Jun 23, 2008

Guru - Lebanese Restaurant Revisited

Being as it was the weekend, the Critic's BH decided that the family should attempt to make a dent in the Guru restaurants Saturday buffet.

The buffet is a home made affair with the steam table ware a little haphazardly placed; as a result it's not easy to get to the food in some cases, which is also affected by the lack of readily visible serving spoons.

But the food is wonderful and everyone raved about it. There is a modest selection to choose from at the buffet but since it is Lebanese food, it is extremely filling and you really can't go nuts unless you are of course well-endowed in the digestive department. In the salad department, there is only one, a tabbouleh. The Critic assumes it is good, since the rules of engagement surrounding the preparation of a tabbouleh are beyond the scope of his knowledge base. There are two types of filled savory pastries; the one stuffed with leaves (grape?) and the other with meat. There is kibi crudo and bola. Garbanza and labne as well as berenjena aka eggplant. Rices abound. Cabbage rolls and little grape vine rolls stuffed with meat and rice.

It's all good! Tasty and homemade!

At $150 a head (not including drinks) it seems reasonable enough for the level of satisfcation that can be achieved for that amount.

Jun 21, 2008

Guru - New Lebanese Restaurant












Guru is a new Lebanese restaurant that the Critic and a party had a chance to visit last night. You may have seen this restaurant, lit up at night with a bar right on the street in front of the Mouriño Pemex gas station, beside the Famous All Star restaurant which the Critic hopes never to have to visit, near the Golden Island casino, Merida´s largest. Hopefully that whole spiel will help you locate the Guru restaurant!

Since it was raining, the party sat inside, a large, extremely noisy room since it is completely furnished in all hard, sound-rebounding surfaces. Conversation was difficult and at times it was easier to just ignore the conversation since it took a real effort to read peoples lips across the table.

Service was great, the waiters were friendly, funny and always there to take away plates and/or bring things. The food was good; appetizers were ordered al centro which means the center of the table and everyone helped themselves. The arrachera plate was full of tender beef and loads of grilled sweet peppers. The kafta, a lamb skewer was delicious and the party raved about the kibi crudo, a raw meat dish famous in Lebanese food that is prepared by the individual with olive oil, raw onion, mint leaves, salt and pepper and eaten with soft Lebanese bread. Kibi bola was delicious, as were the empanadas.

A few glitches: flour tortillas were asked for to accompany the arracheras, but they were out. At dessert time, the popular pay de datil - date pie - was ordered but the party was informed that it also was no longer available either. At that moment, the owner, a friend of one member of the party, showed up and when she heard about the pie shortage, informed the party that she would go to her house and pick a few pies that she had in the oven (she is the chef). The pies arrived a short while later and if you can imagine a pecan pie, but made with dates, then you have the general idea. Warm and tender and extremely flavorful, the pie was out of this world. And the fact that the owner went out of her way to get it was unheard of!

The Critic would give the restaurant a 4, based on the food and the service, and will be back to sample the menu! The restaurant also features a Lebanese all you can eat buffet on the weekends, so that is another reason to return!

Jun 13, 2008

The Casual Restaurant Critic in Miami

Florida that is.

Sometimes it's nice to get away and last weekend the Critic did just that, with his better half, and to get away they went to nearby Miami. The upside of Miami is that it is under 2 hours flying time away, a plus for the Critic who hates planes and the merest suggestion of turbulence. There is something unnatural about being at 30,000 feet, bumping around in a cloud bank, moving along at hundreds of kilometers and hour.

In Miami, besides the usual stops at shopping centers and malls, as well as just hanging out, there was some great restaurant sampling!

Shorty's BBQ - South Dixie Hwy, Dadeland Mall area





























The Critic loves barbeque and this is a down and dirty, high volume restaurant complete with long wooden picnic tables, concrete floor and paper bags for your bones. Fingerlicking good ribs and the corn on the cob hot ans sweet and drenched in something resembling butter. Mmm good!

Latin Café















Another standout was the Latin Café - a chain of restaurants - serving Cuban food in a Cuban atmosphere complete with supercharged mojitos and friendly/surly wait staff. If you are in the mood for a torta cubana this is one of probably a million in Miami where you can get a good one. Slabs of roast pork, Spanish chorizo, Virginia ham and melted swiss cheese in a crispy toasted pan cubano is unbeatable here. It's the Latin 2000 and it's a sodium bomb so make sure you have access to liquids later on, because you will need them.















On a second visit, the Critic tried the masitas cubanas, which are marinated and fried chunks of pork, succulent, chewy and oh so good. Served with pickled white onions, a huge helping of congrí and tostones (crispy fried bananas) these were absolutely scrumptious. Highly recommended for those days when you need real sustenance and a serious shot of bad cholesterol.















Latin Café locations are all over Miami - the Critic visited the one on LeJeune near the airport and another location on Biscayne Ave, near Bayside Market.

Sushi Samba - Lincoln Road, Miami Beach















Another place that is well worth a visit is Sushi Samba on the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall. While the rest of the party had some OK rolls, the Critic opted for the waiter's suggestions, called Moqueque or something along those lines, which was a delicious seafood stew/paella/oriental combination, piping hot and featuring everything from shrimp and mussels to cashews and sprouts. All kinds of spices and condiments and then there is a luscious tender rice in the middle to soak up all the goodness. The photo hardly does the dish justice.















The green tea also deserves a mention, since they serve it with a bit of crushed fresh mint which gives it a real refreshing kick.

The Critic's Better Half had a lemonade which was so much better than a regular lemonade that everyone at the table had to have a sip.

Try this link to see pics of the restaurant!

Nothing like a little trip out of town to refresh the palate and inspire one to write good things about food and restaurants. Enjoy.