Location location location. If you are a local, you may have seen this place and wondered, "hmmmm I wonder what that place is like". Since it is wedged between Baskin Robbins and Rite Aid in the middle of Bonita, it has to try a little harder to impress IMO. And does it, you might ask? Keep reading, you decide.
You are going to spend a pretty penny by the time you leave. But, you will leave full and satisfied, if not happy. The flavors were good, ambiance is clean and elegant, and menu creative. We ordered 5 tapas and 2 orders of paella. Back to the ambiance--low lighting, cloth table cloths. Not exactly complementary to me busting out the flash on the good ole Iphone and snapping away. I was actually more furtive in my pic snapping skills. Like a blogging ninja!
So here is a bit of what we ordered in clockwise order: crusty french bread (complimentary), beer and champagne, Ahi Tuna Tostada, Papas con Chorizo ala Riojana, Fonduta con Chorizo, Beef Filet Mignon Carpaccio, Tacos de Cachete de Res, and Paella. For about 4 hungry adults with the above entrees and one champagne and one beer, the bill was like 92 bucks before tip. Can we take a second and admire the artistic vision that is my collage? I completely forgot how awesome photo editing programs can be!
The bread was a good starter. Crusty, chewy and the second loaf was just out the oven. Lets get to the nitty gritty. The tostada was small but good tasting. The guacamole was simple, the lettuce was like a baby green selection and the fish was fresh enough tasting. At nearly 4 bucks, not enough bang for the buck IMO.
The potatoes with chorizo had a nice spice to it. All the flavors melded nicely with each other and the components were perfectly cooked to taste. At 4.50, a bit better of a deal than the tostada but you still want to order something else if you get this. I cant remember if there was alot of chorizo inside which probably means there wasnt too many of those little critters inside.
Dont even bother with the fonduta. I was expecting a more smooth velvety cheese sauce, but really it just seems like straight up melted cheese with chorizo dropped into the pan. I like salt but this dish seemed to salty even for a salt-a-holic like me.
The filet carpaccio....actually pretty good! Not the best I had. That selection goes to this little so-trendy-I-seriously-might-puke place in the middle of Hollywood I went to a few years back. Best. carpaccio. ever. I think there was about 4 pieces to the order which seems fair enough at 6 bucks. The flavor was decent and it could have used a higher quality parmesiano reggiano shavings. Since I have only had this dish a few times ever, I'm not clear if the fried capers are standard. They were the hefty size capers and frying them gave a different texture and extra saltiness...interesting.
The beef tacos were very tender...that is the first thing I noticed. Deep beefy flavor here...duh! At 6 bucks, there was actually a nice pile of beef and hot corn tortillas to boot. It only came with a topping of salsa and white onions, which sucked for me since I hate onions that are shaped like circles.
The piece de resistance was definitely the paella. You cant tell in the picture but there was actually a good amount of non-rice bits in here. The menu said it has mussells, clams, shrimp, calamari, chicken, pork rib, and chorizo. I would agree. The rice was tasty, well seasoned and had a tiny kick that I enjoyed. At 19 bucks, it was one of the more moderately high priced items on the menu, but it was very well put together. Apparently award winning as well.
One quibble. Parking sucks due to the number of businesses in this shopping center and the small spaces. Also, some of the menu prices do not match what we paid on the bill. We were told that the menus need updating. If we were the more pushy type, we might have made a deal of it, but we are a peace loving happy bunch aka the less drama the better. All in all, a nice date place in a surprising location where there isnt a whole lot of eating choices.....