Monday, May 19, 2008

Bar Man of La Mancha

I haven't been in La Mancha for ages. In fact the last time I ate their food it was at an Atlantic Antic street fair where I had their grilled sardines.

La Mancha

Many years ago there was a La Mancha restaurant on the corner of the block, at Atlantic Avenue and Henry Street. I used to go there fairly often and one of my favorite dishes was the octopus stew. The Mysterious Chinese Woman preferred the clams in a green sauce. One of the owners retired and, I think, the other owner moved the location of the restaurant done the block a bit to 135 and renamed it Meson Flamenco. A couple of the waiters and one of the cooks moved with it so the food was pretty much the same. Then it closed and then re-opened with new owners who named it La Mancha again. The funny thing is that they didn't know the history of the place and naming it La Mancha was just a coincidence. In fact at first they couldn't figure out why everyone seemed so happy that they were re-opening.

Well, you could understand the confusion because many of the decorations are the same and they really didn't change much. The blood-stained bull-fighter's cape was gone though.

I decided to have a glass of wine at the bar while The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I looked at the menu.

Bar Man At The Bar

While we were looking at the menu (and they still had the clams in green sauce) we also noticed the chalk board with a list of the days tapas offerings and they looked interesting as well.

Today's Tapas

We decided to order from the tapas menu and then sit in the dining area and have dinner. I ordered the tripe, something I really like but something you don't see on a menu too often. The Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered the squid. The portions were quite generous and both dishes were, in my opinion, excellent. The Mysterious Chinese Woman isn't a big fan of tripe but even she thought it was okay.

Tasty Tapas

After eating our tapas though we found that we weren't really that hungry anymore so we skipped dinner and just finished our bottle of wine. I really enjoyed my stay and chatted with the owner/bartender and another customer at the bar. Then a woman came in who had a tee-shirt she bought for one of the waiters because she thought the picture on the front looked like him. All and all it struck me as a very friendly neighborhood place and I will certainly going back soon and order from the dinner menu. When I do I will be sure to write more.

Finishing Our Wine At The Bar

One thing that I was surprised by was the price of one of their wine offerings. It was Prensa Real, a nice Spanish red table wine that I am quite familiar with. In fact I just bought a bottle at my local liquor store a few days ago. They sell it for under $5 a bottle, a real steal. That was why the $22 price at La Mancha seemed to be a bit steep. But seeing as how the tapas were only $7 each it was still a fairly inexpensive dining experience. The dinner menu was reasonably priced as well.

La Mancha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I think I don't get to La Mancha that often because Pete's Waterfront Ale House is between where I live and La Mancha. Usually I never make it past Pete's. Well, I didn't make it past there this time either because I stopped in on the way home for an after-dinner beer.

Bar Man Having His After Dinner Beer

I opted for the Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout and it was the perfect after dinner drink. It was kind of like having a glass of port and an espresso all rolled into one. There certainly wasn't any missing the espresso flavor either. They start out with a Russian stout base and add espresso beans during the boil. It was quite delicious, but you wouldn't be likely to drink it all night.

Hitachino Nest turns out a lot of interesting beers but they are kind of hard to find. If you ever do run across any I recommend that you buy a couple to try. There are about ten different kinds and they are brewed by the Kiuchi brewery in Japan. In addition to the Espresso Stout I have also had the White Ale and the Red Rice Ale.