Thursday was a big eat-out day for me. First, a lunch at El Gaucho with the Portland Concierge Association turned out to be a huge amount of food: lobster rolls, crab cakes, filet mignon, burnt sugar cream. Then, I had a dinner date with my dad.
Wow, Andina was packed; I'm glad we had a reservation. It was very smoky when I entered. Cook-fire smoky, not cigarette smoky. The booths lining the windows are a prime place to sit and watch the traffic on Glisan. However, being a two-top, we sat at a two-top in the middle. The service was very good, especially since they were so busy. Then again, this is Andina. They are always busy, so they must be used to it by now.
Dad and I started with cocktails: a mojito for him and a caipirinha for me. In case you don't know, a caipirinha is a Brazilian drink made with cachaca (sugar cane liquor), lime and sugar. In this case, it is "shaken ecstatically" and served on the rocks. Dad's mojito was fresh and minty.
After listening to the specials, we decided on some apps. We went with the special cebiche, made with red snapper, mango, onions and habaneros, and a half dozen oysters. The cebiche rocked! A perfect blend of tart and spicy, served with a slab of sweet potato on the side. Something crunchy would have been nice to break up the texture. The oysters came as a selection of tiny Kumamotos and another that I cannot remember. Instead of the usual champagne mignonette, Andina's oysters come with 3 little salsas. A cucumber one, a mango one, and a spicy jalapeno one (I think). I had a different salsa with each oyster and they all complemented the fresh, ocean-y bivalves in a different way.
For entrees, we continued with the seafood. He had the quinoa-crusted scallops with wilted spinach and potato parsnip puree, and I decided to go with two tapas, bay scallops with lime butter and parmesan, and also yuca rellena. I did not try Dad's scallops, but they were beautifully presented on a long, rectangular dish holding three scallops each perched on it's own little bed of spinach and puree. Drizzles of some sweet, red fruit reduction artfully decorated the plate. I imagine they tasted good, too. I had had the bay scallop dish before, but it had been served in the scallop shell the last time. I thought there was too much parmesan cheese melted on top. Too much parm is not good. It has a weird texture. So I scraped most of it off and enjoyed the scallops in the lime butter on their own. Next time, if I'm in a scallop mood, I will go for the other choice, the grilled diver scallops in lime butter sauce. The yuca was quite tasty, though I would've enjoyed more heat. I didn't realize the chile flavor was in the accompanying sauce until later. The yuca is really filling, and came as four, 4x2 inch "logs". I ended up giving one to Dad and taking the last two home. (By the way, what is it with servers not including the sauce when wrapping up your leftovers? Sauces are very important! Scrape that sauce into that clamshell!)
No dessert for us, although the chocolate-cinnamon cake sounded yummy. It was a very fun night overall, with good food and company. Thanks, Dad!
[photo from Andina's website]