Xunta Tapas

Xunta Tapas

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This has been here for awhile and the concept of tapas is intriguing.  However, I worried about its authenticity, but once I stepped into the place and heard the Gypsy Kings playing along with other great Spaniard music playing commercial free, I realized these people had their eye on all the details.

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The menu is simple, its all tapas, which are basically appetizers. Its either in portions of 2-3 or 4-8, and priced accordingly.  We were quite hungry and we ordered 5 sets of tapas.  Honestly, we could have gotten away with 3 or 4, but they were all so delicious we kept ordering more.  This is the beauty of this place, they come out one at a time just as they would if you were in Spain.  However, in Spain, the tapas are free as long as you keep drinking.  Here, you can bring your own, so obviously you pay for the tapas.  But if you do bring your own wine, red or white, they will mix in their special sangria ingredients to make it more authentic for a nominal charge.

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The first are the Patacas Bravas which is a patron favorite and highly recommended.  They are basically spicy potatoes in a garlic paprika aioli dressing.  Quite good, spicy, but not hot up front, but afterward for sure.  Even my wife who does not care for spicy loved these.

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Next we came to the basic croquetas which is basically a deep fried blend of Serrano Ham, Tetilla Cheese with the same sweet smoked paprika garlic mayonesa noted above.  

Now probably the best of all the dishes, chorizos.  And of course how can you go to any Spanish, Mexican or Portuguese restaurant. Its a spicy smoked sausage with paprika.  This is Chourizo ao viño, sautéed Spanish chorizo, Spanish onion, green bell pepper, Rioja Wine Reduction.  Delicious.

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Datiles con Touciño are dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in hickory smoked bacon, baked and drizzled with Agave Nectar and Balsamic Glaze. The sweet and savory of this tapas really is spectacular.

The last tapas we had were certainly not the best, even a bit disappointing, but the presentation was great.  Pan con Tomate, Queixo e Xamon do Montañes is (or was supposed to be) grilleunspecified-5d bread brushed with extra virgin olive oil with freshly sliced tomato, Tetilla cheese, and Spanish Serrano ham topped with a green olive.  I did not taste any olive oil, and when I looked at the bottom of the white bread, it was not grilled or toasted, and not a drop of olive oil.  I think if all these items were delivered unassembled on a plate and drizzled with olive oil I would have been much happier.  In all fairness, they can’t all be winners and I didn’t even scratch the surface, so I will be back and update this entry. There are so many and I am sure they are very promising.

On a second visit we decided to try the empanada, empanadas have always been one of my favorites.  However, I am a firm believer that they can only be made with ground beef.  Somehow chicken or pork or shrimp never cut it. Maybe its the texture or how those fillings cook in perfect tune with the pastry.  In this case they used ground chicken and used a puffed pastry.  It was good, but I prefer the good old half moon pockets filled with ground beef.

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We also tried the Guicho de Polo Picante a Prancha (grilled chicken brochette, with sweet smoked and hot paprika).  It has a delicious taste, authentic grilled delight and served on a bed of rice which really hits the spot. The sauce on the side might not taste spicy up front, but on the finish for sure it packs some heat.

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So the last dish has to be a sweet one, so we ordered a flourless chocolate cake from our favorite bakery in town, Asalt & Buttery, topped with fresh cream and raspberry sauce.  Again, delicious.

It is important to know that the owners are hands on people.  The husband is in the kitchen and the wife is waiting on tables and informing guests as to what everything on the menu is.  The hospitality is great, its authentic, its delicious, this is a must try.

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Xunta  www.XuntaTapas.net
392 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, New Jersey 07006
Phone: 973-226-0733  Fax: 973-226-0811

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