Corks+Forks: EVO Tapas Kitchen’s Croquettas and Prosecco

Eat, drink and dance at Capitol Hill’s latest Mediterranean eatery addition.

“Dining in the front, party in the back” should be EVO Tapas Kitchen & Cabernet‘s tagline, referring, of course, to the new off-Broadway Capitol Hill small plates Mediterranean establishment and its conjoined sister dance club, The Social. Covering nearly 12,000 square feet between the two, according to The Social’s website, the spacious restaurant gives refuge to late night diners (inebriated or sober) until 2:00 am with the comfort of scantily clad cabaret performers, including, and not exclusively, male, female and drag vaudeville acts.

Promising a unique experience on the hill, EVO situates a DJ in the corner for your tunes to chop to while time-lapsed photography of various locations in Seattle whiz by on several projection screen walls above the oval-shaped wrap-around bar. The tapas pull together the flavors of France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Spain, highlighting head chef David K. Leopoldo’s (formerly of Barrio) culinary background and expertise.

Holding firm to their Euro-description, EVO’s menu ranges from paprika-dusted truffled popcorn to tapenade trios for starters and wanders to grilled chicken flatbeards and chickpea empandas to a porcini-crusted lamb sirloin. The cocktail list also mimics European fare with white and red sangrias as well as a wine list with authentic and impossible to pronounce varietal choices. Just take a risk and point, Greek and Portuguese wines are often never what you expect and typically a palate sensation you won’t soon forget.

As far as the Social club goes in the back, glow sticks are a priority, shirtless dancers are almost guaranteed and Lady Gaga reigns supreme. White ottoman-style couches line the walls, ideal for a dance break or to nuzzle up to a friend for a private toast. Famous faces flash on the projected, rotating wall art and the DJ spins up the latest discoteca hits.

The Dish: Croquettas ($8 for dinner and late night diners, $5 for happy hour-goers) — Although not exclusively Mediterranean, croquettas or croquettes are present in the cuisine of nearly 25 different countries. From Bangladesh to Belgium and over to Indonesia or Mexico, the fried food roll dumpling (which derives from the French word “to crunch”) is typically built on breadcrumb-coated ingredients such as mashed potatoes, ground meat, cheese or veggies and soaked in egg, spices and often an alcoholic beverage for flavor and binding.

In EVO’s case, they serve up two offerings both in more of a Spain-fashion, one stuffed with serrano ham, onion and coated in nutmeg while the other boasts spinach, potato and pecorino cheese. Lavish and loaded with flavor and guilt, these deep-fried delicacies are brought table side in a miniature metal fryer basket with a pivoting seasonal dip.

The Variety: Prosecco — What once was just a title for dry spumante Italian wine is now a DOC grape variety – Prosecco, the grape and the wine, has come full circle in the grapegrowing world and has earned some street cred along the wine. Usually seen as “dry” or “extra dry” in reference to its sugar/sweetness content, Prosecco has been gaining popularity beyond its use in bellinis and mimosas, and as a value-driven sparkling wine alternative. Fresh, light and creamy, Prosecco has fragrant aromas of apple, pear and peaches, while orange fruits and citrus usually pull out the palate of the crisp wine.

Why It Works: Dense and deep-fried requires light and fresh, with opposites attracting and uplifting the flavors of the croquettas, Prosecco’s angelic qualities level out the hedonistic tendencies of the dumplings.

The Recommended Match: Torresella Prosecco DOC Extra Dry ($16) — Hits of lemon punch out of the glass with oranges, nectarine and apricots tug on the tongue while the acid flits delicately on the tastebuds. Great bang for the buck in a rounded and crisp Prosecco, ideal for salty flavors of the ham and cheese in both croquettas.

EVO Tapas Kitchen & Cabaret | 1715 E. Olive Way,  Seattle | (206) 328-5293