There are always lessons to be learned — and sometimes learned again — when dining out. One is: Never get your heart set on having a single dish. You never know, but the kitchen might be out of it, the menu might have changed, the chef might not be in the house — the variables are practically endless.
That happened to me Wednesday when I went to RoMo’s Café on Culebra for Culinaria’s Restaurant Week. I had looked at the three-course menu, and the image I had formed of the kale soup was so strong that I just had to have a bowl.
“Oh, we’re not offering that tonight,” the waitress said immediately after I placed my order. “Tonight we have a cream of asparagus instead.”
Bummer. It sounded good, but I went with the carpaccio, which is usually my first choice when I see it on the menu. And am I glad I did.
The plate arrived at the same time as the amuse bouche, which was a pair of lobster ravioli. Since the beef was served cold and the pasta hot, I ate the latter first, as it was meant to be. The ravioli were coated with a luxurious beurre blanc that matched the sweetness of the lobster meat. The pasta itself was too thick, however, and somewhat gummy where the sheets were pressed together. It was a slight misstep, and it didn’t keep me from focusing on the carpaccio.
Here was a beautiful plate on which chef Rob Yoas had arranged three paper-thin slices of raw beef in a ring around a poached egg yolk that burst open with just a touch of the fork. The deep yellow yolk ran around the plate, adding as much to the flavor to the exquisite beef as the salty capers that were sprinkled around the plate. I doubt the kale soup could have been that good.
From among four choices for a main course, including pork belly with beet mash and spinach or braised short ribs, I opted for the seafood cioppino, which featured a light, unctuous wine sauce with a firm piece of redfish that was perfectly prepared before being served over a bed of equally firm, briny and sweet shrimp. Cubes of potatoes, added to the stew perhaps in lieu of the mussels that don’t agree with me, were undercooked and went largely uneaten. An icy cold glass of off-dry Pinot Grigio, included with the price of the dinner, was a pleasant complement.
My choice for dessert was a Pastel Imposible, also known as chocoflan, which is chocolate cake and flan in one. Add English date sponge, as the menu called it, and a creme anglaise, and you have plenty of disparate elements that all seem to coalesce into a satisfying whole.
As much as I enjoyed the food, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention several missteps in the service, such as the one I mentioned earlier about two plates appearing at the same time. All were at odds with how sophisticated the food at RoMo’s Café can be. I mention this only because I’ve encountered the same problem at other visits there. Attention must be paid to more than the food.
Culinaria’s Restaurant Week continues through Saturday. Multi-course lunches are priced at $15, dinners at $35. The list of participants can be found by clicking the Culinaria ad at the top of the page. Where to next?
7627 Culebra Rd.