Thursday, December 27, 2012

Paladar Latin Kitchen

Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar in the Eton development on Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere has always intrigued me. I've heard many rave reviews over the years, but I just never seemed to make it in there for myself. It's hard when Pacific East is just next door, and they have some of my favorite sushi. However, the other night "R" and I tried to get into Pacific East for dinner, but the wait was going to be too long. So we found ourselves wandering over to Paladar.

Since it was my first time dining there, I let our server help guide our menu selections. We started with the Cuban Braised Beef Ropa Vieja with shredded skirt steak braised with tomatoes and spices, served with sweet plantains, pickled onion slaw, and aji pepper aioli ($11.95).
The beef had a nice, subtle flavor of spices and it was prepared so that it just fell right apart. There was interesting textures and flavor in this dish, but overall I wasn't loving it. It was good, but not great. A larger portion of this dish is also available on their entree section of the menu, and apparently it's one of the most popular dishes.

For my entree, our server suggested the Jalapeno Spiced Lamb Stew with lamb, hominy, and spices in a jalapeno-cilantro broth with cinnamon rice, crumbled queso fresco cheese, pico de gallo, and fresh herbs. Served with flour tortillas on the side. ($16.95)
First impression? SALTY! Like make-your-lips-pucker salty. Once the initial shock of salt subsided, the dish really did have great heat from the spices and the lamb was cooked well. I just couldn't get over the saltiness. When I went to heat up the leftovers at home the next day, I added a ton of lime juice and that helped cut the salt. Much better.

"R" ordered the Ocho Hora Braised Short Rib ($18.95), and to put it simply-- it was the blandest piece of meat that I've personally ever had. It was also tough, and didn't fall apart like a good braised short rib should. The smokey grits and spinach served with it were both really good, but even they couldn't save the dish.

Overall, our meal was decent (minus the short rib) but nothing that I'd want again. We felt that the meal was a little pricey for what we received, and that the whole restaurant has a "chain" atmosphere that just isn't what we tend to go for when dining out. If I'm in the area again, I'll stick to Pacific East.

Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar
28601 Chagrin Boulevard
Woodmere, OH 44122


Heather said...

I'm sad you had a bad experience - we LOVE Paladar! You'll have to try it again.........with me. :)

bonnjill said...

If you find yourself back there order the pork with the coconut rice. It's absolutely to die for. Also, you absolutely must order the guacamole of the day. No matter what it is it is always awesome. I think you should definitely give it another chance.

Sarah @ Cooker Girl said...

I had a similar experience with the food at Paladar. If I go back it would only be for drinks and guacamole. Those were very tasty.

Ben said...

We almost always order fish dishes or some kind of tacos when we're there, and we've always been happy with both. I do have a vague memory of ordering pork there a few years ago and being less than impressed, so I can see where you're coming from. Once we started looking at it as a place for guacamole, tacos, and fish/seafood, though, we starting really enjoying it.

Bite Buff said...

I appreciate the comments, everyone!

Nancy Heller said...

I have to agree with your assessment, BB. Though I've had a couple of nice dishes (and the guacamole is good), over several visits, I've generally found Paladar to be overpriced and underwhelming.