Saturday night, Adam and I headed into the city for a much needed date night (thanks Bubby for babysitting)! After hearing many good reviews, we were eager to finally try Alma Cocina Latina. We walked in for an early(ish) reservation and were told our table wasn’t quite ready which is usually a big pet peeve of ours. We grabbed drinks at the bar while we waited and I got a refreshing margarita with salt and red pepper on the rim. When our table was finally ready the host was very apologetic which I appreciated. I know restaurants get busy and can’t always anticipate when a table will turn over, but there is nothing worse than getting seated 30 minutes late without even an acknowledgement. Thank you for NOT being like that Alma Cocina!
Once we were seated we game planned our order. Everyone talks up the arepas (which are delish), but we were delighted to see the menu has so much more that just arepas. Our waiter also gave some helpful recommendations that we took into account. He did ask us to order our whole meal at once, which also usually bothers me, but the restaurant paced everything perfectly.
We tried a dish from each section of the menu which was fun! We started with the tostones del diablo – crispy, savory plantains with cheese and sauces. These were very tasty and plated beautifully. Per our waiter’s recommendation, these came out with the tartar del mar. The tartar was probably my favorite thing we ate. It was half salmon and half tuna with crispy quinoa and mango and pineapple purees. The mango flavor really came out and paired perfectly with the fresh, cool, raw fish.
For our next course we had to try an arepa, the signature doughy Venezuelan dish, sort of a cross between a pita and a pancake, baked at Alma Cocina on a special cooktop behind a back bar. I was bummed to hear that they were out of the short rib option that evening but we decided instead to get one with chicken, steak, chorizo and egg. It was so good! Not as photogenic as some of the other dishes and you have to accept that it will be a little messy but it is well worth it.
Next, we shared two entrees: the crispy octopus and the polenta. I feel like it’s a sign that everyone is enjoying themselves when your entrees arrive and the guests at the tables on either side of you all lean in and ask what you ordered. I mean, look at that presentation, I get it. By this point in the meal, I was super full and couldn’t manage more than a bite or two of the entrees. Both were really good and unique. Adam brought the leftover polenta home and had it for breakfast the next morning!
If I had to rank the dishes I’d say:
All were delicious and beautifully plated and I hope to make a return trip and try even more of their offerings!