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My husband and I tried out a new-to-us restaurant this evening that we thoroughly enjoyed. We seem to have gotten ourselves into a rut recently in terms of dining out--we find ourselves making the circuit of the same 2-3 fine dining, 3-4 moderate dining, and 2-3 breakfast places each month, which is a shame considering the number of very good restaurants in our area. This post is actually the first time I've devoted blog space to a local restaurant and I'm not sure why--I tend to be pretty obsessive, not to mention verbose, when it comes to rating places I try when traveling. Why not do the same thing for the good folks back at home?
So tonight we ventured out to Ibiza Tapas in Northampton, MA (USA) and it was as pleasant a meal as I recall eating in Northampton (a town famed in New England for its high concentration of local restaurants per capita) in quite some time. Ed was our very congenial server who led us through the menu, which is divided into four sections: Traditional Tapas Hot & Cold, Modern Tapas Hot & Cold. We ranged around, selecting four dishes (alas, one of my first choices, a shrimp & scallop ceviche with coconut milk, could not accommodate my cilantro aversion) and were deeply pleased with each one. They bring the dishes as they are prepared, and the only thing I would do differently in the future is stagger my orders, as the last dish that arrived was more delicately flavored than the others and would have been better served first. We had Pan Catalan (the tomato, while light in color, was bursting with flavor) followed by Esperragos a la plancha (perfect). Our remaining two dishes are not on the sample online menu and I cannot recall their names, but they were both terrific--pimiento stuffed with oxtail and served with garbanzo beans and a pork tenderloin accompanied by a beet-potato puree and fig.
Our four small plates were the perfect amount of food and we could have left the table quite sassified, but anybody who knows me knows that it's very difficult for me to turn down dessert. There are four on offer but I decided on Torrija de queso, a bread pudding made with a little cheese and topped with dulce de leche helado and a very piquant sweet and sour strawberry reduction. Not too big, not too sweet, and it was all I could do not to run my finger around the bowl to lap up the rest of the strawberry yumminess.
Two glasses of wine--a bright, crisp vino verde for me and a light-bodied red named Opera Prima for DH--rounded out our meal, which came to about US $50, including tax but before we added the tip. We couldn't have been more pleased with our experience and we vowed that Ibiza will work its way onto our regular restaurant roster (say that five times fast!) immediately. I'm looking forward to our next visit, where I know I will be torn between wanting to revisit the dishes we sampled tonight and trying out all of the other, equally yummy-sounding plates that they offer.