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Tasca Tasca’s Portuguese small plates will be cookin’ it old school

Manuel Azevedo's long-awaited Tasca Tasca will open Monday, April 18 at the former location of the Epicurean Connection and original site of Homegrown Bagels on West Napa Street in Sonoma.

Azevedo, whose family hails from the Azores, oozes excitement at bringing his country's small plates to Sonoma and beyond. Already he and wife Kim have the popular La Salette in Sonoma, a partnership in Shiso Modern Asian Kitchen, and Manuel is part owner with his sister of Café Lucia in Healdsburg.

The minute you walk in you notice the large Sousa's Restaurant sign high on the back wall. Azevedo was able to get the sign from the longest serving Portuguese restaurant in California, which closed in 2015 after 40 years in San Jose's “Little Portugal” neighborhood. He plans to continue the Portuguese tradition for at least another 40 years here in Sonoma.

Enlarged old family photos line the walls, with cozy tables for two around the edges of the room and a series of blue tables down the center.

Azevedo said on Tuesday, “It's all about nostalgia for me. I want to share that old style and old Sonoma with everyone. I want this to be the kind of place where your grandpa would hang out, whatever your family's immigrant origins might be.” He added that there used to be lots of Portuguese dairies in the area.

“When you are here I want this place to feel like you are putting on a comfortable pair of shoes. It's different from La Salette. We will move a lot of our tapas and small plates over here and allow La Salette to grow to new heights and create more exciting food,” said Azevedo.

At Tasca Tasca you can get one small plate with one selection for $5.50, three items for $15, five for $24 and seven for $32, and you can choose from cheese, garden, sea, land or sweet menus in any combination.

Those choices range from Portuguese mac & cheese and Queijo do São Jorge (St. George cheese) with marmelada, a Portuguese bar snack sampler, Portugal's national soup, fried piri piri potatoes, raw oysters, Bacalhau salt cod cakes, marinated mussels, white anchovies, Cuttlefish salad, goat stew, steak tartare, Serrano ham, escargot in garlic butter, smoked duck breast, sweet rice with Madeira-braised fig, or passion fruit mousse with mango among many more selections.

“This will be unpretentious, with wine served in tumblers, the old country way, and is a little bit of a push-back to everything going up-scale,” Azevedo continued.

And, Azevedo said, Tasca Tasca will be open from noon to midnight.

“People who cook in other restaurants often don't want to go home and cook and they are welcome to come here for a $5-dollar snack and a $3 beer.

“Because my dad liked Olympia beer we will have it,” as well as Boont Amber Ale, Racer 5 IPA, and other lagers and stouts, as well as a full list of Portuguese wines and ports with pours of a three-ounce half glass to six-ounce glasses for full bottles. Half glasses range from $4.25 to $7, while six-ounce glasses go from $7 to $13.

The large elevated rooster on a platform at the back of the restaurant is the Portuguese “Galo do Barcellos,” which symbolizes “honesty and integrity.” Azevedo plans to deliver both.

122 West Napa Street, Sonoma. 996-8272.

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