Cafe Atlantico

atlantico passionfruit

I’m not sure how to categorize the cuisine at Cafe Atlantico exactly, though Open Table describes it as “Fusion / Eclectic, Latin American, Caribbean.” It’s one of Jose Andres’s restaurants (the others, of course, being Oyamel, Jaleo, and Zaytinya of recent Top Chef fame). I’ve been to both Jaleo locations and to Zaytinya, all of which serve up tapas style meals where you can pick and choose lots of little dishes. I hear Oyamel is fairly decent Mexican food, but I haven’t tried it myself.

Aside from the famed cocktails at Cafe Atlantico, I knew very little about this place. Their Restaurant Week special extended through September 6, so some friends and I poked in there to check it out. We ordered a bunch of stuff, mostly deviating from the RW menu. But ultimately, the shining star of the night was the cocktail!

Pictured above is their passion fruit martini, made with orange rum and passion fruit juice with ginger jalapeno infusion. They top it off with a fruity whipped cream-like froth that was quite lovely. The cocktail wasn’t overpowered by tartness as I might have expected. I really liked this drink. ♥

EDIT: Uh…somehow I managed to DELETE the rest of this entry. (;___;) I can’t find the cached page, so will have to reconstruct all over again. Apologies for making this entry disappear meanwhile!

atlantico cottoncandy

This is the famous Magic Mojito, made with cotton candy and served with a stick of cane sugar and sliver of lime. I’ve never seen a mojito served in a martini glass before, but I thought it was kinda pretty. I didn’t see the bartender prepare this drink, but apparently he added a wad of cotton candy at the bottom of the glass before pouring the drink over top of it. It tasted like non-alcoholic juice! Quite dangerous when you can’t taste much of the alcohol. XD There was some debate as to whether this drink was “manly” enough for a guy to order. What do you think?

atlantico guac

One wonders whether it’s worth paying $13 for one and a half avocados mashed up with tomatoes and chilies. Still, their guacamole, prepared tableside, is a fun starter to order, and certainly tastes great. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about Cafe Atlantico’s, and some of my friends say they prefer the one up the street at Rosa Mexicano.

atlantico tuna

Tuna Ceviche
coconut milk, avocado

I’m not sure I liked the coconut milk with this dish, though I’m generally a big fan of the stuff. I do remember that this came topped with corn nuts, which added some interesting texture.

atlantico skirtsteak

Grilled Skirt Steak
mushrooms, green beans, truffled potato espuma

I believe espuma is a foamy cream (sauce?) type thing, and I assume “truffled” means “with truffle oil.” Perhaps the flavor was a bit too subtle for my palate, but I didn’t taste much of anything except cream. If I recall, the meat was cooked nicely.

atlantico scallop

cocoa butter, cauliflower purée, cauliflower ‘couscous’ American caviar

I’m gonna tell it to you straight up: this dish was pretty awful. I only had a bite, and I didn’t feel like taking another. It tasted as messy as it looked, with a little too much going on of everything. And what was up with the scattered presentation? Perhaps they were going for the artistic look, but it just ended up looking kind of slapped together.

atlantico lamb

Lamb Two Ways
grilled chops, confit, artichokes, watercress, fingerling potatoes

This was a winner though: the lamb chops were perfectly prepared and plated beautifully! I loved the sauce, which was flavorful and married well with the artichokes and potatoes. I think the dish could’ve been lamb “one way” though. The second method of preparation was a kebab, made from that stringy, textureless consistency of meat that I abhor. It’s not quite ground and quite solid, but a mushy in-between. Even if it tasted good, I would not have known. The gross texture is an immediate turn-off for me.

atlantico strawberrybasil

Mmm…strawberry basil sorbet with crisps of rhubarb. I’m a great believer in mixing herbs into dessert, and this was pretty successful. The basil added a wonderful minty sweetness that was refreshing and new.

The meal concluded with a couple orders of their hot chocolate, which was milky and delicious (if a bit less chocolately than I expected). I don’t drink decaf, so this was a nice alternative for an after dinner drink. It comes in a glass pot, and one order will easily serve two.

I’d say our experience here was pretty underwhelming overall. However, I’d love to return sometime for happy hour to sip upon their delectable cocktails. There’s also some talk about trying their “minibar” – a tiny by-reservation-only dining experience for the culinary adventurer! Among their offerings (which change regularly) are solidified olive oil lollipops and foie gras cotton candy. Hmm…perhaps in the future, I’ll make a rez. Will certainly report back all my findings here, if I ever do. (^__~)v

Finally, a little negativity!


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