Boston Restaurant Blog -- November, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
When Tango first opened in Arlington Center a few years ago, I wasn't sure that this Argentinian restaurant would make it. Sure, it was crowded at times, and yes, the food was very good, but it seemed just a bit invisible near the busy Mass. Avenue/Medford Street intersection where most folks are more concerned about making the light or avoiding crashing into other cars than seeing what kinds of businesses exist in the block. All of this seemed to change, however, when Tango expanded about a year ago. Now, the restaurant is about twice its original size, and the yellow sign out front seems much more prominent. And wow, are there ever crowds at this place, as we discovered on a rainy night earlier this month.
The "new and improved" Tango is a bustling spot, with a number of tables tightly squeezed into both the original and new sections of the restaurant. It remains a rather dimly-lit place in spots, with some sections of the dining areas being so dark that it can be tough to read the menu. With the added space, large groups can now be accommodated fairly easily, which is one reason why we decided to come here as a group. A downside for us, however, was that they set up our large table near the entrance, and since there is really no waiting area to speak of, we had people hovering around our table for much of the night (and others had the misfortune of being half in/half out of the place in the rain while waiting to be seated). It would be nice to see Tango add some type of waiting area in the future, though perhaps there just isn't any room to do so.
Aside from the slightly frustrating seating situation we had, our dining experience at Tango was simply tremendous, with one outstanding dish after another being brought to our table. The appetizers were superb, with the squash soup having a perfect blend of spices and a nice consistency, and both the ham and cheese and steak empanadas being so tasty that I would have been happy making these as my meal. But there was more to come, with our entrees impressing pretty much everyone at our table. The flank steak (my dish) was slightly greasy and a little tough (because of the fibrous makeup of the steak, not the preparation), but it has a rich, full flavor and was made even better by the chimichurri sauce that came with it. Other dishes ordered at our table were similarly good, with the lamb chops being lean and tender, the grilled salmon with chimichurri and the grilled swordfish with spices both being fresh and well-prepared, the boneless filet of chicken being a solid, tasty dish, and the pastel de papa (a kind of Latin shepherd's pie) being hearty and nicely seasoned. And then there was the milanesa a caballo; the breaded, fried steak looked very appetizing, but to me, anyway, the fried eggs on top certainly did not. The dish was a big hit, however, though I suppose it was eaten with eyes closed. A few of us somehow still had room for dessert after our meals, and I am glad I saved a bit of room, as the "thousand sheets" puff pastry was delectable, and not overly sweet. I would definitely get it again, though the chocolate cake might have to be ordered instead next time.
So Tango was a big hit, with excellent food, good service, and moderate prices. Yes, the waiting area situation was an issue, but you can't deny the goodness of the food, which makes it no surprise that this restaurant is so crowded night after night. If you are looking to go to Tango, consider what we did and make reservations in advance.
If you would like the address for Tango in Arlington, here it is: Tango Restaurant, 464 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA, 02474. Phone: (781) 443-9000.
Related Blog Entries: Arlington restaurants
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