Tres Gatos, Jamaica Plain, MA

It's hard to disagree with the belief that Tres Gatos was founded on, "sharing good food, music and books is essential to a happy life". It's also hard to disagree that these fundamentals are very apparent and are what gives Tres Gatos its charming atmosphere. Cozy and welcoming with music playing at a comfortably elevated volume, you'll be hard pressed to find a seat at one of the crowded high-top tables. On the night I visited, the crowd was lively with laughter and the music made it hard not to sing along to. Peeking into the kitchen, the two chefs looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. They were laughing and having fun while cranking out the food.

Having been to Spain, I was excited to try their Tapas menu and in particular, their Tortilla Espanola. The Tortilla, at its best, is delightfully fluffy with eggs and thin disks of fried potatoes. Round and flat, it is similar to an omelet and served a shade warmer than room temperature. The best part is the flavor; salty and somehow sweet and heavily laced with Spanish olive oil, it's not a flavor you soon forget, nor want to. The Tortilla Espanola ($6) at Tres Gatos is like a distant relative. Served as a tall wedge, it was stacked with thickly sliced and blandly seasoned potatoes and served cold with a heaping side of aioli. Sadly, it missed all of the details that make a Spanish tortilla so wonderful.

The second dish that I sampled was the Pork Empanadas ($8). Served as a trio of small fried dumplings resting on a bright green smear of cilantro-parsley sauce, the exterior of the empanada lacked the expected crispiness and while the pork filling had a nice flavor to it, it got overshadowed by the grassy taste of the sauce. Most disappointing was the portion size. After a couple quick bites, the dish was done. It's understood that the point of Tapas is to enjoy small bites, but to me, these bites were a little too small and overpriced.  After spending almost $40 on two little dishes, plus a glass of wine and a glass of Sangria (that ran only 2/3 the way up the glass and brimming with ice), it was time to move on. I'm certainly not expecting a local Tapas restaurant to compare to eating Tapas in Spain, however I'd hope that the prices would be a bit more reasonable, the portions a bit larger and the food a little more traditional.

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Boston Food Diary said...

Ugh....it is so upsetting when "authentic" dishes are messed up. Im sorry you had a poor experience at Tres Gatos...never a good thing

Dale Cruse said...

This reminds me of the old Woody Allen bit: "The food was lousy - & there was so little of it!"

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