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Sandia report

Denis | Jun 24, 2005 12:48 PM

Went last night. Tried to go last Friday, but they were closed due to a leak, which apparently put them out of commission for about a week.

The place was sleek, with bright colors, and white marble tables. The latter seemed like a mistake to me, since they're cold and hard (also very heavy, making the tables hard to move). Menu is, as has been previously reported, Asian/Latin.

The menu was promising, but almost everything was too sweet. I'm a guy who can thoroughly enjoy a drink that other guys might scoff at as too sweet, but the cocktails we had were just way too sweet, muffling almost any other flavors.

We ordered what the waiter described to us as the signature appetizer, shrimp in a kind of creamy saffron sauce with pickled jalapenos wrapped in a crisp plaintain. The shrimp had the texture of chinese-restaurant crystal shrimp (maybe lightly fried in an egg batter?) and had a delicious, slightly crisp-firm texture. Sauce was tasty, though sweet, with the pickled jalapeno slices providing a nice contrast--though these were too few, esp. given the nice quantity of the shrimp.

We also ordered the salmon skin and bacon sushi roll, but the waiter (who was very sweet) forgot to put it in.

For an entree, I got the szechuan peppercorn-crusted sirloin with a sauce (described as shallot mirin reduction on menupages, but I don't recall if that's what it was on the menu) on a bed of fried garlic yucca batons. With the sirloin, all I could taste was the aggressively sweet sauce--no discernible szechuan peppercorn action at all, much to my disappointment, and the flavor of the meat (which seemed to be of pretty good quality, though I'm not an expert judge) was overborne too. Didn't notice the garlic on the yucca either.

My girlfriend got the plaintain-crusted mahi-mahi with fufu (like mashed potatoes, in this instance) and tamarind glaze. The fish was quite enjoyable, texture and flavor-wise, and the fufu was fine, but the dish was kind of a mess. The fish was kind of buried in the fufu, and there was beaucoup de fufu, giving the whole thing a mushy, porridge-y character that my girlfriend described as "predigested" and that I felt was just kind of unfortunate. And this was kind of sweet too.

As for desserts, they looked really great, but they only had one, which we didn't get. This was peculiar as the place had exactly one other party in it when we arrived at like 8:20, and didn't seem to have had a busy night up until then based on the phone calls I'd made previously. Perhaps they should be given a pass on this since they were closed for like a week and maybe had supply disruptions as a result, but apparently they'd been open since at least Tuesday, so I don't know. The woman on the phone was also rather abrupt.

In all, it was disappointing, esp. since I was psyched about the place. I wouldn't rule out going back though, since this was just one visit and may have been an anomaly, and since lots of stuff on the menu looked appealing.

Total for 2 with 4 cocktails and no coffee or dessert, prior to tip, was $98.

The place is on 17th between 6th and 7th

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