Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Visit to Paladar

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Usually once a week my wife and I hit a point where our work days were so busy neither of us feels like cooking dinner. Tuesday was definitely one of those days. Typically the "default, close to home, inexpensive restaurant" is usually Paladar.

I've read a lot of blogs that generally seem to hate on this place. The guacamole is bland, it's expensive, etc. While I don't profess to be a guacamole aficionado, I think it tastes good. I like the fact that they give you a mixture of tortilla, plantain, and yucca chips instead of the usual kind of tortilla chips.

We always order the guacamole and chips. Lately we've been getting, as well. As I've said before, I think that Boulevard Blue's calamari is the best. Paladar's is a spicier derivative of its brethren. Go ahead...laugh I think it's some good stuff.

One thing that really gets me is when people say that the portions are too small. Jeez, how much food can one person eat? We actually split an order of the Slow Roasted Pork "Cubano". I think the pork is quite moist and well seasoned. The black beans beans. Not much to report there. I think coconut mango rice is delicious. In the past I've tried to eat this entree in one sitting and I can honestly say that it's a chore. Pictured below is my half of the entree. Can you eat two of those?

Dessert? I think if there's one short coming here it's the desserts. What can I say? I just don't get excited about Latin desserts.

All in all I give this place it's props because it's inexpensive, tasty, and out of the ordinary.

December 24, 2008

Cal: Grilled Adobo Crusted Strip Steak - 14 oz Certified Angus Strip topped with Pickled Red Onion & Julienned Carrot Slaw served with Boniato Home Fries and our Balsamic & Red Wine Glaze

Regina, Mom, Aunt, Naked Chef: Slow Roasted Pork "Cubano" - Rum Glazed Pork Shoulder with Bacon Black Beans & Coconut-Mango Rice topped with Fresh Pico De Gallo

Cheesecake: Passion Fruit Glazed Grilled Pork Chop - 12 oz Center Cut Bone-In Pork Chop served over sauteéd Fresh Spinach and Adobo Black Beans topped with Handcut Shoestring Potatoes tossed in our Oregano Chimichurri

Father-in-law: Mojo Marinated Atlantic Salmon - Fresh Salmon seared on our Plancha Grill topped with Sautéed Zucchini Squash and served over Roasted Carrot Puree and Crispy Yucca Spaetzle with our Olive-Pasilla Sauce

Judging by what people said about their food it seems the only stinker was the salmon. I th0ught the steak was good, but probably wouldn't get it again. The pork cubano is always a winner. Pork chop was at least 3 inches thick!

Paladar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Time for Thyme

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My wife and I have long wanted to venture out to Medina and eat at Thyme. For me it was a trip down memory lane. For her it was a long drive listening to me talk about the good old days of growing up in Medina.

You see, when I was a kid growing up in Medina there weren’t too many fine dining options. Unless you drove to Akron and its suburbs you weren’t going to find too many “fancy” places to eat. Keep in mind in the early eighties I was 8-13 years old, so I wasn’t exactly going to D’Amico’s or The Mark to eat.

So where did preteens in the pre-boom era of Medina go to eat? While my city was short on fine dining we had an abundance of fast food options such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Burger Chef, Arthur Treacher’s, and yes…..Red Barn (check out the Red Barn link it's pretty surreal).

Red Barn may qualify as one of the cruelest jokes humanity has ever played on Nature. With it’s ubiquitous barn shape, 300+ of these buildings were built across the country. Unfortunately, the chain was put out of business in 1980 leaving communities to creatively find uses that range from restaurants, dry cleaners, car dealers, a church, and yes.... an adult bookstore.

Fast forward to 2006, John Kolar has transformed this building into one hell of a restaurant. I’m not going to get into his resume you can check it out here, but my interest in this place was peaked when I heard he was the first chef at Three Birds in Lakewood. Since I have so much love for Three Birds I had to try this place.

Before I forget, make reservations! It’s kind of small and the dining options in Medina still suck so restaurants like these are in high demand.

To start off my wife and I ordered the calamari. (Is it cheesy that we order calamari? Well, yes and no. If there isn’t anything that jumps off the menu at me we order this because I think it’s the canary in the coal mine. If they batter the hell out of it and throw a bunch of mayo-like sauce on it, it’s a pretty good indication the rest of the meal is going to be just as unimaginative. For the record I like Boulevard Blue’s the best.) Anyway, the calamari was very good and proved to be a good omen for things to come.

I ordered the Thyme Chicken and my wife ordered the Miso Glazed Halibut. I figured since the Thyme Chicken had the name of the restaurant in it had to be good. As it turned out it this dish was right on target. The chicken had a well seasoned crispy skin. Served with mashed potatoes and julienned vegetables it was a very large portion (not Cheesecake Factory large, but large for a nice restaurant).

The dessert menu is also a good value. Nearly every dessert was priced at 5 bucks! When was the last time you saw that at a decent restaurant?

It was too cold to sit on the patio but it actually looked very nice. If you go in the summer I'd request a seat out there.

The bottom line is that you’ve got to stop by this place if you’re in the area. Value wise this place rates high. It seems pretty clear that Kolar has successfully identified his market and has filled a massive void in the community’s dining scene, or lack thereof.

Thyme on Urbanspoon