Put it in your mouth

1932 N.E. Broadway Ave.

I tell you what: Colosso on N.E. Broadway is a real gem of an establishment, and it’s got the tastiest damn tapas in town. Owner Julie Colosso has created an environment that is dark, cozy and hip, while boasting some of the best food and cocktails this city has to offer.

I wandered into Colosso last Sunday night all by lonesome, worn down by a day of studying and, oh man, was I one hungry monkey. While glancing at Colosso’s latest menu amidst the mellow twanging of an indie-rock guitar and the reverberating red light, I felt comforted in my anticipation of the promising meal to come. The tapas menu seemed endlessly accommodating, with saut퀌�ed spinach, baked Spanish omelets, marinated pork tenderloin skewers, marinated calimari and Moroccan chicken tagine; I got the feeling that I could have ordered any of these well-crafted dishes and gone on my way surely satisfied.

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Under the guidance of Portland’s prettiest waitress, Holly, I was directed to sample some of the newest offerings conceived of by Colosso’s head chef, Lisa.

I ordered the Datiles Rellenos, grilled dates stuffed with valdeon Spanish bleu cheese, wrapped in jamon serrano; along with the Capas De Papas, gratin of potato, celery root and rosemary; and finally, the Albondigas, veal and pork meatballs braised in fennel, tomato and black-olive sauce. Good lord, the stuffed dates were the most delectable creations I have been aquatinted with in a hell of a while, or at least since the last time I ate at Colosso. The sweet dates and savory bleu cheese and ham were so delicately balanced and thoroughly satisfying, you’d be a damn fool not to run out and put them in your mouth right now!

The potatoes were real fine as well. The celery root and rosemary blessed the ordinarily-bland potatoes with a perfectly subtle hint of herbs. And then there were the meatballs: God bless ’em. I swear to you, meatballs never tasted so good as when they were swimming in that tomato, fennel and black-olive sauce.

Although by this point, I was convinced that one more bite would surely cause my little stomach to burst – effecting an ultimate end to my so-far short life – but, with the courage of a food critiquin’ warrior, I ventured forward. I ordered dessert! If my life would’ve ended right then, so be it, cause I was determined to go out with a sweet bite of pumpkin cheesecake nestled in my stomach. But don’t worry. You can go ahead and kiss your St. Christopher medal, ’cause, baby, I made it through. And you know what? It was totally worth it! That sweet little Thanksgivingesque piece of pie was like french-kissing an angel! I never felt so alive!

Colosso is also open late night, making it good place to visit, even if you’re only wanting a drink. They yield a full bar and a great selection of ever-changing specialty cocktails. Some of the most recent additions to the drink list are the White Tiger, which consists of house-made chai, Mt. Gay Eclipse Rum, and almond milk. This drink is served both hot and cold. I suggest you order it hot and let it soothe you on any of P-town’s rainy days. Also, Scott’s Family Tree, which is made up of hot, muddled red wine with citrus, spices and brandy is a good one to heat your spirits. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better hot toddie – Colosso makes theirs with Tuacca.

Everything at Colosso is fresh and well-concieved. They support many local farmers and showcase local art monthly. Colosso is a clever joint to bring a date to as well; the dark atmosphere combined with tapas’ intrinsic sexiness is sure to impress any reasonable person. If you can, steal away in the booth with the curtains, it’s an ideal place to engage in intimate conversation. The environment is smoke-free until 10 p.m., when smoking is allowed by the bar and in half of the restaurant. At Colosso, you’re sure to see lots of cute people eating cute food, so get down there and bask in Colosso’s passion for food, drinks and ambiance. Go on, get!