I have been hearing about this little restaurant tucked inside the Northwood Foodie district for a while. Wednesday I finally got my chance to try it out and boy am I glad I did.
My first impressions were of a small, intimate place that invited me in and the warm welcome by the hostess and Co-owner and wife of the chef, Maria Villegas. I felt like she was inviting us into her home. She was so happy to see new diners and that we were referred to them by friends. She said most of their business comes via word of mouth. She gave us our menus and water and left us to peruse the menu. A few moments later, she returned with home-made, super crispy taro chips and a cilantro, garlic, olive oil. I could have eaten that all night long.
We started the meal with 2 appetizers. The first was the blue crab tostada. This is not any tostada you've eaten at Chili's. It was like a pretty treasure. The top was a crispy corn tostada with a profusion of jalapeno mayonnaise drops and a smattering of the spicy peppers. Underneath was a pile of crabmeat, lightly tossed with cilantro, relish and a touch of mayo. Maria recommended we make sure to get all the components together for a perfect bite and it was. I got the full flavor of the crab meat, a hit of cilantro, followed by a nice warmth from the mayo.
The second appetizer was awesome too. It was a watermelon, tuna ceviche. Now, I am not a fan of watermelon. It's a texture thing, too grainy. I was a bit skeptical I would like this. I was happily surprised! The watermelon and tuna were diced so uniformly I couldn't tell which was which. It was a festival of flavor, texture and lightness. The watermelon and red onion were crisp counterpoints to the meaty tuna and creamy avocado. My friend and I agreed we could eat appetizers and taro chips for the whole meal. Then again, we were too tempted by the entree's to stay on apps.
My friend ordered Lamb a la Barbacoa. The lamb was slow cooked and shredded. A pile of shredded lamb was topped with a tomatillo sauce. She wrapped it in a home-made soft tortilla and said it was heaven. I had to agree after my bite.
I had the Pipian Style Duck. The pumpkin sauce was delicious! It was sweet and slighty bitter which cut the richness of the duck beautifully. I ran every bite through the sauce. Now, if there was anything underwhelming to me it was the yellow rice served as the side dish. I didn't like the cilantro in the rice. I don't think this an issue with Table 427 per se' because other restaurants have done this and I didn't like it then either.
My friend had the white sangria with her meal and enjoyed it. I had the Grand Cru sauvingon blanc and it was great, well chilled and a generous pour. Everything was done with a considerate and generous hand. Chef Villegas checked on us several times and a couple times were while he was working in the open kitchen. Again, it felt like I was in their home. I love that.
We finished the meal with a shared flan. I know, nothing special about flan really. Not so at Table 427. The caramel was on the bitter side which we both wondered about but then Maria said try the whole bite which included a crumbled queso fresco topping. The salty queso rendered the caramel sweet without being overly so. This may sound strange but the queso lightened the dessert up. It was a fresh, salty, slight sharp note that just worked perfectly.
When we left, Maria and Chef Roberto were at the door to thank us for coming and invited us to return. Who does that anymore? They do! We are definitely going to take them up on the offer.
Two notes: This is an upscale dining restaurant. The prices are great but plan on $70+ per person with drinks and tip. The other thing is time. There is no rush here. Everything is made to order and there is some lull between courses. It is not a huge time frame but plan on spending 90 mins + for the entire meal. Like all great dining this is an experience not just food so slow down and enjoy!
Thanks Maria and Chef Roberto!