I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jose Andres. He has truly brought Spanish cuisine to the culinary forefront and made tapas much more mainstream. After a few extremely disappointing trips to Jaleo, I was hoping that the Jose Andres empire could redeem itself. And that it certainly did.
Cafe Atlantico celebrates Nueva Latina cuisine and incorporates a lot of the tropical flavors and elements that make the food unique. The wine list represents the diversity of wines in South America; there were also a few Spanish wines available.
To start, I ordered the grilled octopus, which came with salsa verde and fingerling potatoes. I was a bit apprehensive; would the octopus be like rubber? Fortunately, this was the most tender octopus that I have had in a long time. The salsa verde had a hint of lime flavor to it, which worked surprisingly well with the octopus.
My sister and I -occasionally- understand the importance of sharing. Fortunately, she was in a generous mood and allowed me to try a bit of her tuna ceviche with coconut. The bite I had was delicious, although I did notice that the amount of avocado overwhelmed the tuna.
For the main course, I ordered the halibut, which came with sides of straw mushrooms and asparagus and potatoes. The halibut was so flaky and practically melted in my mouth.
I did steal a taste of my sister’s duck, which was a bit more tough and less tender than I would have imagined for a confit…
My sister and I had a bit of room in our stomachs to spare. Combined with the fact that multiple desserts caught our attention, we ordered three.
Raspberries and cream – The consensus is that this was our favorite dessert. We could not get enough of the texture and refreshing flavor of the lemon gelee. The raspberries, combined with ginger mousse, provided additional tanginess. The tartness was not too powerful, making this such a treat for the palate.
Cafe con Leche – Oh wow, was this rich! Milk chocolate-coffee cream, pear sorbet, and almond foam were served in a parfait-like cup. The pear-coffee combination worked surprisingly well. It was subtle and the flavor of the fruit made the dessert not feel so dense.
Chocolate cake – Not your typical chocolate cake, this particular dessert maintained a Latin flair through the use of lime ice cream and banana mousse. We all know that banana and chocolate pairs fantastically – and so does lime and chocolate apparently! The cake itself was a bit dry, but the dessert as a whole was good.
Overall, I was very impressed with the presentation, combination of tropical and traditional flavors, and selection of wines at Cafe Atlantico. Buen provecho!
Overall: 4/5 stars
Food: 4/5 stars
Service: 3.5/5 stars
Wine/Cocktails: 4/5 stars
Price was $75 per person, which is about the same as what the tasting menu (without wine) goes for.