This past weekend, I had a friend fly in from out-of-town to visit Atlanta. Of course I had to take her to tapas at Eclipse Di Luna, one of my favorite tapas joints in the city. They have two locations in Atlanta, one at Miami Circle in Midtown and the other location is at Park Place in Dunwoody. I’ve heard that the Miami Circle location tends to be a bit smaller, but I’ve only been to the Perimeter Mall location. I do like the atmosphere and the location of the Dunwoody restaurant as Cafe Intermezzo is just next door and so is Twisted Taco and Alon’s Bakery. All three have made their way onto my gastronomical adventures Top Hits list.
If you’re up for a heavy meal, Eclipse Di Luna is not the place to go. Tapas is a Spanish-based type of eating that is similar to Chinese dim-sum except it is well, non-Asian fare. Everything comes out in little plates and sometimes you have to order two or three of a certain dish if your party is a) large or b) has a big appetite. They supposedly have a great mojito but I have yet to find a mojito that beats the one at Hapa Grill in Salt Lake City, UT.
Today’s tasting menu included:
Carne Asada: strips of medium rare sirloin steak served in a spicy oil dressing with a scoop of blue cheese on the side. I personally don’t remember if this dish before was spicy, but it is always a favorite, especially if you are a beef lover. The oil was a little bit too spicy for me as I felt it took away from the full enjoyment of the steak flavor. The cheese went well with the steak, but only if you took it in small doses. Blue cheese, like goat cheese, is very pungent and very very strong. If too large a chunk was taken, it definitely overpowered the beef strip.
Lump Crab w/ Berries Salad: fresh (okay maybe frozen) lump crab served on top of fresh summer berries with several thin slices of dried prosciutto. The description of this dish sounded really appealing: it was a fresh start to summer foods. However, I was fairly disappointed with the way that it turned out. For one, there was almost no flavor to the lump crab. Second, as a tapas dish, it was almost like eating dessert during the meal because of the amount of fruit that was in the dish. The best part about this dish were the prosciutto chips that were laid on top. They were so crispy, I almost thought they were little thin crackers! This was by far, a big disappointment out of the whole bunch of dishes we tried.
Mar y Montana Paella: a traditional Spanish rice dish consisting of a two-to-three inch pan that is used to slow-cook a mixture of ingredients. This one particular paella dish had seafood (Mar) and chicken (Mountain) in it along with other vegetables. I believe that there was also saffron added to the dish as it came out quite yellow in color. Saffron is one of my favorite spices. Too bad it’s quite expensive to use! This dish was the most costly but it was also the most filling of all the dishes. I believe it fed four of us quite well, but we also had about seven tapas dishes on their own.
Calamari: straight-up battered and deep-fried pieces of squid or cuttlefish. I can’t say that I was an avid fan of this dish. For some reason, the squid came out fairly crispy. The flavor also didn’t come from the breading which I personally would have preferred. Instead, I ate it with the pico de gallo that was served on a side to give it a little more kick. Various pieces were overcooked and turned out to be more crunchy rather than chewy.
Deep-fried Goat cheese with honey: it is what it is – a moderate-sized ball of goat cheese that is deep-fried, then served on top of fresh honey. It is quite the combo! The outer layer of the cheese is crunchy, but then your fork drops into a warm cheesy goo that goes perfectly well with honey. Goat cheese tends to be a little more pungent on the taste buds compared to something like Brie, but it doesn’t have that bite that sharp cheddar does. The honey helps tone down the almost sour-ish pucker that your taste buds go through with goat cheese.
Bacon-wrapped Dates with Chorizo: bacon-wrapped dates are then baked with slices of fresh chorizo sausage and served on skewer sticks. A very very tasty tapas dish, perhaps one of my favorites! I have to say that the combination of sweet and salty has always been right on top of my tasting list. The combination of the saltiness from the bacon and the sweetness of the dates go really well together not to mention the differences in the texture between the two. The softness of the date flesh helps with the crunchiness of the bacon. The chorizo is decent, but then again, I’ve never been a fan of sausages. I felt like the chorizo was too big to eat with the bacon-wrapped date, and it was too much flavor to eat it on its own.
Tuna tartare: this dish was one of the most fresh-tasting dishes that we had that night. A got this dish simply because he loves fresh tuna, and I have to admit, it tasted really nice! There wasn’t too much flavor, but it was just the right amount to give the taste of fresh sashimi without the overdose of raw seafood. Served with fresh guacamole, the pairing of avocado and fresh tuna created a really nice mixture for the palate.
All in all, a summary:
- Carne Asada: **** (4 stars)
- Lump crab w/ berries: **.5 (2.5 stars)
- Spanish Paella: ***.5 (3.5 stars)
- Fried Goat Cheese w/ Honey: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- Tuna Tartare: **** (4 stars)
- Calamari: *** (3 stars)
- Bacon-wrapped Dates w/ Chorizo: **** (4 stars)
If you wanted to check out Eclipse Di Luna for yourself:4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road NE Atlanta, GA (678) 205-5862 Bon Apetit!