recently i met with a couple old friends for a little catch-up time and tasty beverages at tango restaurant located on the downtown slope of caphill. we had hoped to meet at 600 so we could catch the tail end of their 430-630 happy hour, but due to parking difficulties, we didn't arrive until about 630. dammit.
subsequently, we were forced to order small plates off the dinner menu. as for drinks, L ordered a pomegranate martini, M a gingerale, and I a glass of vinho verde. crisp, refreshing, and a perfect accompaniment to three small dishes.
we started with the beet escabeche, which was a plate of red and golden roasted beet rounds topped with a quinoa, tabouleh-style salad. the quinoa was perfectly toothy, drizzled with walnut oil, and brightened with tomato and lemon. when i read "escabeche," i was expecting something more vinegary and spicy, which has been my experience making fish escabeche myself. tango's interpretation, however, was different but still enjoyable.
our second dish was my favorite: green beans and harissa. it was perfectly simple, a little spicy, and just the right amount of nutty/rich with the pine nut sprinkling. the green beans were pan-roasted then sauteed with tomatoes and harissa. my only very, very tiny, nit-picky improvement would be to toast the pine nuts. that's it. and that's super picky, i know.
our final appetizer was a pineapple tuna poke garnished with a fried plantain slice. i thought this was the least successful dish; the tuna was screaming for an acid much stronger than the mild, sweet pineapple; the small wakame (seaweed) salad top hat was a little slimy and bland; and the presentation could have used a little more thought that none at all.
even though the poke was a letdown, the rest of my abbreviated trip to tango was quite enjoyable. the menu is very straightforward, and i would love to spend more time there for a proper dinner, but it is a little on the pricey side for any day of the week. the happy hour is really where it's at, but make sure you scope a prime parking spot so you don't miss it. :)
about a year ago, M went to Tango for a big vendor dinner where they sat at chef's table and he basically prepared an omakase feast for him and his cohorts, capping off the meal with glasses of port. he had a great time and couldn't stop gushing about how great the food was. unfortunately, i don't have a corporate expense account; so until then, i'll stick to the HH menu.
Tango Restaurant & Lounge
1100 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
Sun-Thurs: 5pm - 10:30pm
Fri-Sat: 5pm - midnight
Sun-Thurs: 4:30pm - 11pm
Fri-Sat: 4:30pm - 1am
NB: half-price bottles of wine every monday!!