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2008-04-15 4 views
Ever since Iteco took over where Kabuki Lounge used to be right here on 8th floor of LKF Tower, I was determined to pay a visit. It is, afterall, a place that offers "Mexican cuisine". While friends are raving about the selection of Tequilas and flavors of magaritas at Agave, I am more concerned about the food i"m going to get. I had in mind a list of usual suspects to order-- tortilla soup, mole Poblano, Quesadilla, tacos and a Mexican rendition of flan (ever so lightly flavored with cinnamon).
Arriving at the dining room at lunch on a weekend. The dining room is spacious with a peachy orange walls and matching chairs. There is a dance floor opened every night with live music. An open bar with attentive bartenders who greet you with warm grins. We strolled past the wooden Aztec calendar and arrived at our table, right in the middle of the dining room.
We had water instead of magaritas, after all I was there for the food itself, I'd like to stay sober for at least a little while longer before I show my moves on the dance floor over imaginary tunes... I looked at the menu, and we promptly ordered:
Taco chips (Free) -- come with a fiery red salsa, guacamole (with lime juice!) and pico de gallo (a chunky salsa with onions, coriander leaves and tomatoes)
Tortilla Soup ($50) -- Served on an elongated plate with a warmed bowl on one end and garnishes on the other. I could see fresh chunks of avocado, Mexican Crema, strips of tortilla chips and grated cheese. A jug of steamy hot soup is then poured into the bowl, as a stream of liquid crimson poured in front of us, steaming with the smell of roasted tomatoes and smoked chilies. One sip, and we recognize the freshness of tomatoes at first as the residual heat from chilies linger in our mouths. Impressive start of the meal.
Sopersitos ($85) -- tartlets made of corn tortillas with different fillings. There were black bean puree with chicken, and ground beef with more black bean puree. While bean puree tasted bland and tortilla crust seemed to have gone stale for some reason, it was the wilted lettuce shreds that gave away a tacky presentation. It's not the best, but at least got our appetite up for more.
Enchiladas Rojas ($85) -- Chicken Tortilla Roll with fresh cheese and tomato sauce. Think Cannelloni Mexican style. The sharpness from tomatoes is offset by the freshness in the sprinkles of Queso Fresco (fresh cheese). Chicken is moist but tortilla rolls were too tough to be cut open. It took enough strides with a sharp knife to separate the pieces. But overall the flavors are well balanced.
Pork Loin in Green Mole ($185) -- the only main course we ordered. Served with warmed tortillas (again). To my knowledge "mole" consists of a blend of spices cooked down over a period of time to create this thick sauce. There are often uses of nuts, dried fruits, stock and chilies in it. This dish was a disappointment though, as the green mole turned out to be a smooth puree of salsa verde with a faint taste of tomatillos and coriander. Pork loin was cooked nice and moist but it did predictably taste like chicken. Side vegetables were laden with butter and didn't taste like vegetables either, more like something soaked with butter and tossed with mashed potato.
We looked at the dessert menu, the flan was nonexistent, while corn cakes were rumoured to be dry and crumbly in one previous review of this restaurant. A short selection of desserts offered few authentic Mexican indulgences but more mainstream sweets like ice cream.
While the food was on par, it was the service that got the extra star. It is worth a visit in the evening to check out its music and dance, while you sip one of the cocktails du jour.