A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Fun with Restaurant Week

So last night Audrey and I went to Ceiba to take full advantage of Restaurant Week. We got to the restaurant right in time for our reservations and were seated immediately--nice!--at a corner table by the kitchen. The restaurant looked fairly crowded from the outside, and our section only had a two-top open when we were seated. Our waiter came to us immediately and briefed us on the Restaurant Week offerings (one type of ceviche, any of the soups, or a green salad; any entree; a selection of three desserts) and we were off.

First came the drinks. Audrey had a batida (for some reason, not on their drink menu online) while I had the caipirinha. The batida was not as sweet as Audrey would have liked, but got sweeter toward the bottom. My caipirinha was very tasty, string with the muddled lime. Cachaça tastes very similar to light rum, which makes sense (sugar cane vs. mollases extract).

Our appetizers were the black bean soup and the shrimp ceviche. Both were great, especially the soup. The ham and manchego croquette and pickled red onions made the soup--the mix of pickled flavor with the earthy richness of beans was crucial. I wish there was more of an avocado hit to the ceviche though; the one bit we had wasn't really experienced until the end. It did have a nice bit of spiciness to it, and the tart kick you want out of a good ceviche.

Main dishes were the scallops a la plancha for Audrey and the whole roasted snapper for myself. The scallops tasted great, from what I had. They were cooked perfectly--easily sliced with a fork, tender and juicy. And they were huge--bigger than golf balls. The masa gnocchi they were served with was a very nice accent, as were the two sauces. My snapper came out and looked intimidating. Now, I'm strictly a novice when it comes to eating whole roasted fish, but this thing looked crazy! Thankfully, snapper is a pretty bone free bit of seafood. I went to town on it. The skin was nicely roasted and the tomato/olive/caper/jalepeno sauce added just what the light flavor of the snapper needed. Mom would have been proud--I ate the fish down to the bone. Comment of the night, from Audrey: "Oh, that's what fish bones look like!" (food novice!)

Since it was a restaurant week meal, I went ahead and had dessert. Audrey got bread pudding while I got Mexican flan. The bread pudding was better, most likely because of the weather (cold and rainy) and not because of the dish itself.

Overall, if I ever get some extra dough, I want to go back to Ceiba. The restaurant was fancy without feeling pretentious and the food was excellent. Odds are dinner for two on a normal night will set you back in the range of $100-$150. One day, I tell you, one day.

After Ceiba, we walked a few blocks over to Indebleu for a couple of drinks. This was the first time I'd been back since the opening party. The crowd downstairs... well, yuck. Everyone seemed very painfully hip or painfully rich. I was not in the mood for those kinds. I took Audrey on a tour of the upstairs, which was quite different; it felt like a real fine dining establishment. Admirably, the Bleu Group has managed to keep the two vibes separate. I'd definitely love to dine at Indebleu, but I don't think I want to drink there.

Oh, and the drinks? Ridiculously indulgent and overpriced. I think their rail vodka is Grey Goose. Audrey had an odd variation on a White Russian made with Sambuca and Rum (a white pirate?) while I had a Lycheetini and a Mangotini. Both 'tinis were excellent, but I don't think I want to pay those kinds of prices again any time soon. The staff at Indebleu were great and friendly--stark contrast from the clientele. I am tempted to eat there some time, but for a classy night out drinking, I think there are other placed I'd pick over Indebleu.

Oh, who am I kidding? I don't like classy places, I like dives.