Yay! My friend's back!
My group of friends couldn't be happier to have her back after a year-long absence, so after her first night back in the Gold Coast 'hood, we met up for welcome-home cocktails.
After much agonizing about where to go (Dive bar? Restaurant? Somewhere with a view?), we settled on an eatery I've been dying to try: 1492 Tapas Bar. I attempted to go to there once before, but the bar had been closed. (The place did score extra points for graciousness that night when the host offered to let us in for a drink; we politely declined, knowing we rarely stop at one.)
When we returned this time, we wisely arrived many hours before closing. The eatery, which offers weeknight specials such as $5 mojitos on Thursday and $4 martini Tuesdays, has some crafty gimmicks: One, it's situated in a house outfitted in Spanish Armada-style (think shields on the wall), and ample sidewalk seating offers prime people-watching in this highly trafficked neighborhood. Plus, just in case you forget exactly what year it was Columbus sailed that ocean blue, the menu prices all end in .92. (Math-haters, take note: You can round your total out to an easier number when leaving a tip.)
I'm happy to say the bar's $3 Monday night sangria deal was a steal. Strong, fruit-filled glasses of red and white sangria come at a discounted rate all night; if you've never had white sangria, know that it's a touch sweeter but just as good as the red kind. The service was friendly and prompt (my glass was only empty for a second before the waiter came by to see if I wanted another round), and the bar area, where we were seated, stayed pretty quiet.
The food, however, was disappointing. In addition to the standard tapas, the menu features a few interesting dishes, including grilled squid sauteed with garlic, pepper and red pepper and a chicken breast wrapped in a fried corn tortilla with cream, cheese and a spicy green tomato and jalapeņo sauce. Yet the tapas we ordered seemed to come in extremely small portions. Our warm goat cheese and marinara dish, one of my faves, came with just four tiny pieces of bread and cost $9.92. We devoured it seconds.
Yes, tapas are meant to be shared like appetizers, but after ordering about six dishes, our table of five remained starving. I feared that a knife fight would break out over the remaining crab cake.
It didn't. Unscathed, we ordered more. I wouldn't complain about getting to taste more items, but with prices hovering between the $7.92 and $9.92 range, the bill adds up fast. By the end of the night, my drinks cost about $6 and my food around $30. Was it the cheapest tapas deal around? Probably not. But 1492 did offer a peaceful, elegant setting, something many would argue is well worth a trip on the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria.
And hey, my friend's back!
Want to take a trip back in time? Learn more about 1492 Tapas Bar at www.1492tapasbar.com or stop by at 42 E. Superior.