I've been asked to give a report on Madre's, Jennifer Lopez's new restaurant in Pasadena, at the site of the old Pinot at the Chronicle. When I opened up the menu, I had visions of Ricky Ricardo's eyes bulging out when he used to look at bills he received for Lucy's shopping runs. The place is expensive. My entree at lunch time was $19, if I remember correctly, though it was a big portion. Anyway, on to the specifics:
the appetizers, of which we shared three, were so-so, except for the codfish fritters, which were salty and chewy and delightfully unusual.
For the entree, I had pastelon, a dish a Puerto Rican friend of mine used to make for me quite regularly. Hers was better. Pastelon is plaintains, ground beef and cheese (my friend's also has green beans) layered in a casserole. Madre's version was smothered in a thick kind of cream sauce that was overpowering but saved the pastelon itself from being far too dry.
By far the best part of the meal were the three desserts we shared. The natillas (sp?) is a sour creamy type of custard, and it was topped with a thin layer of just-singed meringue. Yum!!!! The tres leches cake was fine (hard to do that wrong) and the bread pudding was a gooey delight.
As for the decor, a lot of shabby chic chandeliers and distressed wood. Nice, but very girl-ly.