Kika Tapas, Cambridge, Mass.
My friend and I are still doing our best to conquer Kendall Square as more and more restaurants open in the area. We recently met up for dinner at Kika Tapas, which moved in right next to EVOO. (Kika Tapas is a sister restaurant to Tapeo and Solea.)
We were seated off to the right as you enter the restaurant, and while I was initially disappointed that we weren't right in the middle of things, I was soon grateful that we had been seated off to the side because the bar area was pretty boisterous. We were able to enjoy a quieter dinner and hear each other as we caught up on what was new in our lives.
We started off by trying two of the sangrias on the menu: the berry sangria and the sangria royal. I absolutely loved my drink (the berry sangria) and will be ordering it again. The combination of berry-infused simple syrup, Cava, white wine, and Chambord sounds like it would lead to a very sweet drink, but it was actually very balanced. My friend's drink (the sangria royal, which is a red sangria with Cava and Grand Marnier) was even less sweet and had strong citrusy orange notes. Depending what mood you're in, either drink would be a hit.
In the true fashion of small plates, we ordered a bunch of things to share. We started with some Brazilian cheese breads. These reminded me of gougeres but were a little heavier. I liked them but would probably order something more interesting off the pintxos menu next time -- perhaps the artichoke, goat cheese, and mushroom crostini.
Next we tried the bunuelos (broccoli and cauliflower fritters). The crispy, fried bites filled with bits of broccoli and cauliflower were one of my favorite dishes.
A dish you can't go wrong with is the queso de cabra montanes (baked goat cheese in tomato basil sauce). We slathered the sauce and cheese on fresh bread. It made for a rich, comforting combination (and reminded us of when we were roommates, living about a block away from Dali, where we'd get this small plate often).
The crab-and-mango-stuffed avocado looked and sounded better than it actually was. It's a great concept, but for me the flavor fell short. It needed some sort of sauce or marinade to tie all the components together.
The mussels were pretty standard. They came in a pool of spicy tomato and wine sauce. I always find this sort of dish comforting on a chilly evening.
The last dish wasn't something I've ever noticed at any other tapas restaurant, but it sounded really intriguing. The revuelto de esparragos y camerones is a warm dish of sautéed shrimp, asparagus, scrambled eggs, and fried bread. Had the bread not been a little too fried (i.e., slightly oil soaked), this dish would have been amazing. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, and each time I took a bite of one with a sliver of garlic, I was reminded of my most-favorite tapas dish: gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), which I'll be trying when I return to Kika Tapas.
Of course, we couldn't leave without dessert, and the crepe with berries and dulce de leche sounded perfect to both of us. Just look at those thick drizzles of dulce de leche. Inside the crepe were tons of mixed berries including tons of mini blueberries.
Along with dessert, we opted to try two more cocktails. Be warned: These cocktails were strong. My friend tried la movida, which has Woodford Preserve bourbon, sage, cherry preserves, and ginger beer.
I went with la tormenta negra (if you know a little Spanish, you can probably figure out that this is Kika's version of a dark and stormy). This drink is a combination of Bacardi 8, Licor 43, Frangelico, and ginger beer.
Both drinks were very tasty, but you could definitely taste the alcohol in them. They're great for sipping.
What is your favorite tapas dish?
Labels: Restaurant reviews and events