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Restaurant Review: Tango Restaurant & Grill

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Tango: Music For the Palate

An Argentine/Italian hybrid debuts in White Plains

 

The concept might cause befuddlement: a tango-themed restaurant, complete with tango music, live tango performances, and framed prints of tangoing couples, that serves both Argentine and Italian food. Yet, once you accept this odd blend, you realize that the White Plains newcomer is warm and elegant and serves top-notch fare.

 

Tango, which also has branches in Florida, Manhattan, and Los Angeles, is pure class, from the moment you enter the small, buzzing space, with its paneled cherry-wood and butter-yellow walls, shiny wood floor, and dark glint of wine bottles lined up on racks. Tango offers an extensive wine list, with bottles ranging from $17 to $365, and a choice of 16 wines by the glass.

But the space is tight; the restaurant can’t hold more than 15 tables, some of which are too close for comfort to the wine storage area and the kitchen.

 

Still the service is amiable and efficient; our meals were perfectly paced, our water glasses were regularly refilled, and the servers even folded our napkins when we momentarily left the table. 

Fortunately, the pacing and the attentive service weren’t the only elements that shined: the food was almost all high-caliber. The eggplant rollatini appetizer was the best rendition I’ve ever had of the dish: crispy on the outside, oozing spinach and creamy, slightly sweet ricotta, and blanketed with a rich vodka sauce. Also superlative were the empanadas, the pastry light and flaky and the interior a mouthful of flavor-rich ground beef.

 

And, I heartily recommend the tender medium-rare grilled skirt steak, served with a bracing chimichurri sauce, a traditional Latin American accent comprising chopped fresh parsley and cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. (On the other hand, avoid the beef short ribs, a tough cut of meat better braised, or slow-cooked, than quickly grilled.)

 

The succulent jumbo shrimp in spicy cognac sauce also impressed us. Sautéed and served with a smoky chipotle-spiked cream sauce, they caused one of our dining companions to close her eyes in pure ecstasy. Meanwhile, the paella was generously proportioned enough for four, not two, as the menu suggested, but the slightly bland rice could have used more saffron and other flavorings.

Also needing improvement were the chunks of marinated and grilled sirloin steak, two of which were too tough to eat, and the overly creamy broccoli rabe pesto sauce on the slightly too-dense gnocchi.

 

For your last course, don’t even try skirting around the Spanish rum-spiked dulce de leche-filled crêpes served with rich vanilla ice cream. After he’d extinguished the fire from the flaming dessert, our waiter slowly slid the ice cream boule across the surface of the crêpes and divided them into four portions, spooning them onto our plates without missing a single caramel-laden drop. It’s those dulce de leche crêpes, empanadas, and shrimp that will bring me back. I’m certainly ready for another dance with Tango Restaurant & Grill.

 

TANGO

128 East Post Rd., White Plains

(914) 946-6222

 

HOURS:  

Sun. to Thurs. 11:30 am-10 pm (lunch is served until 4:30)

 

PRICES:

Appetizers: $7-$19 (dinner), $5-$15 (lunch)

Entrees: $14-$60, $70 for Kobe beef (dinner), $10-$28, $38 for Kobe beef (lunch)

Desserts: $7.50-$12 (dinner), $6-$7 (lunch)

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