Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tapas at Santa Fe Plaza

Afternoon sunshine streamed into the tiny restaurant, illuminating white adobe walls, a white antique ceiling and well-worn brick floors. Canelones arrived piping hot, full of lump crab and scallops, and served in a rich, seductive manchego cheese sauce. But we weren't dining in a top flight Italian restaurant. Instead, we sat at small, linen-draped tables in the quaint Santa Fe restaurant space christened La Boca.

Since August 2006 owner, James Campbell Caruso, has created Spanish tapas and Mediterranean food in his restaurant just off the renowned Plaza, and gained a loyal local following And no wonder - Caruso's exburant enthusiasm for his food and his restaurant are infectious. Add on the fact that Zagat restaurant guide editors named La Boca 'one of the area's most notable' and there's good reason to make a reservation before you dine here.

Tapas lovers will find loads of choices, from tuna carpaccio with olives and blood oranges to fried egg with chorizo and potatoes; bruschetta with crimini mushrooms, egg, truffle oil and reggiano; and Gambas al Alcaparra - which combines grilled shrimp with capers, honey, sherry and lemon. Entrees range from sesame crusted salmon to grilled lamb chops and Angus rib eye.

Just be sure you don't over-order the tapas. You'll be amazed how much food fills a single plate.

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