Tapas Castile opened in Trinity Groves at the beginning of 2018, in the former Casa Rubia space. Co-owned by FT33 alumnae Jessica Kate-Martinez and Kendra Valentine, it is a “modernista” take on a traditional Spanish tapas bar, featuring local Texas products and proteins whenever possible. The name is a celebration of the Castilian region of Spain and the owners’ commitment to serving authentic Spanish fare.
Before opening Tapas Castile, Kate-Martinez and Valentine traveled throughout Spain, and they brought back the best of what they ate. Kate-Martinez, whose mother is from Spain, helms the front of the house. She is a certified sommelier and has worked harvests at Spanish wineries. Valentine is the executive chef, and her knowledge and passion of butchery, in particular, shine through in the menu.
The menu begins with charcutería, cheese and pintxos (composed bites). There are six Spanish meat and cheese selections, of which you can order four ($18), eight ($28) or a full tasting ($40). The jamón Iberico is an additional $2.
We started with the pintxos and ordered one of each ($9 for six) to share between two people. This was a perfect introduction to the menu.
Thanks to Valentine’s expertise in butchery (she trained with master butchers in England), the tapas menu includes dishes that make use of the whole animal. Pork is especially popular, from the charcuterie selection, with house-made lardo and sobrasada (house-made whipped, spicy pork), to the tapas, with pork turnovers, pork croquettes and a pork chop.
Vegetables are also well represented on the tapas menu. On the menu right now is fried eggplant ($6), Texas grilled peppers ($7), spicy potatoes ($6) and summer squash ($9). The Texas heirloom tomato salad with house-made cheese and garlic chips ($9) was one of the best dishes we ate. The mixed mushrooms with garlic, cream and sherry ($8) was another standout item.
Seafood lovers will find plenty of options, too. PEI mussels ($12), grilled octopus ($21), golden tile ($15), clams and chistorra ($12), and scallops and jamón ($19) are just some of the choices.
If you’d prefer a large plate, Tapas Castile offers three paellas, which feed two to four people: regular ($38), with seafood, chicken, chorizo, a seafood-only paella ($42) and a vegan paella ($28) as well.
The drink menu exclusively features Spanish wines and beers and also boasts a substantial vermouth selection. You’ll also find a classic Basque cocktail called the Kalimotxo ($7), a surprisingly enjoyable combination of equal parts red wine and cola.
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We visited at 8 p.m. on a weekend, and the place was bustling. Service was a bit hurried, but our server was friendly and helpful, giving considerate recommendations based on our questions and preferences.
For the quality, especially in such a trendy part of town, Tapas Castile is an excellent value. Our check was $90 (before tip) and that included the four-selection meat and cheese board, the pintxos tasting, four tapas, a dessert and four beers.
This women-owned-and-run restaurant is worth a trip to Trinity Groves for its authentic and affordable Spanish cuisine.
Tapas Castile, 3011 Gulden Lane (West Dallas)