(Vanderbilt and Myrtle, Clinton Hill, though some think it's in Fort Greene. I disagree.) with Donovan, Dutch Robert, Zach Attack 2006, Nate and Heather. Donovan heard about their Tuesday night tapas special, which is three tapas and one glass of wine or sangria for $20, and invited all of us to try it out. I considered bailing on the plans due to the heat, but had to make it out to Brooklyn at some point regardless to check SHR and DMR's mail and water their plants (S - one of them is not looking so good), so forced myself to go.
On my way there, I ran into Heather on the C train at Jay Street - Borough Hall. She asked me what I was doing there and I told her about my dinner plans. She mentioned that she and Nate might be joining us, so I might see her later. Suffice it to say, I did! Upon arrival at the restaurant, I saw Donovan and Dutch Robert sitting at the bar since we had a fifteen minute or so wait. I was mad hot from my schlep from the Lafayette C stop (in hindsight, I should have gotten off at Clinton - Washington and taken the B69 down Vanderbilt), so suggested that we order a pitcher of rose sangria. I have never had a rose sangria before, but if you have read any of my prior entries from the last few weeks, you can probably deduce that I found it to be lovely and refreshing. Once the other three arrived, we still had about a ten minute wait.
Once seated, all of the Luz employees started acting really weird. I think it was because the hostess had us sit at a four-top, despite the fact that we were a party of six, with three of us on the banquette, two in the opposite chairs and one at the head of the table (me). As we were sitting, one waitress ran over and was like 'I don't think six people are really supposed to sit there'. Well, shit man, I don't think six people should sit at a table for four either, but that's what we were told to do. The confusion was cleared up and the waitress retreated. After a couple of minutes, our waiter stopped by and asked if we were ready to order, to which we responded that we would love to see some menus first. His response was KRIZZAY. He was like 'oh, the hostess just told me that you were over here and I had no idea what you needed'. Um, ok. There was also some debate about the sangria service, which I stayed out of entirely, as I was already feeling pretty weirded out. When our waiter returned with our menus, he seemed a bit less edgy. Phew. I blame the hostess. It sort of seemed like she forget to tell anybody anything about our table.
Anyway, I ordered the following:
Camarones al Ajillo (braised shrimp in garlic, chiles and parsley) – This is a classic. I've found that it is always tasty just by virtue of its ingredients. This time was no exception. The chiles were really nice and spicy.
Chorizo al Vino Tinto (sautéed chorizo with garlic, onions and thyme in Riojan wine) - Right now I have my right thumb at 8 o'clock, which from my perspective, looks like a partial thumb down, but very close to being neutral. The dish wasn't necessarily bad, but it just wasn't that good either. I am of the opinion that chorizo should always be GREAT.
Donovan and I shared the following:
Pinchos de Res (grilled beef tenderloin cubes served with red chimichurri and crispy yuca drizzled with mojo) - This may have been my favorite. The beef was very tender and succulent and the yuca had a very nice contrasting texture.
Braised ribs with a spicy mango sauce (for some reason I cannot find an official name or description for this) - Very delicious as well. For me, a close second to the beef tenderloin, though many in my party thought it was the best, hands down. The meat was literally falling off the bone and had been nicely seasoned with what tasted like West Indian spices.
Zach decided to go with the paella, which apparently was not very good.
I have mixed feelings about this place. Now that I know what to order, I'll definitely go back for the Tuesday night tapas special, as it is a very good deal. I don't know though, everything just seemed so hit or miss. Like, how could the ribs be so off the hook and then the chorizo so less than mediocre? Anyway, after we settled up, we headed over to Alibi (DeKalb and Vanderbilt, I think Clinton Hill, mentally at least if not geographically) for a quick beer. The bartender was absolutely smoldering. He looked like a dirty Clive Owen.