By Sarah Celone and Elizabeth Ea
We walked into Verdad Restaurant and Tequila Bar in Bryn Mawr with low expectations yet high hopes for the Latin-infused tapas restaurant. The Main Line restaurant has been on our “bucket list” of places to try for the past few years. Located next door to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and just a few minutes’ drive from campus, Verdad’s humble exterior is easy to miss if you’re not actively seeking it out.
For those of you who have never been to a tapas restaurant and are wondering what the seemingly new craze is all about, tapas are small appetizers or canapes, typically of Spanish origin. In our opinion, they are a fun way to dine out with friends if you’re looking for a light meal. While we have found tapas restaurants in the U.S. to be full of unique flavors and bold ingredient combinations, we found ourselves leaving the restaurants feeling less than satisfied with the quantity of food we received relative to the amount we paid for it.
After reading other customers’ reviews of Verdad, we were expecting the restaurant to follow suit with past tapas experiences outside of Spain. However, we were pleasantly surprised with our dining experience at Verdad and feel as if we had been to a completely different establishment from the one described online.
We opted for three items to share between two people, and we barely had room for dessert. While the prices are a bit steep for the amount of food you receive, the quality of the food easily makes up for it. We began with a Bibb salad that was lightly seasoned with a lavender vinaigrette and topped with crumbled blue cheese, apple slices and spicy, candied cashews. The dressing was light and delicate, giving the salad just a hint of lavender infusion that didn’t overpower the rest of the ingredients.
The highlight of the night arrived next at our table,:the strawberry habanero guacamole—a must-try at Verdad, in our opinion. We thought strawberries, kiwis and hot peppers seemed a strange combination to accompany traditional guacamole, but we swear we’re not exaggerating when we say it’s some of the best we’ve had. The flavors blended together perfectly, and the sweetness of the fruit was a refreshing accompaniment to the habeneros.
The black truffle flatbread, rubbed with pesto and topped with goat cheese, chicken, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms, was a tasty choice for something a bit more filling, yet the doughy crust added a chewy texture to the dish that would have been far more enjoyable had it been cooked a few minutes longer.
While we had just barely enough room for dessert, we decided to try the wild berry crepes. The thin pancakes were enjoyable, but seemed hastily assembled, and we felt as if we could have easily prepared the same dessert ourselves for a fraction of the price.
Overall, the dining experience was a positive one. Our recommendation would be to go during happy hour for half-priced drinks—they offer almost 70 types of tequila— where you can enjoy the same great tastes at a lower price. We would call ahead to make a reservation, though, because Verdad is a gem that won’t stay hidden long.