Located in the Union Plaza area of El Paso, Tabla is a little tricky to find. The address says 115 Durango Street, but the entrance is on one of the walking streets at a right angle to Durango. An unhappy reviewer complained about paying for parking. I parked in the city operated lot a block away and, for my $5 parking fee, I got a $5 off voucher for Tabla. Free parking!
They had 10 draft beers in addition to a full bar. The menu included a lot of creative drink concoctions.
The place was filling up when I arrived about 8:00 PM so I sat at the bar. That meant I got to watch the chefs at work and chat with the bartender.
When I saw the list of five salads and 22 tapas I knew I wasn't going to get to the entrees.
As a starter I ordered the duck and beet salad. Lots of slivers of warm duck confit, beets, arugula, generous shavings of manchego, in a subtle aioli dressing. Outstanding!
My second dish was crispy green beans. Fresh green beans fried crispy in a light tempura batter, tossed in a tarragon aioli, with crispy chunks of smoky bacon. Stunning!
I was in Spain a month before my visit to El Paso and sampled tapas in Granada, Torre del Mar, and Malaga. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the tapas. The bowl of green beans was huge. I thought I might be able to taste a bunch of the tapas, but since I was dining alone, I had to lower my sights.
My third tapa was the Pinchos. Perfectly grilled pork chunks on a skewer, nicely seared, but tender and juicy, with a piquillo pepper aioli. The pork had been tossed with a little Rosemary (fragrant but not overwhelming) which complimented the piquillo peppers in the aioli.
Fourth: Baked Goat cheese with honey, served with toast wedges and caramelized onion jam sprinkled with toasted pecan pieces. A little sweet, very hot (be careful). Delectable! They confessed that the goat cheese was not local, but it was from Texas.
I finished with a Crème Catalaña with fruit accompanied by a shot of white rum infused with lemon and mint. The Crème Catalaña is sort of like a Crème Brule but with chocolate and chipotle flavoring the custard, so there's a little heat, and caramelized sugar sprinkled with a few berries and pieces of fruit on top. Delicious!
Drinks: Rahr Ugly Pug (Fort Worth, TX), Big Bend Belgian-style wheat beer (Alpine, TX), the house red Sangria (tasty, not too sweet, with tiny pieces of apple and orange as a garnish). Rum infusion: white rum infused with lemon and mint, served in a shot glass rimmed with Hibiscus sugar.
It's been a while since I was in El Paso. I need to come back more often, just to dine at Tabla.