I’m eating a beef loin over a bed of mashed potatoes bathed in béchamel sauce with jumbo shrimp that leaves me with lots of questions, but above all this one: Is this how magic tastes?
The beef is juicy and has a sweet and sour taste with a hint of pepper that makes my mouth water as I chew. The shrimp is saturated with flavor from the sauce, which is just enough to not take away from everything else’s flavor. The mashed potatoes dissolve in my mouth like a melted marshmallow.
I had been told for months that I had to visit this place (they opened in April in Santa Cruz along the highway that goes from Nicoya to Liberia), but I preferred to give them a grace period of few months. It’s not true that every broom sweeps well. What is true is that in this first experience, previously agreed upon with the locale’s owner Solange Jimenez, everything was exactly as I had been told.
Besides the good food, one of my friends told me that the service leaves nothing to be desired. She went on Mother’s Day and the place was packed, so the food they ordered took forever to reach the table. After apologizing, the waiters gave them several free appetizers and drinks to compensate them for the long wait, and they were satisfied.
As I try the second plate, a grilled salmon with vegetables and mashed potatoes, Solange tells me that this is her father’s family business. Her dad, Eduardo Jimenez, has two fried chicken restaurants in downtown Santa Cruz. His brother and his son are also named Eduardo, so the name of the place is no mystery.
What was a mystery to me was the sauce that came with the salmon, which Solange said was made with kalamata olives. They compliment the salmon as if they were born together.
While this is not the place for vegetarians since the entire menu includes some type of meat or seafood, the broccoli and cauliflower that they serve as sides are cooked al dente with julienne carrots, onion and salted sweet pepper.
At first impression, people may think that it’s a fine, unaffordable restaurant. But there are options like the executive lunch special that costs ¢3.800 ($6.80) and includes a casado (typical Costa Rican plate usually consisting of rice, beans, and meat or fish) and a drink.
Red meats cost between ¢7.800 and ¢13.500 ($13.90 – $24.10) and seafood ranges between ¢5.900 and ¢8.500 ($10.50 – $15.20) per plate.
Solange says that when she sees her customers coming through the door what she hopes for is that they’ll come in and sit down as if they were in another country, another place far from stress and heat. I can personally say that this goal is met, not only because of the tasty meats and potatoes, but also because of a cappuccino I drank there that was so good that I haven’t found anything like it the entire Guanacaste coastal area. And there is nothing like finishing off a delicious meal with a good coffee.
- There are prices for almost all pocketbook sizes
- They have a parking lot for a few cars outside and there is plenty of space to leave your car in the surrounding areas.
- They use plastic straws
- They don’t include 10% service tax in the prices on the menu.