Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Del Mar al Lago

Del Mar al Lago might be the best bang for the buck in Salt Lake City, assuming you are a "Cebiche yes" kind of person.  Given the buzz, I expected the food to be good.  What shocked me was the killer presentation and the best Pisco Sour I've had outside of Lima.  I'm going back soon to check out some of the non-seafood items on the menu so look for an update here.

We started out with pisco sours and, while the other drinks we tried were also worthwhile, we should have probably just camped out here.  Bitters dot the foamy egg white on top as you can see - these guys do it right.

We ordered two main entrees that would have been enough for 4 or 5 people, but we did our best to knock them out as a twosome.  First, the Jalea Mixta, which was a gorgeous plate of deep fried fish, seafood, plantains, yucca and salsa criolla.  This dish does an excellent job of giving you fried goodness to enjoy without overshadowing the quality of the ingredients hiding beneath.  I also didn't feel like I had been eating the Long John Silver's bucket special when I was done, so I'd highly recommend this dish even if you hesitate at the thought of a pile of fried seafood.

We also ordered the especialidad de la casa: Ceviche tres continentes.  This is a presentation of the three main ceviche options at Del Mar al Lago.  All would have satisfied on their own, but the plate includes the Ghandi, Chifa and Brasa ceviches.  Ghadi (top left in the photo) is the a fish, squid, shrimp, scallops and octopus cevice in a curried mango and cilantro marinade.  Chifa was shrimp, scallop, fish, squid and octopus in a classic citrus marinade with onions, yam, carrots, canchita and cucumbers.  The Chifa was our favorite (bottom right in the photo).  Finally the Brasa is a chipotle take on the base ceviche that added a smoke quality to everything - this one was perhaps the most interesting flavor but we ate the least of of it as I can only do so much chipotle.

My wife opted for a pisco take on the mojito (really good) while I felt like a Cerveza Cristal (not pictured). 

We wrapped things up with the chocolate lava-style cake that is spiced with chiles and added an interesting kick to a well executed classic item.  I wouldn't come here for the dessert, but if you're here, get the dessert and you won't be disappointed.

The verdict?  Del Mar al Lago is going to be on my top 5 list for the foreseeable future.  They are creating better, more beautiful dishes than so many others in SLC who are charging 2-3x as much.  Whether you want to do it up and spend all night or stop in for a quick bite, Del Mar al Lago is a good choice.
Del Mar al Lago on Urbanspoon

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