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Slight Awkwardness + Great Food

December 7, 2009

Charcuterie Appetizer

This evening I present to you the third part of the Azul saga. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. Go ahead and read them. I’ll wait.

Caught up? Good. Before I go on to describe the events of the evening, I’ll point out that the entire meal was courtesy of the house. Rest assured that if there were things that weren’t good I would say that even if we didn’t pay for the meal.

One more piece of housekeeping: Kristine & I were a little self-conscious about the whole setup. We were having a hard time balancing wanting to try multiple things on the menu and being worried about the running up a huge tab since we weren’t paying for it. Sigh. Maybe next time it won’t be so awkward, but this time it was a little.

We arrived for our reservation and were seated right away close to a corner by the windows overlooking the pool area. Our server, Alex, came over fairly quickly for our drink orders. I ordered a glass of the French Maid cabernet and Kristine ordered…. the Spanish Guitar cab/tempranillo? It may not have been called Spanish Guitar, but it was a cab/temp blend. When Alex brought out the wine, he also brought out rustic bread with garlic infused olive oil and a sundried tomato tapenade. Normally, I’m not a big fan of olives, but the tapenade was mild and I really found myself enjoying it.

For our next first course, we ordered the charcuterie for two (pictured up top – $15). This appetizer consisted of ample portions of breseola, speck alto, an herbed goat cheese, piave, olives, pickled vegetables and a couple of breadsticks. Everything was good (I particularly enjoyed the breseola), but the presentation was a little bit lacking. We both agreed that next time we’d probably skip the charcuterie and go with hot appetizers.

Scallops on risotto w/dandelion pesto

We ordered two entrees that sounded good to both of us with the intention of sharing both. We selected the scallop di stagione ($23), which was described as ‘seared scallops over sundried tomato and caramelized fennel risotto with toasted pignoli dandelion greens pesto’. When the dish arrived, I was a little disappointed by the way it looked on the plate. It seemed as though it was plated in a hurry without much thought to the final appearance.

As far as taste went, though, it was a success. The scallops were nicely cooked and very lightly seasoned. The risotto was very good, with the rich flavor of the roasted fennel very much at the forefront. All of the components of the dish were nicely executed, but Kristine and I both felt like they could have been tied together a little better.

Tasty prawn friends

For me, the real hit of the evening was the special. Jumbo prawns with pearl onions in a lobster cardinal sauce, served with a paella risotto cake (~$27). The head-on prawns were beautifully cooked (and yes, I sucked the heads), the sauce was creamy with a little bit of spice and chunks of lobster, and the paella risotto cake reminded me of a crabcake, but with more delicate flavors. The only thing I could possibly fault would again be the presentation. The whole dish was basically orange/red, but I frankly didn’t care because it was so good. Oh, and the wine pairing we did with this one was great. We had a Geode Chardonnay from Santa Barbara, which had great honey & tropical fruit notes that were a nice counterpoint to the rich spicing of the lobster cardinal.

ChocoLava w/Hazelnut Gelato

Ok, finally about dessert. In the menu available online, they had listed a chili spiced chocolate torte with chocolate mint sauce and hazelnut gelato. It looks like they reworked that into a chocolate lava cake with hazelnut sauce and hazelnut gelato (~$10). Although I was looking forward to the chocolate/chile combination, the dessert we had was great (especially the hazelnut gelato).

The service from Alex was very attentive without being obtrusive or hover-y (not a word, I know). And when we had the one awkward moment of the evening (when he brought us the check!), he very graciously went off to investigate, coming back to let us know things were sorted out a few minutes later.

So the summary:
Very good food (though presentation slightly off), and very good service make Azul a place that we’ll definitely go back to.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Lori D permalink
    December 7, 2009 5:11 am

    Well now I'm convinced by what I've read by Part 3! I'll be giving Azul a try, just as soon as I'm done shopping for all those Christmas presents!

  2. Kevin permalink
    December 7, 2009 6:31 pm

    Hi Lori -I'm glad to hear that you're convinced! They're definitely worth a visit, so let me know what you think when you go!Kevin-TFD

  3. Jamie Montgomery permalink
    December 10, 2009 10:49 pm

    Went there last night-My husband and I started off with the oven baked goat cheese which was delicious-our server Chris sold us on it and we were glad he did. We ordered the ciopinno to share since we saw it featured in the desert leaf and I highly recommend it. The manager and the chef (both women!!!!!!!!) came by to different tables, and it was refreshing to see their enthusiasm for Azul. My in-laws are coming into town for the holidays so we’re definitely planning on a trip back-our server Chris also told us about some killer specials in their bar for happy hour.

  4. December 11, 2009 6:43 am

    Hi Jamie!
    Thanks for sharing your experience with Azul. It sounds like you had a great experience as well. I’m really glad to hear that you liked the baked goat cheese – I actually nixed that one when we were there in favor of the charcuterie, but I’ll make sure we try it next time we’re there!


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