We ate at Valannis last night -- we actually wanted to go to Nan or Ventianne in West Philly since we had a concert at Irvine but both are closed on Sundays. So we switched taste buds from Asian to Nuevo Latin.
We each got a mojito. They were sweet and cloying with no hint of either lime for bitterness or soda for lightness. Just rum and minted sugar water. Since its on the drink menu, we'd expected the bartender would know how to make them.
We shared a crispy shittake polenta cake with garlic shrimp, feta and pine nuts. This was to die for. The texture and flavors were just wonderful together. We also shared a green salad of bosc pear, spiced cashews and roquefort. Very good combination of quality ingredients, although the salad would have benefitted if they used half of the dressing they did.
For an entree we both got crab cakes. We're normally sharers but we were both feeling greedy about this dish, which we saw many other people order. It was $20, which is completely in line with their other entree prices -- although we did have to ask. We should have shared. We got lots of lump crabmeat and little filler in the crab cake, but there just was not enough contrast to the dish to keep our interest for the whole thing. It was served over a bed of saffron rice and a few vegetables, the carrots were not really cooked and didn't really work with the crab anyway. While the crab was decent quality, having grown up with Maryland blue crab, anything else, whether from Thailand, South America or South Carolina does tend to fall short. All told, with two glasses of wine our bill was $92 before tip. The service was fine.
This is the second time for both of us, and we will go back since its in the neighborhood and we have had some really good things there. But we agreed that next time we would probably stick to the appetizers, since they were great the first time we ate there too. I am interested in trying the duck breast, however, since other hounds have said good things about it.