Three friends and I had dinner at Taranta last night before seeing Snakes on a Plane (haven't laughed that much in a theater in a long time). It was really a great experience, I think they really make the best of the whole Restaurant Week thing, because based on my meal last night I can say that I will definitely be back for a full priced meal.
Taranta has three floors and we were seated on the third, near the window, which was cool. I like how they seperate different groups between the floors, it was clear that it was mostly couples on the first two floors, which felt much more intimate and even had a guitarist, while the third floor, where the groups were, was a bit noiser but fun. Even though I wasn't there on a date, I could appreciate that those who were could have a more intimate dining experience, while the groups upstairs could be a little louder.
Chef Duarte greeted us at the top of the stairs and seated us, and was chatting with diners all night. He even went so far as to take our orders when he came over to ask if we had any questions about the menu - though he had to come back and write them down - great chef, but he's not a waiter. :) Anyway, it made us feel very welcome. Our server suggested an Argentian wine they seemed to be pushing last night whose name escapes me right now, which she claimed would pair well with most of the things on the menu, and I can say that it certainly did with the dishes I chose. A little bit of a spicy finish which complemented the Peruvian/Italian flavors nicely. We liked it so much we ended up ordering a second bottle.
For an app I had the gazpacho, which was nice and spicy with some watermelon and cucumbers that complemented the spiciness very well, but after tasting my friend's mussels, I kind of wished I'd gotten those. For dinner I had the cassava gnocchi with lamb, which was fabulous. Admittedly, I am a gnocchi fiend, so I might be a bit biased. Friends seemed pleased with the Tilapia, though I tried a bit, and was glad I got my gnocchi, though I did like the fried? chickpeas that came with the tilapia. Didn't get a chance to try my other friend's steak, so I'm guesing it was pretty great since she didn't seem to want to share! Had a hard time deciding between the desserts, a cheesecake and a hazelnut mouse with dulce de leche - caramel and cheesecake are my two loves, so it was a hard choice! I went with the cheesecake for dessert, and after tasting a friend's mousse, I think I made the right choice on that one too. Cheesecake was topped with fresh papaya and a raspberry.
So overall the food was great, but I think the thing that made it a really fantastic night was the service. I was a bit worried we'd be rushed since it was a Friday during RW, and I haven't always had the best service during RW, but that wasn't the case at all. Our server was attentive and knowledgeable, but we never felt rushed, we definitely took our time with dessert, and our server even made a point of saying there was no hurry at all when she brought the check. I'd have no problem paying full price there another time.