Hit Paladar with a couple of friends on Saturday night (made a reservation for 7:30 p.m. at OpenTable.com and were seated exactly at 7:30 p.m.). We decided to split a few dishes since we wanted to try a bit of everything.
First, we got a bottle of good red for $33; I believe it was the only Pinot Noir on their menu. We started with the argula and goat cheese salad with warm apples - I have to say it was one of the better salads I've had in a long time. There were four, small, fried goat cheese balls around the argula, and the dressing mimiced the thinly sliced warm apples that lay on the edges of the plate. It was the perfect combo of spicy argula, tart and crunchy goat cheese, and sweet apples - but they didn't overdo it with the apples and they were paper thin.
Next up we split the tuna tartar and the Sofritto Rock Shrimp. The tuna was fresh and perfectly seasoned, and was stacked with plantain chips. The plantain chips were just thick enough to hold the tuna without going soft, and they weren't sweet at all so it didn't interfere with the tuna flavor. I thought this was a relatively innovative idea since I've seen everything from potato chips (bad) to wontons with tuna tartar, but never banana chips.
The Sofritto Rock Shrimp consisted of a platain cake (about the size of a small coaster, but thicker) drenched in cream sauce and rock shrimp. The cake was a bit sweet and went well with the sauce. The sauce...I could have been perfectly happy with a loaf of bread and this shrimp dish and a glass of wine. Warm, creamy with a hint of shrimp flavor with good-sized rock shrimp. Needless to say, we kept asking for more bread to go with this dish.
We could have easily stopped there, but we had already placed our order so up next was their "famous" pork chop, and a side order of spicy frites. The pork chop was very thick and tender, but it was just good, not great. I'm not a huge tamarind fan and I believe it was basted in a tamarind sauce. In any case, the pork was definitey the most tender pork chop I've had in a long time. The frites were hot and crispy and the accompanying aloli was excellent, though not very spicy.
We finished the night off with a slice of their chocolate tres con leche cake. Moist, sweet, not too chocolatey (think chocolate milk) and perfect.
Needless to say, we fasted for the rest of the weekend!
The only downsides: The service was prompt and efficient, but our waitress was very cold - maybe that's just her personality but she should really try a bit harder to be nice. And the noise level was pretty loud...but we expected that.
Just a quick additional note: We went to Tokio afterward for a drink, and the wine I ordered was vingeary and the shochu my friend ordered "on the rocks" came in a water glass with tons of ice. We ditched the place and hit star shoes, and had amazing key lime martinis there. Next time, we'll skip Tokio.