Posted on Jan 31, 2012 under Archives |
Abacus main dining room
I recently visited the Lone Star State and had to sample one of Dallas’ most famous restaurants, Kent Rathbun’s Abacus. Rathbun’s flagship restaurant opened in 1999 and has been a local favorite for years, earning many awards. The eclectic menu is a mix of dishes with American, Southwestern and Pacific Rim influences. Once you enter, to the right is the upscale bar with rectangular leather chairs perfect for lounging and enjoying one of the restaurants many specialty cocktails.
We sat in the modern main dining room in a luxurious high booth in full view of the expansive open kitchen. The adjoining back jagged wall next to our booth was made from Texas limestone and colorful artwork from the staff adorned the interior area.
The menu offers a wide variety of sushi, steak, and seafood dishes. We opted for the six course tasting menu – but if you are really hungry Abacus also offers a larger nine course tasting option (adding a cheese, sushi and foie gras course).
A huge basket of homemade bread was brought to our table. We loved the assortment of onion, olive, flatbread and biscuits.
Our first course was a refreshing hamachi sashimi, served with mango and jicama with a grapefruit granita topping.
Next came a lovely seared Hawaiian Walu with sugar snap peas and a Wagyu beef dumpling over a spicy white soy lemongrass broth. We loved this dish.
Our third course was buttery seared scallops over a salsify tagliatelle with guanciale carbonara. This was a very rich dish and my fave of the night.
In between the fish courses (above) and the meat courses (below) came a nice surprise, a mini-course of a raspberry sorbet, ginger and blueberry plate.
Our fourth course was a perfectly cooked filet of buffalo with spoon bread over a turnip brulee with a cherry syrup. Matt’s fave of the night.
Buffalo over turnip puree
Our final meat course was also perfectly cooked – a medium rare piece of lamb over brussel sprouts, bacon and pears.
Our last course was the chocolate indulgence, a chocoholic dessert with a chocolate almond financier, gianduja mousse and cocoa macaroons.
I highly recommend stopping in at Abacus for a leisurely high end meal in a relaxed upscale atmosphere the next time you find yourself in the Dallas area. Just make sure to make a reservation beforehand – located at 4511 McKinney Avenue, reservations at 214/559-3111.
Posted on Jan 26, 2012 under Archives |
Casa Azul Cantina
Westwood now has a colorful tasty new Mexican eatery. Located inside a charming brick courtyard, the teal infused Casa Azul Cantina is the latest restaurant from Vicente Del Rio of the Frida Restaurant Group. The menu offers a wide variety of traditional Mexican dishes, including sopas, ceviches, moles, fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos.
Inside Casa Azul Cantina
I recently visited for a tasting menu with my friend Dalbert, here is what we sampled. We started with frozen margaritas, I had strawberry, Dalbert had mango. Casa Azul Cantina’s drink menu is extensive and offers over 70 tequilas. Later, our waiter brought over a Matador special, a very very strong combination of muddled cucumber, agave, tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice.
Dalbert and me
Our appetizers included the Casa Azul Platter, a huge dish of crispy chicken and potato taquitos, cheese quesadillas, mini sopas and guacamole. We also enjoyed hamachi tiradito, raw yellowtail with avocado, rocoto chile, olive oil, lime juice and ponzu sauce as well as a big bowl of guacamole en molcajete, fresh guacamole with onions, jalapeno chile, and lime.
casa azul platter
Our main courses were delivered shortly after, we tried the house specialty – the mole poblano, chicken in chile chocolate sauce served with rice and refried beans. We both love mole and this dish was delicious.
We also sampled chicken enchiladas with queso fresco and sour cream and rib eye tacos. The tacos were my favorite of the night with tender grilled marinated ribeye, onions and cilantro and served with chiles toreados.
rib eye tacos
For dessert we enjoyed pastel de tres leches and fresas con crema.
pastel de tres leches
fresas con crema
The menu offers a wide variety of dishes for very reasonable prices. Everything we sampled was delicious. Casa Azul Cantina is located at 10853 Lindbrook Drive in Westwood Village, open for lunch and dinner.
Posted on Jan 18, 2012 under Archives |
Located in east downtown LA in the warehouse district on the corner of sixth and Central is Yxta Cocina Mexicana, LA’s newest upscale Mexican restaurant. With a big open kitchen, bright yellow chairs, dark wood, modern art and exposed ceilings, Yxta’s interior has an urban vibe. The menu is full of updated Mexican favorites. Last week my friend Todd joined me for a tequila sampling paired with a tasting menu.
Our first course was a romaine salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, croutons and caesar dressing and a crab soup. It was paired with Tequila Orcho Blanco.
Next came a shot of Tequila Ocho Reposado and a plantain empanada with pork picadillo and a tamale de puerco en chile colorado.
Our entrees, a filet mignon with chipotle peppercorn sauce, rajas mashed potatoes and green beans and crab stuffed jumbo shrimp with a serrano bearnaise, cilanto lime rice and vegetables, were served with a refreshing cucumber jicama margarita.
cucumber jicama margarita
crab stuffed jumbo shrimp
A warm Mexican chocolate cake with canela ice cream was served for dessert with a shot of Ocho Anejo Tequila.
So much tequila!!
Todd and me
Mexican chocolate cake
Yxta is located at 601 South Central Avenue. Reservations can be made at 213/622-5540.