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Monday, July 26, 2010

Yerba [muy] Buena

Saturday night, we headed to Yerba Buena for what was to be a wonderful dinner.  I've been to Yerba Buena before, but I've never gone after the menu the way I did this weekend.  We discovered the maitre d' used to live in Savannah and soon became BEST friends.  Our new buddy hooked us up with a round of champagne and a black olive aioli and octopus crostini (pictured below), compliments of the house.  It was a great way to start the evening, but the best was yet to come...

We couldn't decide what to get.  Our solution: get it all.  We started with the ceviche mixto, a bowl filled with octopus, clams, shrimp...basically a seafood extravaganza.  Next up were the arepas, probably the best dish of the evening.  Two mini arepas arrived stuffed with short ribs, jicama slaw, and chipotle sauce and within seconds they were gone.  (Both apps are pictured below.)  For our entree, we ordered the short rib with pomegranate glaze.  And finally, we ordered two sides.  The hongos (mushrooms) were a great choice.  There was a drizzle of chipotle mayo sauce, which made for a earthy/spicy/creamy mix that excited my taste buds.  We also munched on the palmitos fritos, which were fried heart of palm sticks.  I had no idea you could fry heart of palm, but I'm glad they found a way.  The crunchy shell gave way to the smooth heart of palm for one interesting bite.  I also tried a bite of Mark and Allison's sweet plantains with truffle crema.  I would have thought the crema would be paired with savory plantains, but that dish only further supported my belief that everything is better with truffle.  

I washed everything down with delicious drinks made by friendly bartenders.  The Desert Rose was sweet with a lovely rose petal garnish and went right down.  I wanted to step it up a notch with the next drink and one with jalapeno caught my eye.  I requested a slight tweak (I wanted pineapple juice added), and the bartenders were happy to accommodate.

A couple tips: don't forget to go to the bathroom.  If you don't need to go, just walk in and wash your hands so you can read the rules.  They're cute and make Yerba Buena stand out a bit from other restaurants.  Also, they serve a great brunch with a sweet unlimited drink special.

I almost forgot how much I liked Yerba Buena.  Never again.  This place is remaining at the top of my list.

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