Tapas Estrella 

God here. Thinking I had been less than generous with Mitch at birth, I subsequently endowed him with great culinary skills, and made Andrea, his beautiful and equally talented wife, fall in love with him. I pitied Boise for its lack of fine dining, so I moved the duo to your town, and they opened The MilkyWay to great acclaim. But The MilkyWay got very busy, and it's not always easy for me to get a seat, which made me an angry God. So I had them open Tapas Estrella. Now, when I'm having a bad day, instead of doing something regrettable like changing your climate, I relax at Estrella, and rethink my options--no easy task, given how many I have. But that is the beauty of Estrella; it's a wonderful, welcoming and unpretentious place in which to dine at ease.

I eat whatever I want, of course, and when I'm at Estrella, I usually order two to four of their Spanish tapas. They also offer wonderful entrees, but the focus is on tapas-style dining. The tapas are brought out one or two at a time typically, which makes for a delightfully slow-paced dinner. My last meal there exemplified what I've come to expect. I opted for two of their nightly specials, which included an eggplant flatbread studded with a bounty of vegetables, and a grilled artichoke. Now I've been around more than most, and trust me, you're not going to find many restaurants attempting grilled artichoke. I was pretty hungry, so I also consumed an order of their albondigas (I love saying that), which are meatballs made of beef, chicken and pork. I was a content God indeed, but my hunger persisted, so I asked about dessert, and the waitress suggested I try the churros. "Churros?" I queried. "You know, it's like those donuts you get at the state fair," she responded with a straight face. "Carny food at Tapas Estrella," I mused aloud. I had to try them, and true to the owners' adherence to playful excellence, those donut strands were outstanding. I ended the evening in the cool of their east-facing patio with a glass of Rioja.

I am very proud of myself for the job being done at Estrella, so I demand that you go there soon. Don't forget: your local independent restaurants are no threat to the big chains (who doesn't love White Castle?), but the reverse is true. When dining out, for anybody but God's sake, remember to give your support to the little guys, too.

—God has a Waj Nasser complex.

Tapas Estrella, 121 N. 9th St., 426-8400, Mon.-Wed.: 4-10 p.m., Thu.: 4-11 p.m., Fri.: 4 p.m.-midnight, Sat.: 5 p.m.-midnight, Sun.: 5-9 p.m., www.tapasestrella.com.

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