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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Another Groupon, another review. Today we visited Talara, a little tapas/bar place right by Little Italy. We opted to go during a non-busy time of day (read: when we woke up from our nap at 3 p.m. 45 minutes before we had to pick up the foster kittens from their surgery) in hopes of quick service.

I walk by this place pretty frequently as it is near to both work and home, and I have never seen it busy. I noticed that this particular groupon had a little over 1,200 purchases so I do hope that changes. However, before we get to the reviewing of the food part, I do have to say one thing: their website is goddamn annoying. Dear Talara, go easy on the flash, mmkay? You kinda froze up my computation machine and I don't even run into that problem toggling between facebook and hulu Wednesday nights when I'm desperately trying to catch up with Amy and the gang on Secret Life of the American Teenager (we all have demons, go with me on this one). So, in conclusion, your website is confusing, too flashy, and it needs to be stopped. The end.
Now, the food/restaurant experience itself.

It took us a few minutes to decide on what to order, despite it being their lunch menu and pretty concise. Finally we settled on the Pork Empanadas for an appetizer, and Dave got the Bento box lunch which came with a salad, Asian salmon tar-tare, tempura shrimp over grilled pineapple, and two small slices of tres leches cake, I went with the green chile burger which came with queso blanco, bacon, green chile salsa and bbq sauce and a side of fries.

It took almost 15 minutes for our app to hit our table and before we were even done eating it our entrees were there, so I think there's a bit of a timing problem in the kitchen (which happened to be located about a foot to our left). The empanadas were pretty good. The pork wasn't dry at all, the pastry outside was crispy and then soft. It came drizzled with a sauce that tasted like a spicy mayo.

As for my burger, it was in interesting combo of flavors, definitely had that "southwestern" flavor going for it. It was cooked properly, and the fries were delicious. I must warn you this burger has a tiny kick to it, so I was unable to eat much thanks to my stomach. What I did eat was pretty good.

I tried Dave's salad and his shrimp, avoiding his salmon tartare at all costs, then giving his cake a try (I hate cake as a general rule. If you put cake in front of me and I have more than one or two bites, it's damn good cake). His salad was very crisp, the shrimp had a good flavor and I really liked the grilled pineapple. The cake was "eh". It wasn't dry and it was drizzled with a coconutty creamy sauce (which I liked) but it's cake.

The restaurant itself is really lovely. It's covered in all these latin-looking paintings, and the decor is funky and cool. I really like that they do the cooking basically right in front of you (sometimes I wonder what really does go on in kitchens, then I remember that I'd rather not know) but here they're right there and you can watch them make your food.

As far as the service goes, when we walked in we had to wait for someone to come up to the stand to seat us, watching the cooks shout and gesture to someone in the background. Our waitress was really really nice but I think that because it was so slow, it was easy to forget about us. She brought our food as soon as it was ready and our glasses didn't go empty but it did take her awhile to settle the bill. The last time I was in there I waited about 15 minutes to have my glass refilled then by the time she refilled it, we had to go back to work. So the service was better than it was that time.

I do think this place is more suited for a happy hour or business lunch place. I didn't get to try any of their alcohol drinks but I have heard good things. The food is pretty tasty but I just don't see this as a go-out-to-dinner kind of place. This is more of a meet-your-group-there-for-cocktails place. Its relatively inexpensive (at least their lunch menu is, I'm not sure about their dinner menu) and you do get enough food for what you pay for.

Overall, I give it 3 noms.

Dave's 2 Cents:
I really don't have anything to good or bad to say about this place. Nothing was bad, but for the location, something should have had stuck out as great.

Talara on Urbanspoon


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