I have been to Ciudad before, and while I have some unexplained soft spot for it (unique approaches, festive space, downtown locale, Two Hot Tamales), it's hit or miss. Undeniably so. And last night's experience exemplified this teeter-totter love it/hate it meandering. Lowdown coming right up . . .
Place: Ciudad, Tuesday, 11/8 - 7:30 PM
Myself + 1 guest (My co-non-fiction-writer guardian-angel-friend Val)
Ratings in brief:
Ambiance - B+ (tres cool space - as Val said "SO LA")
Service - B+ (super friendly, well-paced)
Food (Taste) - C (had one major ick-fest)
Food (Presentation) - B+ (nifty little add-ons/flourishes to most dishes)
Wine/Drinks - A- (love them Latin drinks)
Price - B
Overall Experience - B
We started the evening where any self-respecting alcoholic would - at the bar. I love the separation of this area at Ciudad - feels intimate and festive. Happy hour was winding down but the space was high-energy, and I love the design. Abstract paintings in yellows, oranges, and browns, comfy brown leather stools, and a smattering of tables spilling over with revellers. I ponied up to the bar and asked for a latin gem, but nothing heavy on the sugar (I love their Mojitos, but my Trainer, not so much . . .) - the very sweet bartender hooked me up with a Pisco Sour. Lightly sweet, frothy and smooth, and really tasty. It's a girlie drink without the frou frou, and I loved it - spot on perfect. We sipped and yapped and settled into our table.
Beyond the P-sours, I sipped a divine house Sauvignon Blanc - realllllly good stuff, but a less-than-generous pour. My friend couldn't resist my frothy mixed-drink, so he had one himself.
I had the Seared Calamari with Chorizo - it was served with white beans in a buttery, but yet strangely light, sauce - interesting combination, but it blended well. I can't say I adored the bean addition, but the chorizo with the sauce + octi - YES! High quality squid makes for one happy cat.
Friend had the Peruvian Ceviche - clearly the standout. So fresh, bursting with citrusy goodness, and with awesome plaintain chips - we both loved this beyond words.
I had the Tamarind Glazed Salmon with mashed Yuccas and a shredded cabbage blend. Cabbage was so-so, yuccas were so divine I can still recall the lingering velvety texture and subtle-sweet-yumminess, but the salmon was - bad. I LOVE salmon. This was not a quality issue, it was a preperation problem - first of all, very cold. Yuccas hot, salmon chilly. And while it was cooked medium rare, it was still icy in the center. Combine that with the way too sweet/salty tamarind sauce, and the happiness quotient plummeted. I ate me my yuccas, and pushed the offending salmon to the nether-regions of the plate. That'll teach it.
Friend had the Peruvian Skirt Steak, with a White Bean Puree. Cooked exactly as he requested (Med. Rare), and he raved extensively - well done on this puppy. Lesson learned in my book.
No dessert for us - the apps were SO large we just didn't have room. Even without my salmon consumption.
Will I go back? Yes, most likely, but I don't think I'll ever be able to order Tamarind glazed ANYthing ever ever ever again. Blech. Bring on the latin drinkies instead!
Ciao, 'Hounds -