The loaf reported earlier this month that chief booze alchemist Paul Calvert had left Sound Table, a restaurant I’ve written about a few times and profiled during a recent week of cocktail field trips. Though it’s a loss for Sound Table, I feel like they are still in good hands with Navarro, who I should note is actually who took care of us on my previous visit.
It’s a nice coup for Pura Vida though, which has a nice bar, and could now become quite the destination for drinks. There wasn’t a seat a the bar at 7:30 last night. And the food has become very interesting at Pura Vida over the years. It seems that I see more imaginative, varied, and overall delicious dishes there on each visit. There have been some standouts during my two visits in the last week, notably the oft mentioned pork belly on pillowy sweet coconut buns, and the blue tilapia pictured below.
From the menu: Tilapia: pink salt demi cured, palm hearts, fish sauce air, wasabi dots, aji amarillo shiro-miso aioli
Now, sometimes I find that some dishes just have too much shit going on, or that sprayed sauces and foams all over the plate is a visual distracation in an attempt to make things exciting and aesthtically pleasing, but the various components don’t necessarily elevate each other. Even if the spicy wasabi dots didn’t work with the lush hearts of palm beneath each piece of lightly cured tilapa (they do), it’s a well presented dish that I think would impress the majority of those that order it before they even take a bite.
In this case the pungent, intense, and umami rich sauce may sound like too much is going on (fishey foam mixed with chili laced miso mayo, really?) but both times I’ve had this dish every drop of the sauce has been mopped up with each texturally pleasing bite of the amazingly clean tasting tilapia and hearty palm. I really like it, especially at $8.
The avocado with lime “caviar” and a spicy dipping sauce was a nice mix of simple flavors and textures – creamy avocado with crunchy chorizo chips (not pictured) plus spicy and acidic sauces to balance it out. It is also really, really good. Healthy too.
Katie had a tofu dish that we actually didn’t enjoy, the smoky flavor was too intoxicating. A fried cheese and celery dish also had ingredients that were out of balance in our opinion. Which just goes to show, don’t be a vegetarian.
Fried churros with chocolate cappuccino for dipping – $5. Hot fried dough with chocolate, you could guess that it was tasty.
And of course, cocktails – The Socialist and North to South. I didn’t write down what’s in them. Whisky, port, bitters, yadda yadda. Both recommended.