Have you ever gone to a restaurant and thought that you would have had an excellent meal if you had ordered differently? Such was my experience at De Tapas. I’m pretty predictable when it comes to tapas. Cheese plate, tortilla, shrimp with garlic, sautéed spinach—these are the things I can’t resist. However, like a dummy, I had to branch out. We didn’t skip the cheese plate—a variety that included manchego and Spanish blue, cut in triangles and fanned out prettily on the plate—and thank God for that, because we noshed on it the entire meal. We also ordered the tortilla, but this version arrived in a moat of runny saffron sauce scented with herbs—a sauce better suited for protein, I think, because it drowned the poor potato omelet. (Should have stuck with tortilla and a dollop of aioli.) Next up: red peppers stuffed with crabmeat and shrimp, which were bland and lifeless, as if the stuffing were frozen or canned, rather than fresh. The one home run was oxtail stew, with moist meat seasoned perfectly and swimming in a broth that we sopped up with the remaining bread. Service here is European in that we-won’t-drop-off-the-check-until-you-wave-your-credit-card-around sort of way. But we didn’t mind, as we lingered over that last bit of cheese and our $28 bottle of Spanish house wine. 

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