I decided that I may also use this blog to talk about restaurant reviews. I have been to a few places worth writing about in the past few days and will visit more in the future, which I’ll also blog about.
Sambuca is in the Uptown area of Dallas. I went there awhile back when it was in Deep Ellum and it was more of a Mediterranean feel. The menu is somewhat different now than I remembered, and it’s not quite as Greek as it was. However, we did have a great meal there. We started with martinis. I got a bellini martini, which was tasty but not too remarkable, and my coworker got a key lime martini which tasted exactly like key lime pie. It was delicious. Not too tart, not too sweet, and the similarity in flavor to the actual pie was remarkable. I definitely want to order one of those on a return visit. Then we ordered two appetizers. One was calamari, which was light and not too greasy, and not rubbery like calamari so often is. We also had the beignets, which were savory, not sweet. They were filled with prosciutto, mozzarella, and jalapeno basil, with a balsamic glaze. These were terrific. I ate two, but could have put away some more as well. The proscuitto and cheese were the perfect blend of flavors and the glaze really added a nice touch. I am not always a fan of balsamic reductions but this one worked really well. Then I ordered the petite filet mignon, which was a nice 6 ounces (most small filets tend to be in the 8 oz range). This was the perfect size, really. It was cooked exactly right and came with some tasty au gratin potatoes and green beans. For dessert, we ordered the sticky toffee pudding to share. It was a toffee bread pudding that came with a candy cup (brown sugar, really) filled with ice cream. This was not what I would have chosen, since toffee isn’t often something I crave, but it was surprisingly good. I would order it again. It tasted rather like a spice cake with toffee sauce.
This is a Southwestern place on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, in Greenwich Village. I had looked forward to trying it for quite a while. First I ordered a mojito, which was perfect. Just perfect. It had exactly the right blend of rum, lime, mint, and sugar. Next I ordered the guacamole for an appetizer, which came with three salsas and blue corn chips. It was fresh and had a nice hint of cilantro in it. However, it did have a little much onion for my taste, but I am not a fan of onions in guacamole. The flavor of raw onions is too harsh, I think. Also, it was served on a bed of shredded lettuce, which to me is reminiscent of cheap Mexican places which serve you frozen premade guacamole slopped on a bed of lettuce. Why do restaurants do this to perfectly good guacamole? It gets all muddled in the lettuce and gets wasted. Good guacamole needs no lettuce or garnish, just the bowl it’s served in. Anyway. The tomatillo salsa had a good flavor and plenty of heat. Then I ordered the blue corn enchiladas stuffed with chipotle chicken breast. These were quite a disappointment. The tortillas had not been oiled, which was nice because they weren’t greasy, but this caused them to be very dry and tough and even crunchy. Not what you expect with enchiladas. The chicken was dry also. There wasn’t a ton of cheese in these, which I did appreciate. I liked the cilantro scented rice on the side. This place came highly recommended and I think I would return and maybe see if I should have ordered something else. In general I love Southwestern food and rarely find some I just don’t like. Some would say that New Yorkers can’t make good Southwestern food, but I disagree. Hello? Bobby Flay? Now NYC barbecue on the other hand…well, stay away is all I have to say about that.
I had been to John’s Pizza on 44th before but this is the original (I think!) John’s on Bleeker St., again in Greenwich Village. I had the pizza with mozzarella, sauce, and mushrooms. That’s it. I usually eat meat or other veggies on my pizza but I thought I would be a purist with this meal and see what I could tell about the basics of the pizza. This did not disappoint. I know that “what’s the best pizza” is a subject hotly debated among New Yorkers, and I don’t intend to get in the middle of that, but this pizza was extremely good. Nice crispy crust from the brick oven, fresh tasting tomato sauce and mushrooms, and nicely dispersed cheese that was just the right amount. Not Cheese City like some pizzas. Now I love cheese, but there is a limit and John’s has it down just right. I love the feel of this place too. Small, with old booths and carving on the walls. It’s a dive with really good food. My kind of place.