Thursday, August 19, 2010

NYC: Calle Ocho

In town for a short visit with my brother and sister-in-law, who took me to this Latin-themed place near their home on the Upper West Side. Active and crowded bar and front room was no surprise, but walking back through a corridor leads to a cavernous high-ceilinged room that looks like it might have been a temple of some exotic religion in a former life. Hard surfaces, but fortunately the high domed ceiling keeps the noise level to a tolerable level.

After a long day for everyone, we started with a round of drinks: pisco sour for me (tasty, if not particularly sour), cosmo for Ilene, strawberry mojito for Steven. I tasted both of the latter and they were certainly OK if not memorable.

It was restaurant week in New York and with 3 appetizer and 3 entree choices we just made life easy and picked one of each. Appetizers included bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese (the best thing I ate there), some fresh but rather bland ceviche, and some kind of potato croquette (quite bland). Main courses included salmon (predictable...farmed, no doubt), a flattened beef with crispy potato sticks (quite delicious...same texture as good Chinese double cooked pork) and carnitas with mashed potatoes, which was OK but a little fatty and bland.

Desserts were acceptable to good...unremarkable chocolate cake, rather doughy doughnut balls, and tasty coconut ice cream in a chocolate shell. The first two served with good ice cream on the side.

Good value for $35 on the RW menu, and not a bad local place, but hardly a destination. On the other hand, maybe the regular menu is better and it's not really fair to judge a place on the basis of a single RW experience.

No comments: