I'm not sure how many times we had to tell one of the guys in our group that - I'll go to a Tapas restaurant but not a Topless one!
For those that aren't familiar - Tapas is Spanish for "snacks". It was the "in thing" for a while in restaurants (Bootsy's started out that way).
One place that has held their ground on tapas is Relish in Mason. It's in the Deerfield area right across from the movie theater. It's a very nice restaurant tucked away a bit. The inside is very modern and funky plus there's a big outdoor patio.
There was a big group of us - so I'll do the best I can at remembering what we all ordered...
Relish Signature Salad ($4.75) with goat cheese, candied pecans, cranberries and more with an asian sesame dressing - good stuff.
Jen got the hummus of the day with tortilla chips ($4.25) and it was avocado. Very good stuff - different taste but definitely tasty.
Sauteed wild mushroom served on bruschetta with goat cheese ($8.75) - this was mine - mushrooms + goat cheese - how can you go wrong? Actually it was just okay. The bruschetta really needed something like tomatoes for that contrast in flavor and I thought the goat cheese would be on them - not just plunked on a salad I didn't know was in the dish. It was okay but I wasn't giddy over it.
Empanadas ($9.75) - they each had a different filling (steak, pork, seafood, veggie) and were really good. The romesco sauce was sort of like a thick, creamy spaghetti sauce but they stood well on their own.
Jen also got the sauteed spinach ($5.50) - I tried a small bite and for sauteed spinach it was good but being the non-vegetarian I'd never even think of ordering it!
Looking over their online menu I'm pretty sure this was a special. I tried a bite and liked it but wasn't bowled over. I'm thinking it was mahi with a crab cake...
This could be the least appetizing looking dish around - but it's probably their best seller. Chorizo in Medjool Dates wrapped in bacon ($9.75). I had a bite of those another time dining her and they are pretty good - since I don't like dates. I wouldn't really choose it but it gets rave reviews from 99% of those that try it.
Here's the disappointment for the night - the desserts.
The first - Ginger spiced chocolate cake ($6) - obviously served in 3 portions it's made for sharing - but the menu doesn't point that out. Plus - it just wasn't that great.
Worse yet was the Chocolate Mousse ($5). My friends that got the cake muttered something about what it looked like...luckily they waited to share until after we ate. It was glorified pudding and wasn't even very good pudding. To me - mousse is fluffy - this was dense and grainy and just not very good - and 3 portions of it - wasn't necessary. Also - they only know how to garnish things in one way (black rasperry, mint leaf and raspberry sauce).
Why Should You Go? I think Relish has it's moments. The atmosphere and the patio are great - some of their tapas menu items live up to their expectations. The prices on those are usually either around $5 or $10 - if it's a $10 - it's for sharing. I'd say - go and order a couple things for each person - just choose carefully and pick something you REALLY like.
I also have to mention - service has always been solid when I've gone. Last time I sent something back twice for temperature issues (came out stone cold TWICE) and they were very accommodating. This time we asked to move from inside to outside and were granted that request pleasantly.
I like Relish because it's locally-owned and unique and I encourage you to give it a try sometime!