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virgin islands on line : St. John : restaurant & dining reviews

La Tapa 02/22/2009
Reviewers Rating: Good
We decided to try La Tapa as we had read so many great reviews. We went there hungry, which is probably not a great idea. There are too many good things on the menu! I started off with a lime martini. Very refreshing and quite a kick! One was enough. We split 3 appetizers to start. The bread with the dipping oil. escargot and mussels. The bread was wonderful and the oil well seasoned. One complaint is the cheese is grated coursely and not the best for dipping. The mussels were done in a lemony cream sauce. It was not my favorite preparation but the mussels were plump and perfectly cooked. The escargot was wonderful. Served in a creamy sauce over puff pastry. they were meaty and tender. The kids thought they were the best they had ever eaten. My husband ordered the duck with a cherry pinot noir sauce. It was very flavorful with the skin perfectly crisped and the meat moist and tender. It was served with a creamy goat cheese risotto and tender green beans. The bite of the goat cheese was a fantastic contrast to the slight sweetness sweetness of the cherry/wine sauce. One son ordered the ribeye steak special. It came with a chipotle hollandaise, black olive and tomatoe salsa, green beans and a potato pancake. The sauce was wonderfully spicy and the salsa was fresh and delicious. The green beans were served at room temperature and dressed with a light dressing- delicious. The only negative of the night was the paella special. The paella was a special served for 2. The dish was almost void of the chicken, calamari and spicy sausage and heavy on a very strong flavored fish and mussels. This dish was not worth the $68 price tag. It was so lacking, the son who I was sharing with asked to order something else. He enjoyed the same ribeye his brother had ordered. The presentation was not as nice as the first one that came to our table. The waiter was not pleased when we ordered the additional entree. He did not come back but to give us our check. No one asked why we only ate 1/4 of the paella. When the busboy came to clear the tables, he looked at the dish and asked "do you wanna wrap this or are you over it?" We didn't complain nor did we expect anything to be done for us- we ordered a dish and just did not enjoy us but the experience left us cold.

Service was inattentive and a bit rushed. Both my husband and I asked for a wine suggestion. The waiter brought us each a glass of wine that was a wonderful accompaniment to our meals. Unfortunately, there was no explanation or were we told what we were drinking. Generally, in finer establishments, this is done. We got the "drop and run." The restaurant is small and obviously, turning over tables is a priority.

We didn't let the service or paella ruin our evening. If we were to return to La Tapa, we would probably go to the bar and stick with ordering the small plates and salads and cocktails and not go there for a "big night out".


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