this kirkwood tapas joint has received a lot of good press lately, so when we saw a groupon for it, we jumped on the opportunity. (very) generally speaking, tapas restaurants in the states consist of clever restaurant owners who have seized the tapas trend to make lots of money selling overpriced and undersized portions of food. unfortunately, one 19 north is no different.
one 19 north
nestled among the many shoppes on big bend avenue, one 19 north's unassuming storefront is easily missed (we've driven by it multiple times and never noticed it). the interior consists of warm colors, "vintage" posters, and tacky walls (sort of faux-tuscan or adobe or something, perhaps meant to evoke images of old-world wine cellars, they just feel a little "trading spaces"). there are a couple of nice tables perched near the front windows, and there's a cool bench along one of the walls that allow the vertically challenged among us to swing our feet. in any case, nothing much to see here. move along.
our server was quite good. full of energy, quick to please, and highly attentive, he made sure we knew exactly what vegetarian options were available to us. (turns out, too, that this guy has a reputation, as one of our servers at ernesto's wine bar spoke very highly of one 19's head waiter.)
as you know by now, we're suckers for hummus, and whenever we see hummus on a menu, we're gonna get it. the saffron hummus at one 19 was tasty, no doubt, but we struggled to find any hint of the saffron the restaurant promised. furthermore, the naan we were promised wasn't really naan at all; it's just a regular ol' flatbread, and not even warm. anyway, we can put up with a little misrepresentation, but we will not put up with skimpy portions. as you can see, this place has pushed "tapas" to the extreme. the salt and pepper shakers are the perfect scale to illustrate just how minuscule this "serving" of hummus was. eesh. we were not amused.
from there, we moved on to the crispy artichokes hearts, which boasted a wonderfully seasoned tomato and crushed almonds sauce.
the artichokes, however, were lackluster and simply did not taste fresh.
we finished the meal with two salads that do not merit a full write-up. suffice to say that they were uninspired but competent, with very poor dressing (one actually separated in its ramekin).
we're convinced that things would have gone better for an omnivore, but we cannot endorse this restaurant if you're a vegetarian. from the too-small portions (even for tapas) to the mediocre flavors, this is a restaurant that needs an overhaul if they're to appeal to a more diverse crowd.