It was on a cold and rainy night a few weeks back when I decided to check out Tasca, a new West Village tapas place with a fun, Gaudi-esque decor. And although all that lively tile work, those nice drippy lamps, and the long, large-windowed wall that makes up the front of the triangular room made me think that the place would work better as a summer retreat than a winter warm-up spot, the staff was welcoming and helpful, and the menu definitely had its bright spots.
Tasca claims to serve the only truly authentic Spanish tapas in town, and while I have no idea whether that's true, there was a definite (and infectious) Spanophile zealousness to the place. I ordered four dishes, which, combined with a freebie olives and hummus platito, was more than enough food for dinner. The first thing that came out was the Bombas, or fried mashed potato balls with an aioli dip. The perfectly executed crispy-to-mushy texture and the rich potato flavor of the balls made for a terrific snack, but combined with all the garlic in the sauce, this was a pretty heavy way to start a meal. Next came the best dish of night, Sopa de Apio Blanco, which was a thick and fragrant celery root soup smothering a pair of morcilla (blood sausage) raviolis. The creamy soup and chewy pasta worked beautifully together, as did the bright flavor of the celery mixed with the spicy sausage. This was excellent.
My last two plates were pretty disappointing: Pinchos Morunos—bland lamb skewers on a bland pile of chickpea puree, supposedly also including cumin, preserved lemon and mint—was uninspired. And in my last and least favorite dish, Chorizo e Higos (chorizo with figs and a balsamic vinegar glaze), not only were the individual ingredients pretty pedestrian—the chorizo, especially, tasted entirely too much like hot dogs—but the balance between the flavors was totally out of whack, with "syrupy sweet" winning by a mile.
I ate early, but there were only two or three other tables taken by the time I left... and when Bo and Co and I walked by last Friday night at around 7:30, the restaurant was maybe half full. Like I said, it feels more like a summertime place, and the bathroom is really cool, so perhaps it'll take off once the weather gets warmer and the evening sun can pour in through those big front windows. Especially if they get a new supplier for their chorizo. Tasca is on 7th Avenue, right near 10th Street.