Restaurants & Bars

Pacific Northwest

25 for $25 at Cafe Azul...

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Restaurants & Bars

25 for $25 at Cafe Azul...

Nick | Apr 2, 2003 01:34 AM

My wife and I each had the prix fixe dinner at Cafe Azul tonight. (See menu after asterisks below for fuller descriptions of dishes.)

Wife started with the sope. It was decent, though small. Not a fan of how they do their sope bases if that's how they usually do them. Not much more thick than a standard tortilla. I prefer them about a 1/4" thick so they're more substantial. It tasted decent, though.

I started with the soup. It was tasty but in need of salt (and Cafe Azul does not put salt on the table, you have to ask). Once I salted it a bit, the flavors came together. The mint is an excellent touch. No flavor overpowered the others. It went together very nicely.

My wife had the beef mojo de ajo for her entree. Very tasty, tender beef. Perfectly cooked on the inside and nicely darkened on the outside. The little cabbage/jicama salad that came with it was nice. The fries actually included not only yellow potatoes, but also yams, I think. I would have liked more pineapple and it cut up so that it would have been easier to make tacos with it and the beef, but it was tasty and an adequate serving. There wasn't much of a sauce to speak of that came with it. I really think Cafe Azul should provide a trio of salsas at every table with the dinners. It's standard in Mexico to have a couple of salsas always at the table even with breakfast. It's like ketchup and mustard at a burger joint or diner. And every Mexican-American place provides free chips and salsa, so a certain segment of people are already going to be disappointed that they are receiving bread and chile butter rather than chips and salsa.

I had the relleno. It was quite tasty. The mixture of potatoes, cheese, and mushrooms in classic in many cuisines and it worked here quite well. It goes perfectly with the roasted pepper. It's not a surprisingly good flavor like the first time I had chiles in nogada, but it's very good nonetheless. The salsa served with it, a smoky tomatillo based sauce, I think, went quite well with it and was very good.

My wife had the orange ice and I had the flourless chocolate cake. They were both on their own tasty (though mine was maybe a little small, a little larger than a brownie but much lighter), but together they made an awesome dessert. Loved going between the two, eating the rich chocolate followed by the bright citrus ice. Loved the tuile cookie, too.

All in all it's a fair deal with tasty options. You're committed to all those courses, but you know how much you'll spend and with Cafe Azul's prices being up there a bit nowadays (though competitively not more than Taqueria Nueve or La Calaca Comelona which are probably a little lower end in the finer points).

***

Premios

Ensalada Mixta: tender local greens with totopos, cotija, and sherry vinaigrette

Sope: toasted masa boat topped with alder smoked black cod, guacamole, and green onion

Sopa de habas: vegetarian fava bean soup from the hidalgo region with fresh mint, chile, and tomato.

Hot, cool and spicy salsas: ramekins of salsa verde, salsa chipotle, and sik l' pak served with house made chips.

Platos de Comida

Carne de rez mojo de ajo: Carlton Farms flank steak marinated in garlic and lime, thinly sliced, seared and served with jicama salad, pineapple and organic yellow finn fries.

Pescado en hojas: Fresh halibut from Alaska, wrapped and roasted in banana leaves with fire roasted poblano chiles and crema.

Tamales de puerco verde: Corn husk wrapped tamales filled with fresh corn masa and braised pork in a tomatillo sauce. Served with creama and escabeche.

Relleno poblano: fire roasted spicy chile poblano stuffed in a central mexico style with potato, vella jack, maitake, and shitake mushrooms and green onion. Served with a smoked chile sauce.

Postres

Coconut flan: marked with cream and served with a sesame cookie.

Bittersweet chocolate pave: a light flourless chocolate cake served with whipped creme fraiche.

Blood orange ice: served in a tuile cookie cup.

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