Friday, October 8, 2010
Dining Out Taza Grill in Westford
TAZA is the newest entry in the Mediterranean dining experience that seems to be hip again. Located in a strip mall in Westford, its modest façade covers up a modern dining area with oxblood walls, a small elegant bar area, light Italian floor tiles and wooden tables and chairs. The scene, complete with white napery, soft music, shining stem glassware and rose petals strewn around the flickering votive candle, says romantic dinner for two.
Service is quiet and quick, and water is the first offering, for which I am always grateful. The moderately sized menu is augmented by one or two specials every evening. A complimentary plate of roasted red pepper hummus with fresh pita bread appears on the table immediately, and the tangy smoked aroma of the hummus invites you to dip in and enjoy. Appetizers, soups and salads start you off; the fried oysters were fresh and briny, with a light cilantro remoulade; the quail was perfectly grilled, redolent of rosemary and topped off with a gentle squeeze of lemon. Heaven on a plate. The sampler had baba ganoosh, hummus, olives, a terrific minty lemony tabouleh and good toasty pita bread, all delicious and attractively plated. The five-onion soup, that evening’s special, was excellent, with a nicely sweetened Marsala broth and plenty of onions. The only disappointment was the roasted garlic bisque, which was devoid of any hint of garlic and too bland, with the taste and texture of cream of wheat.
Entrées were next, and the duck was succulent hearty slices of tender breast meat with a sour cherry sauce on the side. Delicious. The big burger with cheese came with French fries, a thick cut slaw, and tomato slices, but was a little over-cooked to get a complete thumbs up. (One weird note: when we asked for salt and pepper, we were told that there was only one salt shaker and pepper mill for the whole place so the waiter could not leave them on our table. If that is true, this needs fixing and quickly.)
The lamb chops were roasted and seasoned to perfection, then served on a bed of goat cheese risotto, an inventive way to balance out lamb’s signature gamey taste. The rib-eye steak was wonderful and I loved the garlic-mashed potatoes; this sort of food can only make a meat lover happy. The menu gives you plenty of options for meat and non-meat dishes, so vegetarians are welcomed. The portions are all the right size – not too little, not too much, and prices are very reasonable for this type of dining.
The wine menu is pleasant, inexpensive, with good choices for pre- and post dining pleasure. After dinner you can choose from a list of liqueurs and grappa to go with dessert. The crème brûlée had a rather thick burnt sugar topping which resisted efforts to crack through it with a spoon, although the custard was smooth and silky beneath. The baklava, not made at the restaurant, was four different shaped pieces of the pastry but all of them were dry and nondescript, without the flaky phylo layers crammed with nuts and sweetened syrup I expected. Desserts look to be seasonal with, of course, a couple of things chocolate.
On Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. a belly dancer entertains the patrons with a short set. I am not a huge fan of entertainment while I dine, but I hear many patrons enjoy the show. We were also asked for comments on food and service, so it is apparent they intend to do all they can to please their customers.
All in all, a winning addition to the dining scene – at moderate prices – for this level of cuisine.
175 Littleton Road
Entrée prices: Around $18
Lunch and dinner served Tuesday through Friday, dinner only Saturday and Sunday
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday and Friday,11 a.m to 10 p.m.;
Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Closed Mondays ∆
© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito