I went to Atasca on Saturday with my girlfriend and my parents....we were there early (a bit before 6) and had no trouble getting a table. The place did fill up by 7 o'clock though.
Overall, the meal was pretty good but not as amazing as I'd hoped.
We shared four small plates and two entrees:
Queijo com Paté
"Portuguese white cheese with chourico "Pate" and grilled garlic corn bread." This was one of my two favorites. The paté was very good, as was the cheese. Bread was also nice and garlicky. This dish came out first and was a nice start.
Pasteis à Tasca
"Pasteis de Bacalhau (codfish cakes), Rissois de Camarao (spicy shrimp fried dumplings) and Croquettes de Vitela (veal cakes): two of each, served with black eye pea salad." I thought these were okay. The shrimp ones were pretty nice, with a spicy, juicy filling. I thought the other two were a bit dry and didn't have too much flavor. They reminded me of the Brazilian equivalent (obvious connection there), but not as good.
Camarão com Queijo de Cabra
"Casserole of shrimp, goat cheese, fresh tomatoes, herbs and jalapeno peppers." This was my favorite. Thanks MB (and others) for the recommendation! The goat cheese DID go really well with the tomato broth, we also dipped the bread in it. Shrimp were perfectly cooked and very tender.
"Stewed fava beans with onion, garlic and vinho verde." I thought this was totally boring. The bean dish at O Cantinho costs about half as much and is probably four times as good. Maybe I missed the linguica?
"Clams, mussels and shrimp, steamed in a cataplana (copper steamer), with onions, red peppers, prosciutto, linguiça served with jasmine rice." This was not as good as I'd hoped. The broth lacked flavor (lack of spices and garlic maybe?" and the whole dish seemed only a bit hotter than room temperature. The occasional bit of ham was delicious, but I remember eating much more flavorful versions of this dish in the past. In fact, I could probably make my own version of this dish very easily at home and it would be better.
Camarão à Tasca
"Broiled jumbo shrimp with a light spicy fresh tomato sauce, served with sautéed broccoli rabe and home made fried potatoes." The shrimp were great (once again, perfectly cooked). The veggies and potatoes were quite nice too. Although this dish isn't too memorable, it was well made.
We had some sangria which was very nice. Also shared two desserts:
Pasteis de Nata
"Creamy custard tart with a flaky buttery pastry shell and cinnamon; available with Beirao (Portuguese orange liquer)." This had also been recommended on chowhound, it was very good. Do they have these at O Cantinho too?
We also had a coconut rum cake which was very good. I liked the desserts a lot.
Service was fine, although I did notice that while our table was only served bread and garlic/olive oil, other tables got small dishes of olives. I wondered why we didn't get olives, but I didn't ask.
Total bill for all of that was around 85 dollars I think. I probably would not go back soon since in that price range, I have enjoyed other meals more (Green St. Grill, Helmand, Lala Rokh, ECG) and there are several more places I want to try. For fava beans, I will definitely stick with O Cantinho....I need to get back there soon.
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