Over the weekend we went with our neighbors to check out Peppermint on Lander Circle, the new Thai restaurant from the people who own Mint on Coventry. Sadly, we arrived way too early because they are not quite open yet. Which is how we ended up at Paladar.
The place was packed. In fact, I’ve never seen it so busy. My husband and I have both been there several times before, mostly for lunch and the occasional weekday dinner. While we were never the only dinners, the place was never this packed. We certainly never had to wait for a table, but we did on Saturday – an hour to be exact.
Since I wasn’t that hungry, thanks in part to two mojitos and the guacamole for the table, I ordered the butternut squash tortilla soup and Cuban braised beef appetizer with sweet plantains and aji-amarillo.
In previous posts, I’ve commented about the guacamole being rather bland overall, which is disappointing to have an independent Latin restaurant so close to my house that serves blah guacamole. I mean, if my sister can make outstanding guac, why can’t they? And this is something they tout, like the rum bar. In my opinion, you can’t hype something if it doesn’t deliver.
Since opening in August, it appears they have worked out a few kinks, and my guess is continuing to work out a few more. While I still wouldn’t call the guacamole great, it was definitely much improved. It noticeably had a lot more flavor, which alone is an improvement, but now seems to be lacking any avocado flavor. This is ironic because when I first tried it, I only tasted mashed fresh avocado – that’s it. No salt, cilantro, tomatoes, onion, etc. They deliver on the presentation, serving the popular appetizer is an oversized mocajete, along with yummy plantain chips. They are almost there if they could just figure out the guacamole.
While the guacamole may not shine just yet, the soup and appetizer sure did. The creamy soup was a bit smoky and packed with perfect butternut squash flavor. And I really enjoyed the toasted tortilla strips with each bite. The Cuban braised beef, which was so big I only finished half, was spicy, tender, and simply delicious. This is something I’d happily order again, and given the size, look forward to leftovers the next day.