Thursday, June 28, 2012
I'd heard some mixed reviews of Circa 1922 and we tried it last summer . . . well we tried to eat there, but it was very crowded, very loud and the menu was a bit confusing without help so we left. This time we went on a slow Wednesday evening (they were setting up to film in an alley across the street) and we brought our daughter Rachel who has eaten there a few times and said it was good. Well, with her help and help from our waitress, the menu wasn't all that intimidating. You see, they bill themselves as a tapas place serving small plates and I just wasn't sure how small this plates were going to be. On top of that, everything is ala carte, except for the prix fix meal at $21.50 which gives salad, entree and desert.
Circa is on Market Street in a building which once housed a bank, as evidenced by the remains of a large safe in the back. It is a two story affair (bathrooms are on the second floor so if stairs are a problem I'd hope they have an elevator somewhere, or you'll learn to hold it). The kitchen is on the second floor as is a smaller dining area, presumably for private parties. There is plenty of dark wood, high ceilings, some exposed brick walls, and some tin ceilings. Just the atmosphere I like.
We started with the Fried Calamari for $8.75 with a wasabi and citrus sauce. It was quite large (a normal appetizer size that two or three people could share, and we did) and quite tasty. The calamari was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of breading and the sauce on the bottom of the plate was a balanced mix of a citrus taste and the tang of the wasabi. My only complaint is that I would have liked a bit more sauce, perhaps on the side for dipping.
Teresa ordered the orechetti with chicken (not shown here) and I tasted a piece. It was very nicely done. Rachel got the Paella shown above at $15.50 with seafood. I had a taste of hers as well, and it was good. Both of the portions were adequate, much like a half-plate we've had other places.
I ordered the Duck shown above at $14.00 which was probably the best of the three dishes, and one of the best duck dishes this writer has had the pleasure of consuming in the line of duty. My only complaint on this is the dull butter knife I was trying to hack at the duck with. I switched with another knife at the table and it worked better, but a steak knife would have been better. As for the portion, it was perfect, especially after sharing the appetizer and the delicious bread they serve.
Overall, it was a lovely meal for three at $54.00 plus tip. The atmosphere is excellent, the food excellent and the service . . . well our waitress did a great job but it did seem to take an abnormally long time to get our food. There were a few other items on the menu I'm going back to try.