For the Boyfriend’s birthday, he gave me a challenge of finding a restaurant that was both delicious and only had a two $$ rating. After much searching, I decided on Tabaré, located on the South Side of Williamsburg. Tabaré specializes in Uruguayan food, which is something both of us have never had before.
We were seated right away since I had made reservations prior. Since it was still early we were given the option of sitting anywhere. We opted for the table next to the open windows – you get a nice breeze during late summer nights. Tabaré runs Happy Hour from 5-7pm everyday. The host described it as 50% all cocktails, beers and wine by the glass. Our waitress described it as buy-one-get-one-free all cocktails, beers and wine by the glass. Either way, it’s half price.
For our first round, I got the Yerba mate infused vodka with blue agave, lemon and soda (right) and the Boyfriend ordered the Pisco, lime, and mint with ginger ale. Both were pretty good and were definitely flavors we had never had together before. Despite it’s small size, both cocktails were very strong.
For our second round, the Boyfriend opted for sangria, which is also part of the Happy Hour special. I opted for the Tequila with lime, grapefruit and smoked paprika rim. I’ve never had paprika in a cocktail before so this was also very new. I liked my second cocktail a lot, which is saying something because I’m not usually a fan of tequila in cocktails because I think tequila is better served as a shot. But the cocktail was very well blended.
After we received our first round of cocktails, our waitress brought over some fresh bread. I’m convinced they bake it in house because the time in between the waitress telling us she was going to bring us bread and the time we actually got our bread was quite long. The bread was also so hot that we couldn’t rip it with our hands. I always appreciate freshly baked bread!
Our first appetizer to arrive was the empanadas. You get a choice of 2 for $8.00. We opted for the Spanish Tuna with black olives (left) and the Gruyere and Fontina cheese mix with caramelized onions (right). The Black Tuna was pretty good but the best was clearly the cheese combo. The cheese was gooey, melty and just the right amount of salt. The Boyfriend, who isn’t as much of a cheese fan as me, even said he could eat ten of the cheese empanadas.
Our second appetizer was the Chorizo Adobado ($7.00), which features Uruguayan sausage cooked with roasted onions, red peppers and adobo sauce. I was expecting something spicy like Mexican chorizo but this wasn’t spicy at all. It was sweet and salty at the same time with a tiny hint of spice. The cast iron it was cooked it ensured that the sausages stayed hot even though we finished our empanadas first.
We opted to split two entrees so that we could try more items. We opted to try their Homemade Ravioli of the Day ($17.00). That day, it was raviolis stuffed with buffalo mozzarella, roasted potatoes and rainbow chard and served with peas, mixed greens and truffle oil. This was quite possibly one of the best ravioli dishes I have ever had. The raviolis were light and refreshing. Most of the time, raviolis are very heavy and leave you disgustingly full. This was not the case with these raviolis. The combination of the mixed greens and the light raviolis gives off a fresh summer feel. I hope they feature this ravioli more often because I will definitely be back for this dish.
We also ordered the Churrasco ($22.00), which features a grass-fed steak with a chimichurri sauce, potato confit and a market salad. First off, the steak is huge! It is as long as the cutting board that it is served on. Second, the steak was impeccably cooked. We always order our steak medium rare and this was indeed a medium rare. When you put your fork into it to cut it up, juices oozed out! Third, the chimichurri sauce is quite different from others that we have had. Tabaré’s chimichurri sauce is a bit more sour and less salty than other places. I think I quite liked it since it balanced out the salt from the steak itself.
We opted for two desserts because the moment our waitress mentioned their dessert of the day, we were very interested. Their dessert special of the day was a buttermilk and honey blueberry ice cream ($7.00). The moment she said blueberry, I knew I wanted it. Each bite had whole blueberries as well as a hint of the honey and buttermilk. I thoroughly enjoyed the ice cream and I kind of wish they sold it regularly in supermarkets.
Our second dessert was the Alfajor Rustico ($7.00), which features layers of homemade cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche, chocolate ganache and sea salt caramelized walnuts. The cookies were a bit harder than I expected so eating the entire three layers was a bit messy. However, it was well worth it because the mixture was very decadent. Despite all its sweet ingredients, it wasn’t overly sweet, which I really liked.
In my opinion, Tabaré was over and beyond our requirements. The service was prompt and very friendly. We got all our dishes in a very timely manner. Both our waitress and the other employees in the restaurant were very friendly in explaining the Happy Hour Deals. Our waitress even dropped by to remind us that we had some time left before Happy Hour was over if we wanted another round. The atmosphere was quiet and laid back. We will definitely be back!