Tapas on Ann

The restaurant where Rob and Maria and Larry and I had dinner before the UConn game on Thursday boasts of its Mediterranean cuisine and includes a bit from many countries, though I didn’t see anything on the regular menu from Portugal or from France. The number of choices is also limited.

For an appetizer, we shared a plate of hummus served with sliced onion and tomato, a few olives and wedges of somewhat tough pita bread. I was underwhelmed as the hummus tasted only of chick peas, no garlic, no lemon, no tahini. And it arrived just about the same time as our entrées.

The side salads, in the Greek style, offered generous portions of lettuce, tomato, onions, olives, and feta with a single not particularly hot pepper. They rivaled salads I’ve had at traditional Greek restaurants. I was full by the time the waitress set down the rest of the food.

Larry and Rob had kabobs – Larry’s was steak and looked tough. He was in urgent need of a toothpick after the meal. Rob said his chicken was good, but the waitress forgot his Greek fries, which when they arrived were the waffle cut moderately spicy variety. OK but not overwhelming. Maria had the same reaction to her falafel, which she found only so-so. My salmon sandwich (which I can’t find on the menu) was a step up in quality, but the portion was small, the fish on the hairy edge of being overcooked, the bun of the cheapest variety, and the sauce not particularly flavorful. I should have tried the spanakopita.

True to the name on the door, the menu does include tapas, but they are served on pizza dough or a tortilla depending on the size. I was sorely tempted by the Baby Moon and Mushroom with portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, ricotta cheese and fresh baby mozzarella. Nobody in our party chose any of the tapas, so I can’t report on their quality.

And then there was the service …

When we arrived the place was about half full with people in various stages of ordering, eating, and finishing. Shortly after we sat down, the rather small room began to fill up, and pretty soon a group of six appeared at the door all wearing UConn jackets. Then a couple appeared, then another. The area between the door and the register was at that point full to bursting. People were eventually seated, but we could see disaster looming just before we left because the same waitress who messed up two of our requests arrived at the table behind us with the wrong salad for one person and no salad for someone else. The patrons complained vociferously. I just knew they were going to want to be out the door and on their way to the game eons before the waitress straightened their orders. I’m glad we weren’t around to witness the fallout.

Of course the price made up for some deficiencies, since the total check for four people with appetizer, salads and main course, a glass of wine, a beer and a couple of sodas came to less than $70.

Overall: I’d go back for an inexpensive if not terribly inspired lunch but not for dinner. If I’m in the Hartford area, I’ll head west to the tiny lunch counter at Tangiers. There’s plenty of parking, and the spicy falafel sandwich is to die for. Check out the reviews of the food and of the gorgeous young men behind the counter and at the register!

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