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April 23, 2004
Tango overlooks downtown Seattle from its Pike and Boren location just up the street from the Washington State Convention Center. It is a sharp-looking place with flamenco dancers on the walls, floor to ceiling windows, impressionistic art covering pale plaster walls, combined with yet paler wood pillars suggestive of sunny Spain. The place overflows with stylish and casually hip, loud and lively atmosphere with a Latin beat congesting the space. In the main dining room, dim lights and tables covered with butcher paper over pale linens impart an unassuming sophistication complemented with urban servers who are offering affected insouciance rather than exaggerated enthusiasm.
While Tango has tapas, its menu looks well beyond Spain for inspiration. Priced between $6.50 and $16.50, the plates here are bigger than tapas and sublimely delicious. The "Ensalada con Pato" -- a warm salad of duck confit tossed with spinach, fried onions, and walnuts in a pomegranate-thyme vinagreta; spinach salad has never been this good. "Cordero con Frutas" -- quince and coriander-encrusted lamb loin served with orange glazed grilled yams and mint chimichurri is delicious and suggestive of Latin American cuisine. There is the Moroccan-spiced chicken in phyllo with preserved lemon and oil-cured olives and the "Tagine con Carnes" is a Moroccan spiced beef and venison stew served with preserved lemon couscous and grilled socca -- both cross over to Morocco. The Gambas Picantes, sautéed tiger prawns with passion fruit and star anise broth and a cucumber melon salad, is decidedly Asian. All are fabulous!!! For dessert, try the flan -- silky Spanish maple syrup custard with honey whipped créma fresca and Spanish almonds; you will think they flew it directly from Andalusia. Or how about "El Diablo," a dense slab of truffle-textured chocolate marquis resting on a cloud of house-made marshmallow cream? Tango also offers a huge selection of Spanish, Portuguese, and Chilean wines and ports, and over 60 top shelf tequilas on the bar list.
Tango serves superb pan-Latin cuisine and sophisticated tapas to an even more sophisticated and stylish crowd. Although the restaurant is slightly on the tight side, tables are very close together (ask for the oversized booths lining the western wall) it is worth the visit. Nominated for best late night dining in 2002. Even with reservation, the wait can sometimes be more than 15 minutes. Therefore, reservation is a must. Open Daily 5pm-2am.
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