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Monday, June 25, 2007

Taberna De Haro

It seems funny to only now be reviewing a restaurant that I have loved for so long. While some storefronts are cursed by a rotation of failed restaurants, Taberna De Haro, on the corner of Beacon and St. Mary's Street in Brookline, is a blessing to the Boston dining scene.

I have a connection to this particular space. One of my first restaurant jobs in Boston was the summer in college when I worked as a waitress at Cafe Jaffa off of Newbury Street. Jaffa's owners, Danny and Moishe, also owned a brick oven pizza place on the site where Taberna is located. A husband and wife team from Spain took over the auspicious address of 999 Beacon Street, deciding to utilize the existing brick oven to heat their tapas. It was a smart move. The well seasoned brick oven imparts flavors to the tapas that can't be replicated.

My one complaint about Taberna has always been the lighting. On every occasion I wished that the lights were dimmer, especially in such a small cozy space. I suppose because all of the cooking action takes place in an entirely open kitchen, the demands of safety superceded the lighting situation. But on my last visit I noticed that the lighting was much more warm and intimate, with candle light reflecting off the caramel wood and glass front. While did wait for some time, we were greeted with very friendly, knowledgable and attentive service staff.

This picture of potato salad demonstrates how the lighting has improved for dining, but not for picture taking. Oh well, every meal can't be a photo shoot.It was a perfect amuse bouche because it instantly made me crave more food.

The Special of the Night:
Sole with tomato and onion salad. Normally I wouldn't waist a keystroke writing about tomatoes in off season, but this salad, made with roma tomatoes from Georgia, had a great crunch, with sweet sulfury onions, and fresh oregano which demanded to be eaten with the delicate sole. I think this dish hit upon all the things that I adore about how the chefs at Taberna stylize their brand of Spanish cooking. Their food is simple, fresh, and possesses its own grace. Our server took pride in their naturally raised meats from River Rock Farm. There's also lots of room for adventure if you're willing to try the frogs legs, or oxtail stew. I've had both, and they're quite good.

A plate piled with tapas, or pinchos, as they call it. It included, solomill0, steak with Asturian blue cheese, and Anchoates, premium anchovies with boiled egg, roasted green peppers, and tomato.

The black ink paella came out looking like a fine piece of abstract modern art.

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