Surprise Tinto Dinner

You know what’s awesome about not having kids? You can decide on a whim to go out to a trendy and expensive restaurant and not have to worry about how you’re going to buy diapers or send someone to college (not to mention get a babysitter for the night).

GG called me at work on Friday to see what I might want to do that night, since we were both, miraculously, free. I thought of a couple places we could go, and then on a whim said it might be neat if we went to Amada for dinner (I’ve wanted to go back since we were there for our anniversary last year). Well, Amada is still super booked, as were a couple of the other Garces restaurants. So then I thought I’d check Tinto, and lo and behold, they had a reasonable 6 PM reservation open! So I made sure to get home from work on time so we could battle traffic into the city, get parked, and get to the restaurant. We actually got there a bit early and had a chance to walk around down Chestnut Street a bit before heading in.

We were seated in the main dining room area, though there’s also an upper bar with some seating, and a basement. I’d read the tables were very close together, and they were, but it was a lot like the tables at Les Halles actually, just trying to cram as many people as possible into a small space. Our waiter was very friendly and knowledgeable, and I couldn’t figure out who he reminded me of but finally decided it was Rob Cantor from Tally Hall.

Tinto is a tapas restaurant, and a lot of the plates are sized for sharing. So probably we should have pared down the amount of stuff we got… I guess we just figured, we ordered like 8 different things at Amada, so we should do that at Tinto too. Semi-mistake. It was an expensive and filling meal. (GG actually calculated that it was the most expensive dinner we’ve had together – more than Amada, or even Chelsea Prime, which was our previous record holder. Yes, he keeps track of these things, haha, because I wouldn’t remember!) But I’m glad we got so much because I wanted to try everything! We just ordered everything up front and then they brought it out in courses in an order that made sense.

We both had sangria (yes even me, I don’t usually drink) – I had the white because it was the sweetest, and GG had the seasonal (a little spicy, definitely tasted like autumn) and the red. First they brought us complementary mahon crisps with some sort of tomato-based sauce. Our first course I didn’t get a picture of, but it was the Mixto plate of three cheeses (not sure what exactly they were, but there was a sheep’s milk, a nice blue cheese, and a very stinky goat cheese that GG surprised me by eating and enjoying), and the asparagus in smoked tomato compote with mahon espuma. Second was the shortrib sandwich with bacon, asparagus, and celery root aioli; Patatas Asturianas, potatoes with tomato compote and la peral cream (basically tater tots with a cheese sauce, but they were seriously amazing); and green beans with almonds, dates, orange, and paprika sherry vinaigrette (I’d read that these were awesome and they were).

Since we were essentially eating a bunch of appetizers, we were taking the food from the dish it came in and putting it on our appetizer plates so we could split everything up. So between courses, people cleared away our dirty plates and brought us fresh plates and silverware. I don’t know if this is how you’re supposed to do it or not – some people around us were just eating off the plates the food came on, but we shared everything so that’s how we did it. The third course was the heaviest: lobster with grapefruit-vanilla nage and migas (that was GG’s, though I did try a bite); organic chicken with truffle whipped mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, and smoked bacon (the brussel sprouts and bacon were amazing, but actually the chicken was probably my least favorite of all the items we got); and the Bomba Rice with morel mushrooms, asparagus, and lemon oil (I was a little incredulous about the price, for rice?!, but I’d read that it was fantastic – and it was seriously worth it).

And of course we had to get dessert. We ordered two to share, but actually each ended up eating our own. I had the Mato Y Miel (goat’s milk mousse with orange-olive oil caramel, orange blossom gelee, and almond lace tuile), which GG didn’t like because it was basically like a goat’s milk cheesecake, two flavors he hates. He ate the Gateaux Basque (Basque cake, pastry cream, and black cherries), which was a bit too strong of a cherry flavor for me, but GG loves cherries, so it worked out perfectly.

So Tinto was amazing, and such a nice spur-of-the-moment night out! Sometimes no occasion is the best occasion for a fancy meal. Despite our best intentions, we passed out on the sofa after we got home. And slept in this morning – the house was too cold and the bed was too warm.

3 comments on “Surprise Tinto Dinner

  1. I’m glad you guys liked Tinto! You write such thorough reviews that I was wondering if you’re on Yelp. If not, get on there now!

  2. Oh I know, I always consult Yelp when I’m going someplace new, but then I never think to go back there and share my opinions! I should get on that… I could probably copy a bunch of reviews straight off my blog :o)

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