Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Pizazz with Jazz. When searching for an early dinner place, Dad & I noticed that there was FINALLY not a line stretching out the door of Sol Food in San Rafael, and took that as a sign that it was time for us to visit this personality-filled Puerto Rican food place.
First we were greeted warmly and instructed to make our choices, order and pay for our food at the counter, and sit down at one of the tables (many long communal ones) and wait for our number to be up. Not a sit down and be served type place. In the background was rather loud and jazzy Puerto Rican music to continue the ambiance that the bright green exterior started preparing you for. The silverware was in bucket on the table, and the napkins held down by a green plantain. First we started with bottles of Malta - a kind of molasses soda which really did taste of molasses. A new taste sensation, but not something I'd want every day.
Dad ordered the Bistec Encebollado, a thinly sliced steak sauteed with onions, served with rice beans, organic salad and a choice of two different kind of plantain creations. Each of of us chose one of each so we could sample. Tostones were the smashed green plantains (probably like the ones holding down the napkins) which were mixed with olive oil and garlic and fried a second time with a repeated mashing. Maduros were sweet plantains that just looked dipped in the deep fryer and holding their natural shape. The tostones were definitely crisper and did carry a garlic flavor. The maduros were good, but it felt like they should be dessert as sweet as they were.
And I ordered the Camarones Criollos, large fried prawns that had been thoughtfully detailed, served over rice with organic greens, a slice of perfect avocado with a lemon and garlic dressing gracing the greens. Very nice. I wish I could identify the spices to describe, but it was a nice melding and not too spicy. Friendly, tasty and well-prepared, it is recommendable to try this place. I have to admit it is so different that my usual taste that I wouldn't seek it out frequently, but it would definitely be in my list to go back occasionally when craving something tasty and out of the ordinary. And in my opinion (in the great color debate) the green building is PERFECT for this local and restaurant type.