Thursday, June 11, 2009

Adobo Grill

FLO felt strange suggesting the Adobo Grill to an out-of-towner looking for good Mexican downtown, since we'd never been ourselves. But after he returned with big two-thumbs-up, we decided to rectify the situation. Boy, are we glad we did!

Located across Washington street from Fogo de Chao and just a block from both 14 West and the Oceanaire, Adobo certainly has some stiff competition for upscale dining. Once inside, we found it hard not to crane our necks to take it all in. Beautifully appointed in wood and earth tones, they offer indoor balcony seating as well as semi-private room-booths along with the usual four tops and booths.

We were greeted at our table by a most helpful and knowledgeable waiter. He recommended the sangria and we decided to sample both the white and red. The white was refreshing and juicy - the red, sweet with a hint of spice. Fred was all too happy to finish Libby's white after she'd had her maximum 1/2 glass.

Instead of the perfuctory bagged chips and salsa, we began our meal with wonderful warmed corn tortilla chips and Fred's new favorite salsa. The chip was more substantial than most, yet had a great crunch and flavor. The salsa was of the picante variety, smooth with all the right spice tones and a slight sweetness. It was hard to not eat too many before the remainder of the meal was to come!

While snacking on the chips and salsa, it was hard to miss the table-side guacamole prep occuring nearby. Not being fans of guacamole, FLO opted against it, but judging from the array of fresh ingredients that the guests hand pick, it looked like a sure thing for anyone who enjoys it.

Again, following our waiter's recommendation, we went with the salmon ceviche. Yum! Sushi-grade salmon cured in brown sugar and tequila, mixed with chipotle mayo and pineapple pico de gallo. Served with both banana chips and more of those delightful tortilla chips, it was the perfect start to this amazing meal. Not used to salmon ceviche, Fred and Libby were happily surprised by the refreshing flavor. Not being fans of any kind of mayo with any kind of cold fish(sushi or ceviche), we were happy to find the chipotle mayo and the pineapple to be an awesome pairing! Ceviche is a great start to any meal.

Libby, being a huge fan of mole in general, ordered the pork tenderloin with Oaxacan black mole and a corn tamal mash on a bed of cooked spinach (pictured above). Outstanding! The mole had a nice spice and went so well with the mash and spinach. Always having mole with chicken, Libby found the pork tenderloin substitution ingenious!

Fred, struggling between the Callos de Hacha and one of the weekly specials, a mexican version of paella, decided to again go with the waiter's recommendation. The paella with shrimp, scallops, mussels and white fish, baked in a serving-sized earthenware pot. As the still-boiling pot cooled at the table, we watched in anticipation as the heavy stock soaked into the rice. It can best be described as a full-flavor dish. We're shocked it's not a permanent part of the menu.

Ozzy chose the cheese quesadillas and refused to allow any sampling. From the looks of things, they were the same wonderful corn tortillas, this time stuffed with queso blanco. Definitely a hit.

Even though we had almost stuffed ourselves to capacity, we had to share one of the tempting looking desserts. With Libby's never-ending desire for chocolate, a decision was finally made...the chocolate tamal. Wrapped in a tamale leaf, a warm, deeply chocolate and barely sweet delight was set before us accompanied by Panpantla vanilla bean ice cream, dried cherries, and chocolate sauce. Each spoonful had the consistency of undercooked brownie batter except for the most rich, pure chocolate was so intense and with just the smallest hint of sugar to counter the natural bitterness, it definitely reminded you of chocolate's primitive roots. Libby likened it to a religious experience!

Wrap Up

Price-$$$, Affordable fine dining in a child-friendly downtown atmosphere.
Atmosphere-****, Gorgeous, creative and flowing. Should it be the tequila bar or a balcony seat next time?
Service-****, Felt more like a guided tour with our waiter's excellent recommendations.

Fred - A+, If only all the hole-in-the-wall Mexican joints had flavors like these!
Libby -A+, Can't say one bad thing. Outstanding food, service, and atmosphere! Can't wait to go back!
Ozzy - A, He loved the quesadillas and fit in well with the surprising number of other young foodies in training.

Adobo Grill on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Next time you should give the guacamole a chance... I hated quacamole until I had it at Adobo Grill. Now I make it at home just like they do. Also, their house margaritas are quite refreshing.