Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eating our way to romance... Tana Dolce

So, there's a new place in town. Which means my diet went out the window for an all to short visit to Tana Dolce. Tana Dolce is located in old town Castle Rock, directly across from a county building on the main street in town, Wilcox. It took over where the old Irish Pub Brannigans used to reside. They describe Tana Dolce as "Venetian Cichhetti Wine Bar"."
Cicchetti in Italian means “small bites” or what we refer to as shared plates big enough for two. The cities of Italy have a long history of wine and Cicchetti bars. They are places to gather and discuss the events of the day while enjoying the finest food and drink."
Ambiance: As you enter the wine bar from the street it appears to be
a much more formal eatery than most you find along Wilcox. It has a small entrance, and a window on the street that you can see into the kitchen. It is a skinny two story building, when you first walk in there is the hostess stand and several small intimate booths, I would describe the decor as an attempt at Tuscan that went a little over the top feminine. For instance, my husband said, "This is fun for dates, but I don't think I could do a guys night here." There are lots of crystal and gothic chandeliers, mixed with fake greenery, with stone walls, and old stain glass windows. As you enter the main portion of the restaurant there are vaulted ceilings and beautiful reclaimed chandeliers from Ireland (left over from the Irish pub that used to occupy the building). The flooring is old pink and white squared linoleum, which really takes away from the owners attempt at revamping the space.

As you walk up the stairs you enter the large bar area, which over looks the seating area below, they also have live musicians that play a few nights a week in an alcove down below. The bar is quite impressive and has a huge gothic chandelier above it that I love, but one of the reasons that most men would feel a bit out of place. There is couch and table seating in this area and entrance onto the small patio as well.

We chose to sit on the patio, as it is quickly getting cold here and we wanted to enjoy the opportunity while we could. Although small, it was very intimate, accept for the bar next door, whose occupants stood right below us to smoke their cigarettes and make out! But that was only a minor distraction to the sunset views and delicious wine!

Service: My husband and I had stopped by the Tana DOlce a few nights prior to our date night, and they were so accommodating, they gave us each a separate tour of the place and explained their vision. The service and personal attention was superb. The night of our date was not much different. Each wait staff was very welcoming and genuinely nice, the chef delivered our choices, and the bar tender was very nice. But because we chose to sit out on the patio, and I think because it is so new, they did not have the proper amount of waitstaff once the evening became busier, thus we were often forgotten, and had to go find someone when we were ready to leave. I am sure that these simple things will be fixed as they hire more people.

Food Quality and Portion: As stated, their dishes are to feed two people. There are appetizer and dessert choices. During happy hour a few of their selections are priced quite well. We chose their Rice Croquettes and the artichoke dip. My husband had the house red and I enjoyed an exotic fruit pinot grigio. Both of our wines were excellent. My husband enjoyed both of our appetizers as well. The rice croquettes were large balls of rice, breaded, and filled with cheese and basil. Topped with a marinara sauce. We asked for extra marinara sauce, they were a little heavy for me, and didn't have much cheese, just a LOT of rice. The marinara sauce was excellent. The artichoke dip was very unique, again my husband loved it. It was not very warm upon its arrival, so that was disappointing to me. It had a lot of green chili in it, which was unique and tasty, it had bread crumbs on top. Again, there was very little cheese, which to me, cheese is the best part of any dish, so I like much larger quantities. We chose these two appetizers because they were apart of the happy hour specials, but there seemed to be many to choose from and many more I am looking forward to trying, including cheese and chocolate fondues and stuffed mushrooms. There full menu can be viewed here. And again, we only tried two of their wines, but they were both magnificent, and there are hundreds to choose from, which can be viewed here.

Affordability: During Happy Hour we had two plates, and three drinks for a total of $26 before tip. Their happy hour specials are as listed here.
It seems as if it is an affordable option for a wine bar!

All in all we really enjoyed ourselves and look forward to going back and trying more things!

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