Saturday, October 25, 2008

Highlight #105: Another place to nibble - Restaurant: Eros Tapa Lounge

There are plenty of people who hate the tapa trend of the last few years. Not me. I am a nibbler. I love the small plate format. When the dishes are priced right, I see nothing but variety and value.

Before the weather got cold, six of us gathered on the large patio of Eros, which took over the former Pie Bar space, to wind down a busy week and to express our surprise over M's impending move to Iraq. What can I say, she is a brave one.

The loud 80s music videos playing on flat screens all over the patio raised some question marks in our minds about the quality of the food. But the reasonable prices encouraged us to order. Once the first plate came out, our minds were put to ease. Food was good here.

The homey meatballs were large yet tender. There were just enough breading in them to lighten the texture, but not too much to achieve that smooth processed meat feel. The rustic marinara introduced a tangy bite, but did not drown the meatballs.

The grilled lamb chops were prepared with just a little olive oil, oregano, and a dash of lemon juice. The simplicity of it was wonderful because the chops were prepared expertly to medium rare. Nothing was there to mask the natural lamb flavor. Neither did I detect any strong gaminess.

The fried goat cheese balls evoked images of a kindred spirit at Ecco. Drizzled with honey and sprinkled with walnut bits, these were as good as they sound. The ceviche octopus was less successful. While the tentacle pieces were of the right tenderness, the mixture of tomatoes, mango, onions, and lime juice rather smothered the octopus in both presentation and taste.

Fried zucchini chips are perhaps one of my favorite fried vegetables and these were done well. Crispy and non-too-greasy, they were a delight to snack on dipped in the cooling tzatziki.

Chorizo in red wine with chickpeas was exactly that. I liked it just fine, but got excited about none of the elements. It might have been a good one pot meal at home, but considering the quality of the other excellent bites here, I wanted a bit more.

We finished with a collection of three desserts. The baklava has never been my favorite dessert, finding it too tooth achingly sweet. Eros' version wasn't all sticky sweetness and the nuts tasted fresh. It was not my favorite, but by no means bad. The large brownie on the other hand was great. Crunchy on the edges and almost fudgey in the middle, it had all the pleasing textural elements to appeal. The chocolate content was also not too shabby, especially drizzled with a good bit of chocolate sauce. I can't remember at all what the last dessert was (even looking at the photo). It looks almost like the fried goat cheese balls described above... In any case, it must have been okay, but not exceptional.

Eros Tapas Lounge
2160 Monroe Dr. NE
Atlanta, GA

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