Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cafe Atlantico - 10/16/2010

405 8th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-0812

I wouldn't normally revisit the same restaurant twice in such a short period, but I was so impressed by the lunch menu and dinner seemed different enough to warrant a return visit.

01: Minibar Treat - beet tumbleweed
The tasting menu opens with an amuse from the minibar; the strand of beet is deep fried giving it a flavor reminiscent of a sweet potato French fry.

02: Oyster & Uni Gratin - lime miso
AVINYO Brut Cava Penedes, Spain NV
Though I typically prefer my oyster and uni minimally adorned, fortunately the course remained unabashedly briney despite the creamy sauce. The application of lime miso was most welcome, a scintillating acidic foil to the heft of the gratin sauce. I could have polished off an even dozen of these and still wanted more.

03: Foie Gras Soup - floating islands of corn, corn nuts
LEITZ Dragonstone Riesling Rheingau, Germany 2009
I had a variation of this soup during my previous meal but this time I detected hints of earthy mushroom to go along with the the creamy potage's unctuous liver and savory-sweet corn.

04: Scallop - apple pureƩ, seared apple, American caviar
CATENA ESTATE Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina 2008
A well-designed course, the disparate flavors of the apple and caviar are neatly tied together by the natural flavor of the scallop.

05: Quail - carrots, blueberries, tamarind glaze
LEYDA Pinot Noir "Las Brisas", San Antonio, Chile 2009
The quail was delectable, the crunchy skin and tender flesh are complimented by a sticky sweet tamarind glaze but the minuscule portion was baffling particularly considering the massive heap of carrots. In fact, the medicinal blend of carrots and lemon zest was so unappealing that I left the serving largely untouched.

06: Braised Pork Belly - "feijao style" - black beans, farofa, malagueta sauce, crispy rice
This would have been a superb course had I not had the rice, beans, and a far superior version of pork belly from the restaurant a week earlier. Though equally fatty and decadent, the braised pork lacked the absolutely stellar crispy skin of the earlier preparation.

07: Lamb - olive relish, caramelized zucchini puree, oven-dried tomato
ALCENO Monastrell Blend Jumilla, Spain 2008
A nice preparation of lamb, the herbaceous tones of the olive, Autumnal sweetness of the zucchini, and the light char of the tomato all compliment the gaminess of the meat making for a very complete well-rounded rustic dish.

08: Rum Cake - rum brioche, pineapple granite, passion fruit
ERRAZURIZ Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Chile 2007
Ive never been a huge fan of rum cake, too often I think the burn of the alcohol overwhelms the rest of the dessert and that proved to be the case here.

By and large the food was solid, there were some hits and some misses, but I left dinner disappointed and not a little hungry. Lunch proved to be superior in every way, better flavors, more inventive, more filling, and cheaper. Stick with the lunch tasting if you want to see what the kitchen can really do.


Anonymous said...

Next time you are in the D.C. area, do yourself a favor and check out Komi. By far, most enjoyable meal of my life!!!

Epicuryan said...

Thanks for the advice. I've actually been to Komi twice but I never blogged about it because they don't allow photos.