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California Tapas

Esteban : Delicious Tapas in Monterey

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Esteban : Delicious Tapas in Monterey

opinionatedchef | Mar 10, 2008 10:49 PM

We just finished a pretty extensive menu tasting here, on the first dinner of our annual March Cal. vaca. Esteban's is a very cozy low light room with handsome glowing fireplace and friendly staff. Our waitress was really not good (her sense of pacing was pretty dreadful)but she later revealed that a)she was feeling quite sick, and b) there is sometimes a language barrier in the kitchen, so I am cutting her some slack.

The menu is divided into Mini Plates ($4 and $8) and Small Plates $12. The produce
and seafood are of the highest quality.

Highlights/ favs:
Lentil,Eggplant,Tomato Stew rich and unctuous; texture of beef chili!

Sauteed baby squid w/ chorizo, local fingerling potatoes, arugula,tomatoes. Once I added my usual lemon squeezes, this was a great dish.

Baramundi- evoo sauteed w/ baby lentils and chive butter sauce. Great to discover a flavor-full new fish. (We v. rarely see this fish in Boston).Also cooked perfectly.

Fried calamari 'steaks' w/ fr fries and smoked paprika aioli

Prune armagnac ice cream

Complaints:
Spanish (primarily) tapas w the house bread being pita wedges? inappropriate and not a good complement to the food.

Beautiful organic baby purple carrots but they lacked the cumin in their title that was our reason for ordering them( so we returned them.) One other dish also lacked components that were in its menu description.

While the eggplant tagine served w/ the baby lambchops- was delicious- it was the very same dish as the lentil eggplant tomato stew which we had already enjoyed.

General:
VERY generous portions. Limited but good selection of wines by the glass.

Esteban's is in the Casa Munras at the bottom of Munras Ave. across from Denny's.
Sleek attractive hotel.

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