I was enticed out of my downtown comfort zone and into the burbs last night with the lure of tapas. I say burbs, but Powell, home of the Maca Cafe is actually a city in its own right and has apparently been voted (2005) one of the top 20 places to live in America. This was my first visit to Powell which has a quaint CBD with a seemingly inordinate number of antique stores and at this time of year lots of halloween decorations.
Maca has an intimate cosy atmosphere and was perfect for a cool fall evening. There was unobtrusive live music and we sat at the bar overlooking the open kitchen. The wine selection had a good selection of Spanish wines and a lot of wines available by the glass. I had a Rioja and then spotted the sherry list and wished I had noticed that first. Only yesterday I was bemoaning how rare sherry is in Ohio.
We chose a couple of the specials, which seem to change frequently and a couple of the regular menu items. The menu only has small plates and they are mostly in the $6-8 range. I was tempted by the Caldo Gallego soup which sounded hearty and delicious, but not so good for sharing.
The Stuffed Pequillo Peppers (roasted mild red peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese and served with pesto) were our favorite dish and are apparently one of the most popular menu items. The Seared Sea Scallops with garlic cream sauce and tomato “jam” were definitely the most attractive.
The Steamed mussels with white wine, tomato and chorizo had a great sauce but the mussels themselves were a little disappointing. The Roasted Pork Tenderloin with asian-inspired sauce and served with caramelized root vegetable puree was one of the specials and was a big hit. The pork was very tender and I loved the asian sauce with its hint of star anise.
We also tried the the cheese plate and the signature dessert a chocolate ganâche with sea salt and olive oil garnish.
The dishes came out one at a time on a beautiful array of plates and each was accompanied by plenty of thinly sliced french bread. The service was welcoming and attentive, possibly helped by our position at the bar and the fact that they were not too busy.
I would definitely go again, hopefully when someone else is driving, and when the antique shops are open so I can have a potter around. I also want to check out the nearby Expresso Yourself Music Cafe (despite its cheesy name), which is housed in a converted church. We peeked through the window and I was intrigued by their van Gogh and starving artist sandwiches as well as the eclectic interior.
October 11, 2008
the ganache looks like a sea creature. what did you think of it?
October 16, 2008
What a terrible shame about the sherry. Always good with tapas. Pairs well with most stuff so copes well with all the chopping and changing.
How about we set up a sherry import/export wheeze? You can do the importing and I’ll do the exporting?
October 16, 2008
Obviously there would be a lot of quality control involved… at both ends…
March 12, 2010
Sad to report that Maca Cafe is now closed. Hopefully Chef Norman Carmichael will be back in the kitchen somewhere else soon.