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Restaurants & Bars 1

Epazote - Del Mar

Gayla | Apr 7, 2003 01:23 PM

Yesterday was my North County day, I guess.

I had dinner last night at Epazote in Del Mar. Great view, nice setting, comfortable room. Indifferent service. Expensive, but portions are large (too large, in fact). 2 hours free parking in parking garage.

The friend I met for dinner had the ceviche starter and grilled swordfish for her entree. The ceviche came in an immense beer schooner topped with lots of chopped tomato and garnished with avocado and lime wedges and a generous serving of red, green and white tortilla. The portion was way more than either of us could eat. This was a meal in itself. I could not identify all the fish used, but it was fresh. I thought the seasoning was okay, somewhat bland. My friend added salt to nearly every bite. Her swordfish was a very large steak (probably well over 8 oz)of fish served over barely cooked (read, almost raw) green beans and carrots. There was a glaze on the swordfish, which I didn't get to try. My friend liked the fish, but could not finish all of it.

I had the lobster corn chowder to start and panko encrusted ahi tuna as my entree. The soup had lovely corn flavor and even some pieces of lobster, but not a lot of lobster flavor. It was served barely lukewarm. My piece of tuna was also huge, with good flavor, but too much panko. The tuna was topped with a nondescript fruit salsa that had neither bite nor zing, and come to think of it, no cilantro. The fruit worked well with the tuna, but would have worked a lot better had it had some distinctive zip to the flavor. The tuna was accompanied by the same undercooked vegetables and a timble of sticky rice that had been cooked in coconut milk. The rice was actually pretty decent. I couldn't finish all my ahi either.

We were not offered dessert or coffee after dinner, not that we would have had room for it, for we had far more food than we could eat between the 2 starters and the 2 entrees. Sunday night is not the best night of the week to eat out, and last night kind of proves why. The food was good, but not great, it had the potential to be really good. There were no weird menu ideas or combinations (and the menu is really LONG), but the kitchen's execution and attention to detail wasn't quite up to par. (And inspite of what A. Bourdain says about restaurants and fish on Sunday's, all the fish we had last night was pretty fresh)

Most starters were between $4.95 and $14.95. The ceviche was $10.95. My soup was $4.95. There was also a nice assortment of entree type salads in the under $10 range. Entrees ranged from around $11 to $24. The swordfish entree was $20.95 and the ahi was $19.95, which is really a pretty good price/value considering the portion size on each piece of fish.

I would be willing to go back and try it again, but I'd probably go for lunch or on a busier night just to see if the kitchen can execute the menu better than they did last night.

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