.

I think the tapas at Tapas Teatro are horrible--but I seem to be in the minority. Looks like I won't be trying La Tasca.

The tapas at Pazo used to be absolutely stunning--presentation and taste--but then they "improved" the menu by switching to mostly main courses a few years ago and all those lovely small plates disappeared. The ones on the menu now are okay--certainly better than Teatro--but I don't get excited about going there anymore.

If that photo is from the establishment... I no longer need a diet aid. I'll just look at the photo. UGH!

I have eaten at La Tosca twice, and both times the food was more or less awful. The service took a while (which I don't mind), but the food was cooked long before it was served, and lightly fried dishes turned out cold and greasy. It's not worth $30/person.

I have had better luck at La Tasca than some of the above. A part of it may be knowing which things tend to sit around (and I do get that comment) and which they do on order. I will say that the service has become increasingly poor in the last year.

I had great tapas Sunday at Isabella's in Frederick. Excellent fried calamari, panko encrusted asparagas spears, Spanish cheese stuffed in Spanish red peppers, meat skewers, scallops, octopus, garlic bread and something else I can't recall. Three glasses of wine and two soft drinks for $90. Since there were three of us that works out to $30 each and it was all the food we could eat. No trouble getting the attention of our server. The only tapas place I like better is Emilio's in Chicago.

sheeeeeeeeeeit, if it's all you can eat it must a deal.

unbelievaboh, not if that is all you can eat.

Unlimited Tapas....Seriously Only if you Like Unlimited Garbage. Most of the Tapas are a Ripoff. Especially when they are Unlimited. There are really no worthwhile Tapas Restaurants in Baltimore, let alone during Restaurant Week.

I'm no expert on tapas (it isn't charcoal chicken, after all), but I do like TapaBar. The prices are reasonable, the portions large, the food isn't bad and the service is very good. It is a very pleasant place to meet folks and chat.

I haven't been to the La Tasca in Baltimore, but I've been to the one in Alexandria and it wasn't good.

I remember the food being so-so, and the service being quite bad.

We were seated and the waiter took our drink orders. The drinks came and the waiter never came back. After about a half an hour or so, I went to the manager to tell her that our waiter abandoned us. The manager apologized and sent over another waiter. This waiter came over, brought us some more drinks, and then he never came back. I had to go back to the manager and tell them the same things happened.

Eventually, someone did take our order, but when the food came it didn't prove to be anything worth the wait.

I agree with those who don't care for La Tasca. Only ate there once. Didn't care for the food or service.

I love tapas because I like to try different things. In one meal you can have fried sardines, duck confit, stuffed quail, and assorted cheeses. Before the small plates craze I would frequently order the mixed grills places offered.

The Underbelly, any tapas place in say a 100 mile radius you would recommend? I'll drive for good food.

..makes me think of :

“There’s an old joke - um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know; and such small portions.’

EEL, I recommend TapaBar near my house on the edge of Little Italy. It's just a hop, skip and a jump from my house. The food is delicious and the owner Carolina is wonderful. I go there all the time. Lately they have been having special themes on drinks and food on Friday nights. I might stop by tonight for a bite con mi amiga Meredith before we go to the movies. I'm so happy with the simplest things there like the cheese plate and a dish of olives. Of course they have much much more. I just like being able to eat simply as I did in Spain. Plus some red wine. Las comidas son muy sabrosas.

EEL, try Cava in DC near the Nationals' stadium. It's Greek/Mediterranean small plates. Really terrific food and great service.

EEL, try Jaleo in DC (also one in Bethesda). If people here tried Jaleo they would understand how bad Tapas Teatro is. Also, there is Zaytinya in DC which serves wonderful mezze in a beautiful space (outdoors too). Both of these are part of Jose Andres' growing empire of great restaurants. Oyamel is also his--knock your socks off Mexican.

We did the unlimited tapas at La Tasca, but it was also 2 summers ago, so my info is not very up to date. At that time, we thought it was a great deal, and actually our food was not the greatest, but not horrible by any stretch. We especially loved the tres leches cake for dessert (we even ordered every dessert they offered...piggies!)

However, I do remember the service being fair at best, and we went on a weeknight, so it wasn't because of a full house.

This is why Baltimore needs to embrace Yelp more. It shouldn't be a mystery to people that La Tasca is pretty terrible.

Yelp can be wading through a lot of garbage, too. There are a lot of Yelpers who really don't know much about food.

...which is why people who do know about food should get on there. plus you can tell by reading a review if the person's opinion is worth taking into account.

Is it ok that people can just enjoy food and not have to use fancy smancy words to give their review of a meal? Last time I checked that was OK. Also, the last time I checked most of the people on here giving their opinions are not restaurant critics, chefs, or an English professor.

Huh, I'm either really lucky or I've apparently lost all my tastebuds, 'cause both times I've been to LaTasca I thought it was pretty good. Not like superawesomefantastic, but I was satisfied with our meal.

I can see people's complaints about the service though. It wasn't a problem for us because we tend to order all in one chunk, and we generally prefer to be left alone, but if I was someone who actually ever finished a glass of water or ordered tapas one at a time, I can see how that could be irritating.

I watch Jose Andres everynight on CREATE.

What is CREATE?

flaquita, Create is a public television network, offered by PBS to its affiliates, which has reruns of many cooking, travel, and how-to shows. WETA Create, on Channel 26.2 (one of WETA's digital TV subchannels), shows Made in Spain, the José Andrés food show, twice each day. MPT doesn't carries either the Create service or the Made in Spain show, so I suspect that EEL is watching the show on WETA Create.

All I know is that it is Channel 265 after Lydia and before Jaques.

My TV only goes to 11.

EEL, WETA's website reveals that WETA Create is broadcast on Comcast Cable's channel 265 in the Baltimore and Washington markets. Made in Spain currently appears daily at 6:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., each time preceded by Lidia's Italy and followed by Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way.

flaquita, if your TV only goes to 11, you probably won't be able to get WETA Create unless/until you get Comcast. Other cable or satellite TV providers may also have WETA Create, but you'd be best advised to check things out first before you sign up.

Hmpstd, if flaquita's television only goes to 11 it won't receive anything without a digital convertor box hooked up to it. With the convertor box, she may very well be able to get the four over-the-air channels that WETA broadcasts (depending on where she lives, how high in her house the antenna is, etc.)

Hal, if flaquita's television doesn't have a digital converter box, shouldn't it be receiving a dead signal now? I thought all of the over-the-air stations ceased their analog transmissions as of the June 12 digital conversion date.

As it happens, I have a digital converter box hooked up to one of my TV sets. While I could tune that set to WETA in the analog era, I can't get any of the WETA digital channels now.

Finally, I'm a bit puzzled that flaquita's TV only goes/went to channel 11. Even in the analog era, I'd think she would have been able to get 13, as well as many UHF channels.

Hmpstd, I'm reasonably sure that flaquita's post was a joke.

We have the opposite situation with over-the-air WETA. We get the digital broadcasts better than we got the analog one. I had to do a lot of fooling with antennas and signal amplifiers to achieve that, though.

Hal, I never can figure out how tongue-in-check some posters may be, but since flaquita originally posted an apparently legitimate question about Create, I figured I had go go along with his/her/its/their later posts.

With the digital converter box, I have no problem getting most of the Baltimore digital channels, although I'm a bit surprised at the resulting lack of variety.

Heck, I'm old enough to remember when there were only 3 or 4 channels!

Yes, it was a joke. A not-very-obscure reference. I made myself laugh anyway...

Heck, I'm old enough to remember when there were only 3 or 4 channels!

Indeed. I remember when UHF (the channels higher than 13) was a newfangled thing.

Hal, I remember when a "converter box" was what you had to buy and attach to your standard (VHF) set to get the UHF channels. It took forever for my father to break down and finally buy one of those newfangled sets which tuned in both VHF and UHF. Of course, the UHF stations didn't have much to offer back then.

flaquita, we're all relieved to know that you can amuse yourself so easily. ;-)

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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