Half price margaritas at the bar made everyone happy, followed by a sampling of some of the house's special tequila cocktails. Once we were seated, we quickly decided on the five course tasting menu- everyone has to order it, but once the table shares guacamole, you get to choose what you eat- an appetizer, ceviche, entree and dessert.
The guacamole was prepared tableside and started off the meal deliciously. I have never had such a creamy guacamole, and the flavors were excellent- a hint of onion, citrus, cilantro and spice- perfectly balanced and not overwhelming the avocado flavor.
3 of us got the Sopes for an appetizer- 3 little tortillas with different toppings: duck, chorizo, and goat cheese. 3 sauces accompanying the were nice, but I wasn't sure which went with which or if it was a free for all kinda thing. Bridget's cinnamon smoked fig salad got mixed reviews. the smoked figs were delicious, but Bridget felt the blue cheese overpowered their flavor and was unnecessary; I agree. Danielle and Amy got the queso fundido - literally "flood of cheese," served with homemade tortillas. AMAZING, especially with the mushrooms. This was the most substantial appetizer and a bit heavy to eat alone at the start of the meal. Luckily the girls had plenty of extra mouths (and grabby hands) to help.
The ceviche was decent. I'll admit I was underwhelmed by my Coctel de Camarones, but I ordered the least adventurous of the bunch. Danielle was pleased by her Tuna Ceviche with lemongrass, and Hilary, Erin and Bridget raved about the "Return to Life" Vuelve a la Vida, a mix of octopus, scallop, and oyster. Amy, our vegetarian had a beautiful and creatively plated salad that was one of her favorite dishes of the night.
By the time entrees came, we were on the full side, but soldiered through. The server recommended the pork ribs braised with pineapple and banana. I was skeptical about bananas and pork, but I admit it did not disappoint. The pork was fall of the bone tender and with a lovely sauce. It came with blue corn tortillas so I could make little tacos, and they were yums. Erin and Hilary bravely ordered goat, which they report as very tender, but accompanied by extremely spicy peppers. "I have a giant hole burned in my mouth," were Erin's exact words. (and there, my friend, is your very special shout-out). Bridget's Bistec Azteca was suprisingly light, served with crisp shavings of chayote. It came with fried avocado. I prefer my avocado "not warm," but Bridget stated it complemented the lightness of the rest of the dish nicely. Vegetarians ordered broccoli cakes with mole, which were a bit of a let down after the rest of the meal; just another reason eating meat is great!
Desserts featured a deicious homemade walnut ice cream with rum sauce and caramelized bananas and churros with dipping sauces (skip those, Amada's are much better). I warned everyone that the "sweet tacos" would probably not be good. I even shook my finger. So Bridget ordered them to spite me. She reports they were great (more like cannoli), but I was too happy with my ice cream to care at that point.
Service was attentive and excellent. The meal was paced very leisurely- which we loved. I hate feeling rushed when I go out to eat and the pace here was excellent- we weren't starving between courses and we were able to get a break between dishes. I believe we were there for over 3 hours, much of it spent discussing locations for future meals.
I left the restaurant happy, full (but not uncomfortably so) and a little smug for having such a great idea. Can't wait for next month, ladies!