One of my favorite Tuesday night spots is a fantastic place in Princeton NJ. At first glance you may think it is just another "hoy faloy" place with food so small you have to fill up on the bread basket. Like the rest of Princeton, the front of the building is dressed to impress. Big glass doors, outdoor stone patio, the works. However if you venture inside you will find that they have surprisingly affordable options for those of us with shallow pockets. While they do have a great basket of bread, they also have $2 tapas with the purchase of a drink every day of the week. Now I know what you’re thinking, $2 tapas is probably fried cheese and buffalo wings; but these tapas include things tuna tartar, salmon ceviche, and meatballs (aka abondigas, my favorite Spanish word because it’s just so darn fun to say). But wait, there’s more! Act before 6pm and their entire tapa menu is just eight quarters. Unlike most places where they put their cheapest options on special, every single tapa is just $2. Yes I know I sound like one of those annoying car commercials that keep saying the same thing; but this deal is so good no amount of repetition can do it justice. There aren’t many things you can get for that cheap any more. In today’s market it’s like the fabled penny candy your grandparents talk about; lots of choices, little price tag.
Needless to say I went on a tapas spree. My sister, my mother and I ordered the tartar, ceviche, clams, and abondigas. Being a lover of all things raw, including steak and eggs (GASP), I was incredibly excited about the tartar, ceviche, and the clams. And rightly so, it was so good it made me want to jump up and say “OLE!” or do a tap(a) dance. You could really taste the freshness of the fish. It was light and delicate and just kind of melted away like a snowman in the sunshine. They all had a light citrus drizzle which gave the dishes a little kick. It was like a little flamenco dance in your mouth. I have had these dishes about 10 times and I still adore them! What can I say; I’m a glutton for punishment (by good food).
The abondigas (come on just try saying it out loud; you know you want to) were surprisingly light and fluffy. I’ve had meatballs that would be better used for batting practice or meatball fights, but these were light little succulent balls of beefy goodness. They were cheesy and slightly salty and smothered in a tangy sweet tomato sauce; so delicious I was convinced they secretly had my grandma working in the kitchen.
The three of us also split a Pumpkin Crusted Cedar Planked Branzino entrée. It was flaky and salty and nutty and delicious. Not to mention the portion size was huge. It may take two to tango, but it took 3 to eat the dish. So after 3 hours we were so full I needed to be rolled out like the meatballs. And then there was the bill, which would seem more ominous if most of our meal hadn’t cost $2. The grand total... $75 with tax for 3 people including beverages; which comes to $25 per person. We all left the restaurant with very happy stomachs and baccounts that night!
Keep your wallets full and your mouths happy
Copyright © 2012 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved.