On the East side of Gatlinburg, in the direction of our famed arts & crafts community, lies a culinary gem that promises to transport your taste buds to the heart of Europe, while keeping the essence of American cuisine alive – LeConte Tapas and Grill.
What are Tapas?
Before we delve into our experience, let’s unravel the mystery behind the term ‘tapas’. Originating from Spain, tapas are a variety of small savory dishes, often served with drinks at bars. Traditionally, they might range from simple almonds or olives, to more elaborate dishes like chorizo, calamari, or patatas bravas. Tapas are not just about the food, but also the culture of leisure, camaraderie, and the experience of sharing. In the context of LeConte Tapas and Grill, tapas take on a broader European context, hinting at an expansive palette of flavors.
The Restaurant’s Promise
LeConte Tapas and Grill boasts a dual personality that intrigues. By day, it transforms into a haven for burger aficionados and anyone just looking for a good American lunch. And as the sun sets, it metamorphoses into a European steakhouse, marrying classic flavors with New American Age cuisine. It’s this blend of tradition and innovation that sets the stage for a memorable dining experience.
A step inside reveals a classy establishment, with tastefully curated interiors reflective of its European inspiration. The attention to detail is evident, from the elegant furnishings to the soft ambient lighting. For those who prefer to dine under the canopy of the sky, there’s also an outdoor seating area.
The Hawaiian Burger
We decided to drop by for lunch and the Hawaiian burger caught our attention. So the first question to answer to be answered is: does pineapple go on a burger? Let’s explore.
Presentation is the first bite, and in this case, the restaurant’s logo seared onto the top bun was an aesthetic treat. But the real journey began with the first bite. The half-pound black angus patty was cooked to perfection, its juiciness complemented by the creamy Swiss cheese. The caramelized onion jam brought in a hint of sweetness, balanced by the tanginess of the grilled pineapple. Fresh lettuce and tomato added a crisp texture, and the mayo tied all the flavors together. The fries were golden and crunchy, and perfectly seasoned.
So…the pineapple part? Eh…it really would have been a better burger without it. But we can’t blame that on the establishment! Some people will love it. We took a chance on something a little unusual, and it still tasted great, so no complaints.
The lunch menu is a lighter selection, with lots of burgers, sandwiches, wraps and salads. If you’re wanting something heavier, the dinner menu is when they break out the steaks, ribs, seafood and such. The food prices are a little high, but the quality is obvious (and what’s not high these days?). If you are in the mood for a drink, the restaurant also has a nice selection of cocktails, wine and beer.
LeConte Tapas and Grill is different from every other restaurant we have reviewed in Gatlinburg, with its unique ambiance and European-inspired menu. Highly recommended if you find yourself on that side of town looking for a premium quality meal.
It is located at:
805 East Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738