Cafe Tapeo has CLOSED... it's now, apparently, an Irish pub. Thank goodness! NYC was running out of those...CAFE TAPEO
52 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
For the first time ever, Speeds suggested eating outside of her Chelsea neighborhood. Such a rare opportunity was not something that could be passed up and Park Slope was her destination of choice, a neighborhood I hadn't been to in quite some time.
I love Manhattan and miss living there. I love my neighborhood of Forest Hills and recommend it to everyone I know who's looking to move. But Park Slope is a great place. And there's a reason that it's one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city among people in my age bracket. Park Slope has managed to blend community with city in a way that few other places can claim to have been able to replicate. You may not know all of your neighbors, but this aura floats there that you probably could if you wanted to. Monuments, tree lined streets, and one of the best parks in the city draw swaths of the upper echelons of New Yorkers, while dozens of restaurants , bars, and quaint walk-up brownstones draw almost every college grad who doesn't have that Manhattan-or-bust mindset. If the upside of Park Slope is eating and drinking, it's downside is commuting and shopping. There aren't too many retail stores and the supermarkets are... weak. Plus, parking is truly awful.
Cafe Tapeo sits just near the the border of Boerum Hill right near the 2/3 subway stop and Flatbush Avenue. If Queens Boulevard is called the Boulevard of Death because of its volume of high speed traffic, than Flatbush must be the safest street of all time since the traffic can't move at all. I used to hate driving here and still do. It's nothing but double-parked delivery trucks and jerk-off gypsy cabs.
I arrived at Cafe Tapeo about a half hour before Speeds and Mr. Dogz showed up, so I grabbed a seat at the bar where I BSed with the cute bartender/waitress/hostess until they came. I had no idea that the Chimay beers I was ordering were $10 each. Keep that in mind y'all.
We started with an order of Mixed Marinated Olives and the Trio of Warm Grilled Pita Bread with Tzatziki, Skordalia, and Hummus, two great Mediterranean ways to filter the alcohol out of your system... or at least slow it down. The olives were slowly picked at over the course of the meal, but they were olives, nothing to write home about. Get 'em if you like 'em. Don't if you don't. As for the pita dish, the tzatziki dip was delicious, the hummus was quite good, and the skordalia (a lemony mashed potato) was okay. Note the descending order. Alongside these dishes came our orders of Patatas Bravas, a spicy fried potato dish served under a dollop of spicy aioli, and Turkish Cigars, a philo dough pastry filled with lamb, pine nuts and feta cheese. Both of these dishes were incredible, though Speeds felt that the patatas bravas was too spicy for her. Dogz and I didn't agree and ordered another round later on. My only complaint with the Turkish cigars was that we only got three of them. If I didn't have more food coming, I'd have ordered another of these as well.
We also ordered Grilled Baby Octopus in garlic and olive oil, which was good, but not great. The octopus itself was tender, but the sauce it was in derived the majority of its flavor from the peppers it was served with. In truth, if you didn't eat the octopus and the peppers at the same time, it was a rather bland dish. Dogz skipped the dish and Speeds agreed that it was tasty but nothing special. Since it was one of the most expensive tapas on the menu, we suggest getting something else that's better and cheaper. Dogz ordered the Paella de Verdura, a roasted vegetable paella that was heavy and spicy and full of huge chunks of roasted eggplant. I suppose that I would have loved for there to have been a great big hunk of lobster hiding in there, but this was great as it was. Lastly, Speeds ordered the Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter, Mascarpone and Sage. While she and Dogz enjoyed the dish, they felt that the filling was so sweet that it could have doubled as a hot dessert. I was less enthusiastic. The filling was definitely a bit on the sweet side, but it was also dry instead of moist. But, since the ravioli were buried under so much sauce, I didn't even taste the filling the first time. I did however taste the sage, which was quite plentiful and powerful and bitter. I'd skip this plate.
Cafe Tapeo ran out of coffee by the time we ordered dessert, so Speeds ordered an Earl Grey tea and the Flan, which we were told was the secret recipe of the chef's grandmother. In that case, I can't possibly say anything bad about it. But actually, from the bite I stole, it was quite good. Speeds certainly thought so.
Two beers, three sangrias, six tapas, two small entrees, one dessert and one tea, plus tax and tip totalled $135.