By Craig Davis, Craigslegztravels.com
Among the personal travel ambitions shelved at least temporarily by the COVID pandemic was a cruise around Spain.
In times like these you improvise where you can. A notice on social media about a Saturday night flamenco show led us to an enjoyable Spanish experience much closer to home in South Florida at EntreTapas.
Thrice vaccinated, we’re beginning to venture out more, but live musical entertainment remains tough to find. EntreTapas in Weston (west of Fort Lauderdale) proved to be a welcome exception. The food, music and dancing combined to simulate a night out in Spain on the edge of the Everglades.
The flamenco group that performs on Saturday nights, Gitano Urbano, has a style and energy of the Gypsy Kings, but they’re not imitators. The talented singer/frontman, Marcos Cortes, is from a gypsy family in Grenada, Spain, of singers, dancers and musicians, according to his bio.
Along with traditional Spanish tunes he delighted with surprise flamenco-style renditions of “Hotel California: and “My Way.”
The group’s flamenco dancer brought the audience into the show by inviting diners to dance with her.
‘Like they’re in Spain’
The spirit of the culture was contagious, keeping our toes tapping as we picked through our tapas plates. Glancing round the dining room it was evident the vibe was prevalent judging from the smiles and heads swaying from table to table.
“My goal is to make the people feel like they’re in Spain, with the Spanish food, the Spanish music, guitars and everything,” Adolfo, Ordonez, the manager of EntreTapas, said after the show.
“I came into the United States 10 years ago and started this business. I’m happy to see all the people that enjoy the music and the food that we make with a lot of love.”
EntreTapas, in a strip shopping complex in western Broward County off exit 21 of Interstate 75 (aka Alligator Alley in that area), is a hidden gem. But it is not out of place, considering the nearby demographics.
More than 52 percent of the population of Weston, Florida, is Hispanic.
Hispanic culture flourishes in Weston
“Not many Spaniards,” said Ordonez, who is from Spain, “but a lot of people from Colombia and Venezuela, other countries. All the roots come from Spain or close to Spain. The thing is, when they come here they feel like they’re home.”
That was evident at the end of the show when the singer asked where everyone was from and got a roll call of Latin America from the tables around us.
Like everyone else in the dining room, we were on our feet at that point, caught up in the joy of live entertainment that has been a rarity over the past two years.
Ordonez said it has been difficult keeping his business going through the pandemic, as far as maintaining staff as well as clientele. But he is gratified by recent turnouts on Fridays, featuring live Latin music, and the flamenco shows on Saturdays.
“We are building up this business again,” Ordonez said. “Because of this incident we’ve had around the world with COVID, to come back and start to work again was very rough for everybody. Mostly for us because we didn’t find workers for the kitchen and the dining room. I’m happy that the team I have now; they’re very young and they work with a lot of courage and love. And that makes me happy.”
Tough choice: Tapas or paella
We opted for the tapas experience on our first visit to EntreTapas. We enjoyed three small plates from more than 20 choices on the menu, plus the seafood soup, which was served in a blue porcelain pot and was delicious.
Next time we’ll try paella, which is the signature dish and was the choice of the majority of diners we observed. EntreTapas offers four varieties of paella.
I recommend saving room for the Crema Catalana, a Spanish dessert staple — but don’t ask the waitress if it’s like flan.
Regardless of the choice of dessert, the whole evening hopefully was an appetizer to better times after a long COVID drought.
What: Spanish tapas style restaurant offering a variety of tapas, paellas and other delicious examples of Spanish cuisine.
Entertainment: Live music — a Latin band on Friday evening, flamenco show on Saturdays. $10 cover charge.
Where: 74 Indian Trace, Weston, FL, 33326. Exit 21 off I-75 North.
For reservations: 954-385-3262.
More information: entretapasrestaurant.com