Review: Tres Gatos
Jamaica Plain newcomer Tres Gatos is like the restaurant equivalent of a mullet—fancy Spanish tapas in the front, indie bookstore/music store in the back. But you know what? This is one mullet we are fully on board with.
The inviting, candlelit space is broken into small rooms that spill into one another, all in deep blues, soft grays, and smoky oranges. Take advantage of the business’ split personality with a stop at the sleek bar for a glass of cava. Then take a stroll through the small store in the back, where new books meet used and CDs meet vinyl. Our favorite section was the Staff Picks, which featured match-ups like Tom Waits and Spalding Gray, Frank Sinatra and Anthony Bourdain.
The menu is a feast of Spanish cuisine with lots of vegetarian options, and mostly well-sized for the price. The chilled tortilla Española with pimentón aioli ($4) is perfection, and the grass-fed beef empanadas ($6), wrapped in a beautifully cooked pastry, have a floral appeal. Dessert choices are limited, but the dainty, sugared churros served with spiced, melted dark chocolate ($7) are heavenly.
Tres Gatos was working through some growing pains on our visit, as we waited 40 minutes for a table and another 15 for a server—but when you’re the newest, hottest thing in the neighborhood, who can blame you? Still, maybe pad some time into your evening’s plans just in case.
In the end, Tres Gatos is a tremendous addition to JP’s evolving landscape. Just like its neighborhood, the spot is welcoming, unique and a little off the wall in the best way possible.
Drink this: All of the wines are Spanish, so you should have no trouble finding the perfect choice to complement your tapas. For beer lovers, Tres Gatos also has some hard-to-find brews to please your palates. Keep your eye out for sangria to be added to the menu soon.
Eat this: The big hits were the albóndigas, Moroccan lamb meatballs with a delicate nutmeg flavor ($7), and the velvety gambas all i pebre, new Caledonia prawns broiled in butter with toasted garlic and a pine nut picada ($10). We were told by an enthusiastic bar patron that the grilled quail with picholine olives, candied oranges and fingerling potatoes ($13) was a must-have—but, alas, it was 86ed by the time we were seated.
Sit here: Like many refitted restaurant spaces, Tres Gatos has lots of spots to choose from, including a large communal table if you’re looking to make friends. We liked the high-tops in front of the big bay window, where you can survey the bar and gaze out onto bustling Centre Street.
Conversation piece: The delicious, crusty grilled bread served with many of the dishes is from the incomparable Iggy’s Bread of the World. While perfect for sopping up at Tres Gatos, you might find yourself hunting down a loaf of your very own to take home.