Monday, October 5, 2009

Ibiza (Houston)

I had high hopes for this venue based on what I got at its sister restaurant Catalan last year. Most of it was a disappointment. Same high concept interior with loads of outdoor dining. Polished looking waitstaff. The first clue came when the server approached my table without a menu. Obviously I was expect to buy copious amounts of wine or cocktails before I even looked at a menu. He seem shocked that all I was drinking was water and I want my food right away. As the evening progressed it became evident why this was so. When you are three sheets to the wind you can't tell you are getting substandard food. That is why I am not doing a regular review on this place. It goes straight to the blog

That was no always the case. The soup below Basque Green Pepper and Crab was delicious. I had hesitated because I was think green bell pepper which might overpower the crab. I do not know what kind of chile was in it but emphasised the crab and the cream in it made it luscious
Now came the Crispy Calamari with Lime Sambal Chili Aioli. My first thought was. I am in the south who in their right mind puts a bread coating on squid. To me that's a northern thing. I will have to learn that when something says crispy to ask what it is coated with. Evidently some people do not think you can get crispy except with bread. The aioli was great but not enough to overcome the breading. I ate three pieces and put to be taken away. After I had eaten the next two dishes the server put this back in front of me and looked shocked when I told him to take it away
Pan Seared Foie Gras with Figs and Berries. This was great. Not much you can do to screw up foie gras except cook it down to a puddle of fat. Even these people know that. For some reason I did not photograph the next dish. Too excited to get my hands on some blood sausage. Local Goat Cheese with Morcilla Sausage and Sweet Roasted Beets. In a bowl dish there was a clump of the goat cheese. On the right side a grilled blood sausage cut on the diagonal. On the left a roasted golden beet cut into slices. Great each on their own and in combination.

Below is some Malpeque Bay Oysters with cocktail sauce and mignonette sauce. Malpeque Bay is at Prince Edward Island. I suspect that these were not wild harvest but farmed like mussels. They seemed very bland. Not any worse than Gulf oyster but certainly not any better for the price I was paying for them
This is Fried Chicken Livers with a Bacon Sage Aioli. Even though I had told the server my pet peeve about breading he did not see fit to tell me that the livers were breaded. If the aioli had not been so vinegary and overloaded with sage I might have got through them. I just pick over the coating and salvage what I could. Again I failed to take a photo. I get mussels so seldom I was excited to dig in and then so disgusted with them. They were small, fishy, and overcooked. What sounded like a wonderful combo smoked paprika and lemon was acrid. Not enough other liquid had been used.
I went with a Madagascar Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee. All the other desserts had ice cream on them. I like ice cream just fine but not on a dessert. I though a nice clean simple creme brulee. They could mess that up. But the did. In the spirit of up scaling they put a massive layer of berries (a few I do not mind) and then a layer of Brandy Snap Tuiles. I scraped all the la ti da and enjoyed my creme brulee.

It is highly unlikely I will ever go back here and I do not recommend it unless you like to get your drink and eat mostly bad food.

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