Forte European Tapas Bar & Bistro offers a wonderfully muddled mix of world cuisines, providing a tour of Eurasia from a nondescript Rainbow Boulevard storefront. In lesser hands the melting pot of Spanish, Eastern European and Russian dishes might result in cacophony; here it’s nothing short of sweet symphony.
Some of the best dishes are the simplest. Take the starter queso manchego with Catalan tomato bread ($4.50), mellow manchego slices nicely balance a sharp, garlicky tomato spread atop smoky grilled bread in each perfect bite. Another is the Sofiiska Baniza ($5), for which Bulgarian feta—a tastier kin to its Greek cousin—is baked in housemade filo and served alongside a dollop of yogurt. With its sharp and savory succulence, this is as addictive a dish as I’ve had recently.
Another outstanding offering: the stuffed sweet peppers ($7). Swimming amidst a sinful yogurt dill sauce, it’s a colorful complement of miniature roasted peppers embracing a meaty rice concoction—and a great combination of sweet, smoky and sour.
- Forte European Tapas Bar & Bistro
- 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd., 220-3876.
- Kitchen open Sunday-Monday, 2-11 p.m.; Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Probably the most unique menu option is the Adjarski Khachapuri ($7), canoe-shaped bread stuffed with a suluguni-style (pickled) cheese. The freshly baked warmth actually cooks the final ingredient—an egg cracked into the vessel just prior to delivery—right at your table. The dish devolves into a deliciously gooey affair.
With a fabulous, albeit not picturesque, outdoor patio and a collection of house-infused vodkas (try the ginger!), Forte is a quirky ethnic restaurant one might expect to find in a larger city. We’re lucky to have it here.