A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Restaurant Review: One and Three-quarters Thumbs Down

We ate last night at Sur Real, an upscale Latin-themed restaurant on Skyline Drive near La Costalotta. Reviews have been good, and the promise of Cuban flavors excited us. I knew we'd made a mistake when I couldn't hear the hostess welcoming us because of the loud "Latin jazz" band that overwhelmed the room. The band did sound vaguely Latin, although the only tune I really recognized besides The Girl from Ipanema was The Days of Wine and Roses with the rhythm distorted.

The partial thumb up is because it was South of the Border wine night, and all the South American and Spanish wines were $5 a glass. I had a Spanish garnacha and an Argentinian white I can't remember the name of, and Dad also fared well. They were all delicious.

Because of the band and the cheap wine, the bar was filled with younger people, and they were having a good time. It was definitely a mismatch for us--all the old people like ourselves in the place (Tucson is full of them, they're everywhere) had strained expressions on their faces, and were frowning and cupping their ears when the waiter spoke to them.

But, the food: We had acceptable empanadas for an appetizer, filled with chicken and sweet potato. I ordered paella and should have been alerted by the mention of arborio rice. Indeed, it wasn't a pilaf at all, but a leaden risotto dotted with little shrimp, cubes of chicken breast, and some salami-like sausage chunks which I swear were flavored with Liquid Smoke. Small clams sat on top. The thing weighed a good five pounds--its remains sit in the refrigerator as I write, like a doorstop. Dad's a good sport and will eat it for the next several lunches. Pray for him.

No comments: