By Jessica Mozo
Tapa La Luna in downtown DeKalb serves such artfully prepared cuisine that diners often whip out their cameras and snap a photo of the food or drink in front of them waiting to be devoured.
“The presentation is really something to see,” says Robert Deshazer, who co-owns Tapa La Luna with Chad Warborg and Ron Proesel. “Chad Warborg is a truly talented and gifted executive chef who is constantly creating new menu items, reduction sauces and soups.” (A reduction in chef’s lingo is the result of boiling or cooking down a liquid until it reduces to the consistency of a sauce.)
Still, the owners don’t want the expansive menu to seem daunting.
“We’ve spent a great deal of time creating ways for wine with food to not seem intimidating and hopefully be more accessible for people wishing to step out of the box,” Deshazer adds.
Tapa La Luna opened in February and quickly gained a following for its tasty tapas (a Spanish word for appetizers), as well as made-from-scratch, creative entrees that rival dishes found in big-city restaurants.
“One of the appeals is that all our prep is done in house,” Deshazer says. “We have a dish called vested shrimp – shrimp stuffed with horseradish and wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon, served with cherry chipotle barbecue sauce and a passion fruit reduction. We don’t receive the shrimp pre-stuffed, and the reduction sauces do not come to us in a bottle. It’s all done by our chef, and that’s true for the entire menu.”
One crowd favorite, bleu cheese-crusted marinated beef, is finished with balsamic glaze and passion fruit sauce.
“It’s the best thing I’ve eaten in 10 years,” Deshazer says.
Tapa La Luna exudes a contemporary yet friendly ambiance with exposed brick walls, hanging lights and sconces, and a five-foot-wide glowing LED moon light behind the bar that warms the room.
“I hear all the time how customers feel they are in Chicago,” Deshazer says. “The only thing missing is cabs whizzing by outside.”
You won’t pay big-city prices here, though. Small-plate tapas range from $6 to $12 each, entrees $12 to $18. The menu also features a variety of burgers, pizzas and salads.
If You Go
Tapa La Luna, 226 East Lincoln Highway in downtown DeKalb, is open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. (Closed Sundays.) Reservations are encouraged. Learn more at (815) 217-0990 or visit them online at www.tapalaluna.com.