Twists on traditional tapas take center stage at Rugan’s
Rugan’s was not the easiest place to find – we drove past it two or three times before we actually realized where it was. Tucked onto a side street in downtown Antioch, the front of the restaurant is mostly blocked by a large wooden patio. Kudos to them for having outdoor seating, but a bigger sign may be useful. We were pleasantly surprised at the interior of the restaurant. To be honest, I was expecting a sports bar atmosphere. But Rugan’s has a more loungey feel, with tapestries hanging on several walls and couches available for seating just past the pub-height tables. The restaurant’s extensive alcohol selection would make even the biggest beer or wine snob drool.
Rugan’s serves a slightly-larger-than-average-portion tapas menu. We were concerned about the small portions leaving us hungry at the end of the meal, so we ordered three dishes: the gourmet potstickers, the roast beef tenderloin quesadilla and the burger flight trio. The food arrived on a metal wire tower which, although it was less room to reach in for some food, had a presentation that just blew us away. Portion sizes were much larger than we expected as well, and that was a pleasant surprise.
All the dishes had a decidedly American twist to the traditionally Spanish-style tapas, particularly the quesadillas. Instead of a tortilla, the dish was built on grilled pita bread. The burgers are obviously an American food but had unique toppings like avocado spread and garlic sauce. The potstickers were the most ethnic and came with a Thai-influenced sauce. Although all the food was equally good, juicy and flavorful, we much preferred the potstickers and ordered several servings in a gluttonous show of approval.
Yes, the food was delicious. Did we know exactly what we were getting? Not really. The main downfall we ran across was the menu. You know how you get all jazzed up for something delightful that the menu described? That was us. But the food was (almost) all slightly altered or fundamentally different. Our waiter told us the menus were outdated – yet when we ordered we were not informed of any differences in the food. He seemed to be somewhat unsure of the menu items himself. So while I can wholeheartedly say “Yes! Go here!,” those with food allergies may need to ask for item clarifications.One of the shining stars of our meal (and one we were almost too stuffed to eat) was the chocolate fondue. Armed with an unnaturally severe craving for bananas, I ordered this with some serious gusto. The fondue is a melted semisweet chocolate delight and comes with pound cake, marshmallows, pineapple, bananas and strawberries. I despise pineapples and the staff happily substituted – you guessed it – more bananas. The fondue was an indulgent end to a wonderful meal, one that I highly recommend.
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