So we decided to re-visit Rittenhouse Square and finally try out TINTO. As 2 wine aficionados and foodies we were hoping to be blown away by one of the Garces Group restaurants. Tinto's website is alluring. The pictures reassure that the wine and food will be out of this world. So we dolled up... heels, lipstick, and a fierce outfit...ready for some much needed Mommies' Night Out in the City. We were running behind schedule as the GPS decided the address was incorrect. We called Tinto to inform them we were blocks away and they reassured us that we'd be ok within the 15 minute grace period. (Turns out it was adjacent to Village Whiskey, which we've been trying to get to for quite some time now.) We made it at exactly 7pm, with reservations of 6:45pm, but were sent off to the (very small) bar to wait for a table. 20 minutes later we were taken downstairs (aka the basement) to the (very small) seating area. The website mentioned the word "intimate", but we had not anticipated basically sitting along with a couple on their first date and a work party across from us who decided to extend their happy hour. Awkward. To make matters worse, we sank into our seats, making us feel like we needed a booster...very uncomfortable.
Luckily, our waiter was wonderful. He was helpful, knowledgeable and friendly and made the experience a bit more enjoyable. Ok, maybe it was the wine! We had started with whites at the bar while we waited to be seated:
- Petit Grain Muscat, Ametza, Arabako Txakolina 2010 - $11 lightly sweet and fruity, but crisp and refreshing at the same time
- Xarel-lo, Castellroig, 'Vi de Terrer', Penedes 2010 - $12 reminiscent of a good chardonnay, light, fruity and dry
Up first, the cheeses:
We ordered the Mixto dish, which is 3 cheeses chosen by the chef. At $15 it seemed like the best deal on the menu considering one cheese is $7. However when we got the plate of cheeses, we were a little surprised at how small of a slice we received of each. All three were delicious, nonetheless, but we were definitely a little disappointed at the portion. The picture actually makes them look bigger! We sampled two sheep's milk cheeses and one goat's milk cheese. We were given a small cup of bread slices with about 4-5 servings, and it was never replenished. (Very different from our experience at Tria, where the cheese portions were larger and the bread kept flowing!)
On to the red wine:
3. Garnatxa, Cellar Bollidora, Sao, Terra Alta, 2007 - $11 Spicey dark fruit flavors to the nose, yet smooth to the taste
4.,5. Tempranillo, Bodegas Rioja Bordon, Crianza, Rioja, 2007 - $12 Favorite of the night...Scent and tastes of red fruits with a touch of orange and a chocolate like finish and feel.
6. Tempranillo, Emilio Moro, Finca Resalso, Ribera del Duero, 2010 - $13 Bursting with berry scents and flavors, this one came in a close 2nd.
Tinto is a Spanish inspired wine and tapas bar...so all the dishes were pretty much made to share.
However, again, for the price, we expected the food to be a lot more shareable and memorable.
We sampled the following:
Olives - $5 While they were good, we've never seen such tiny olives before!
Figs $5 On the menu they come wrapped in ham, but we asked if they could omit that part. They kindly obliged, and the figs were very good, but again, tiny and we only got 3!
Tuna Tartare - $10 Served as a small sandwich, on a croissant bread, the tuna tartare tasted and looked a lot more like a ceviche (except it included bits of chorizo). Disappointing.
2 Arugula Salads - $12ea. Again, we asked to skip the ham, this is probably the most we've ever paid for basically a small dish of arugula. The salad was to include mission figs, fried goat cheese and spiced almonds in an orange vinaigrette. We were given maybe 2 small servings of each item.
Patatas Asturias - $7. These were basically tater tots covered in a creme sauce. Truly tasty, but over-priced for the portion size.
Flourless Chocolate Cake - $8 but complimentary for us that night as our waiter brought our check and forgot about our chocolate! Flourless chocolate cakes tend to be on the heavy side...Tinto's is made with a light chocolate mousse and served with a bit of passion fruit sorbet, which gave it the perfect touch. We bit into it before we remembered to take a picture!
Luckily we ended our night better than it started, even though it hurt to pay the bill. We're all about the fine dining experience, but not if it means breaking the bank for tiny portions, decent food, awkward seating and a limited wine by the glass selection, surprising for a place named Tinto. (BTW, the least expensive bottle is $45!) We will definitely not be returning to Tinto anytime soon. In our opinion it is overrated and there are plenty of better wine bar experiences in the area. If you're up for giving it a try, we suggest eating ahead of time and plan to just sample a dish, a glass of wine and definitely dessert. Though they are priced high and a stuffy feel may be expected, Tinto actually had a more casual vibe. Ladies, you can pair some nice jeans with a top and blazer, or a cute dress...and always accessorize. ;) Last, but not least, arrive on time for your reservation!
Until our next adventure, (which very well may be another Garces location!) keeping it real and honest. <3
For more info on TINTO click the images below: