On the edge of the Everglades is a refreshing new spot for Spanish cuisine, a place that embraces as much of Spain's modernity as it does its rich tradition.
Entretapas, located just off I-595 in Weston, is three-quarters restaurant and one-quarter market, where a variety of Spanish wines, cheeses and meats are for sale. While the décor features a few winks at Spanish culture (the female servers wear red-and-white-polka-dot skirts), the overall feel is of a sleek, modern restaurant with golden glass lamps, studio lighting, plenty of high-top and barstool tables, and polished hardwood floors with matching tables.
One wall is covered with a rack of mostly inexpensive wines from Spain, with a smattering from Chile and Argentina. Flamenco dancers entertain the crowd beginning at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Given the menu and ambiance, Entretapas is suitable for a casual lunch or dinner with a significant other.
The menu is driven by a large assortment of tapas, with traditional offerings such as pulpo (octopus stew, $15.90) and morcilla sausage ($9.90 for four). For people wanting a more-typical meal, there are solid paella offerings (about $14.90 per person) and plenty of sandwiches ($8.90-$11.90).
The restaurant grabbed my attention with a nicely arranged wooden tablet of sliced Serrano ham, manchego cheese and thin-sliced chorizo paired with a ramekin of olives and hot baguette slices ($14.90). I can think of few better ways to kick off a meal with friends than by sharing one of these.
A lentil soup ($8.90) offered little spice. Garbanzos with Spanish sausage ($9.90) are a family favorite, and Entretapas does a great job with them. These aromatic garbanzos have delicious chunks of chorizo mixed into a beautifully spiced sauce that had us scooping it up with our baguettes.
You haven't fully experienced eggplant until you try Entretapas' berenjenas a la miel, or eggplant with honey ($9.90). These enormous, micro-thin slices of dried eggplant have a chiplike texture and are generously topped with honey. It could have been served as a dessert.
Patatas bravas ($8.90) are presented in one of two styles: with hot sauce or a cold mayonnaise aioli. Despite the nicely fried potatoes, we didn't love the hot sauce, though the aioli version was more agreeable.
The gambas al ajillo, shrimp in garlic ($10.90), were outstanding: a helping of nine shrimp in a light-tasting, garlic-infused oil with thin slices of garlic clove sprinkled all over.
While the tapas mostly passed muster, the acid test for us at any Spanish restaurant is the paella. At $29.80 for two with sizable portions, Entretapas' generously portioned paella is hard to beat on value. The Valenciana comes with calamari, fish, scallops, mussels, shrimp, chicken, peas, pimientos and green beans. There are also versions with squid ink or with chicken or pork only. On Mondays and Tuesdays, paella for two becomes paella for three with the extra portion on the house.
For dessert, go straight for the tres leches ($4.90), which is heavy on the condensed milk for enhanced flavor and texture. You'll also want to try the flavorful tarta de Santiago with ice cream ($4.90), a flourless almond tart with a crumbly crust. You'll want to skip the custards here due to a weird, gelatinous, barely sweet flan ($3.90) and a bland, vanilla-flavored crema Catalana, or Catalonian crème brulee ($4.90).
Entretapas is worth a return visit, particularly when we're in the mood for a relaxing, ham-heavy dinner with the family. With its excellent food, high value and modern yet authentic trappings, Entretapas should attract a broad following.
74 Indian Trace, Weston
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Bar: Wine and beer
Sound level: Moderate
Outside smoking: No
For kids: Highchairs, children's menu
Wheelchair accessible: Yes