Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hidden Gems of the Grey Lady - part 4

So it's rare that I'm ever excited to eat multiple meals at the same establishment during the same week.  One exception to this general guideline was the Corazon del Mar Latin Kitchen.  One of James' coworkers had recommended the restaurant for it's extensive tequila selection and fish tacos.  Although these both proved to be great additions to our meal, they were far from highlights on either of our visits.

Our Tuesday night began at James' company sponsored clambake... a bountiful array of overcooked seafood, dry chicken quesadillas and what may possibly have been the most horrible "clam chowder" I've ever tasted.  I'm a New England girl and I love my chowder... this was the consistency of oily skim milk with some bland potatoes floating in it... not even remotely what I consider chowder.  Needless to say our palates were not peaked and we decided to press onward after a few dark & stormys at the open bar. 

Enter Corazon del Mar... we began our meal with a dish of padron peppers.  Our server described them as a Russian roulette game of the pepper world.  Essentially one in every 20 peppers packs a punch with the other 19 having a mild, vegetative quality.  They were served slightly blackened in a light olive oil and finished off with a pinch of sea salt and lemon.  Super simple, but delicious enough that we not only ordered them again the following night, after returning home I made a two hour trip down to Watertown, MA to my favorite produce store to buy them and prepare them myself at home.

Our second course was a traditional scallop ceviche with siracha and fresh lime.  Clean, crisp and perfectly sliced which allowed the scallop to truly be the star of the dish. 

Next we had serrano ham wrapped mejool dates.  I'm not typically a fan of ham, but serrano ham is this delicious, bacon-like product that surpasses all that one would expect ham to be.  If you haven't tried it, add it to your bucket list.  The dates were stuffed with manchego cheese and guindilla peppers for a slight bite on the finish.  Overall, they were a really great balance of sweet, savory and spice. 

The true star of the evening however was the kobe beef and serrano ham (there we go the serrano ham again) stuffed empanadas topped with pomegranate seeds, arugula and walnut cream sauce.  Think of a personal-sized, deep-fried pot pie.  When you got all the components on your fork, they worked so well together that I really don't have words to fully describe the food-gasm this created.  The only downside... it was a one night only special. 

Aside from a few repeats, our second meal at Corazon del Mar was rounded out by the fish tacos that were our original impetus for visiting the restaurant in the first place, Mexican corn and fluke crudo.  The fish tacos were good, not incredible, but good.  The fish was incredibly fresh, lightly battered in Tecate beer batter and paired with a chipotle mayonnaise.  The flavors were crisp but couldn't compare with the empanadas. 

The Mexican corn was a very similar recipe to one I use at home quite often.  Fresh corn on the cob marinated in lime juice, cilantro and smoked chipotle spice, however theirs was topped with a creamy cotija cheese sauce making it a slightly less healthy version of mine but significantly more decadent. 

Against the prior night's scallop ceviche, the fluke crudo was the clear winner.  Both were expertly sliced and extremely clean, but the fluke had an amazing day boat freshness that couldn't compare.  Definitely worth trying!

Pair their incredible food with an extensive tequila list (including Maestro Dobel Diamond... a personal favorite) and you have a great find of a hidden gem.  This is one restaurant I can't wait to go back to!!!

**Side note: I apologize for the lack of photos, the lighting was poor and everything I tried to photograph came out too dark to post.

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