Monday, January 16, 2017

Rant: A Brave New Restaurant In Melrose

I wish more restaurants could be brave, willing to take risks to stay true to a concept or cuisine.

However, I understand the market factors which make that difficult for some restaurants, which feel they must cater to their customers, diluting their concept, just so they can stay in business. For example, I know an Italian restaurant, which originally desired to stay true to their concept of Italian regional cuisine, but felt compelled to eventually add a burger to their menu. It was sad to see that addition, yet if they had not made such changes, maybe the restaurant would have had to close by now. And that would have been a tragedy.

No matter how great your concept, if you don't have enough customers, you will fail.

That is why I want to bring your attention to T'ahpas 529, a new Spanish restaurant on Franklin Street in Melrose. They serve primarily traditional tapas, as well as some non-traditional dishes, and also serve a few larger dishes too, such as paella. I haven't visited it enough to write a more formal review, but I want to highlight one feature which I feel is especially brave.

Their wine list concentrates on Spanish wines, with a smattering of wines from other countries including Argentina, Chile, Portugal and Italy. There are 15 wines offered by the glass, from Cava to Rosado (priced $8-$14), but they also have an additional 9 Sherries offered by the glass (priced $9-$14). And offering that many Sherries, especially for a restaurant in Melrose, is brave. Unfortunately, Sherry remains a niche wine, and far too few people have experienced good Sherry. And most Americans that drink Sherry, drink sweet Sherry though dry Sherry is far more popular in Spain.

Sherry is delicious and fascinating, with a lengthy and interesting history, and it is one of my favorites types of wine. You can read my more than 30 articles about the various aspects of Sherry, from History to Food Pairing. It certainly pairs very well with Spanish cuisine, though also pairs very well with many other cuisines too. I have often recommended that my readers drink more Sherry and I'm here again to repeat myself.

I want to encourage anyone who dines at T'ahpas 529 to be brave and try one of their 9 Sherries. Ask the staff what tapas they suggest you eat with your Sherry. If the restaurant is brave enough to place that many Sherries on their list, you should be brave enough to order one of those Sherries. You might very well be surprised how much you like the Sherry. And if you dislike one of the Sherries, try a different style of Sherry as it could be more fitting to your preferences.

Support brave restaurants!

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