Friday, June 19, 2009

Prado restaurant- San Diego

Prado a No-Go
The ROY G. BIV of blown glass billowed like clouds beyond the doorway and into a swanky lounge. I was surprised I hadn’t made it here before, since Balboa Park’s ornate, Spanish architecture loomed only moments from my house, but then again, this was the type of fancy-schmancy joint that was only fit for special occasions where the wallet had to be ready and willing. My best friend’s mom was in town, so this was one of those nights.

Entry gave way to plush upholstery and dizzying hues of amber that were so rich, I felt full before I sat down. The hostess led us to a table directly in front of the kitchen door...hmmm. With over a week’s reservations and most of the restaurant empty? Not acceptable. They “found” us an open table in the adjoining room that was so lovely, it made me feel as if I could drawl, “The rain in Spain falls gently on the plain, doesn’t it dahhhling?,” and the grand theatrics would be perfectly acceptable amongst this Gasby-esque aura.

But then the food arrived and the mystique lifted. First came a small nosh of tasty flatbreads (asiago, seasame seed, “everything” version), but they were served with a thimbleful of white bean hummus that had the four of us staring greedily at each other, too polite to take the last scoop (at these prices? Cough up some more hummus, stingy.)

So instead, we set our minds on the menu, where my girlfriend and I decided to split the goat cheese/mushroom risotto and the short rib angelotti (a stuffed tube of pasta). But she started hording the angelotti as soon as I murmured the word, “rich” about the risotto, which was the understatement of the year. It was gluey and not a clean grain could be picked without the overwhelming abundance of mushrooms.

I understand its mushroom risotto, but enough already- know when to say when. There was a generous scoop of goat cheese on top, but instead of adding its usual airy tartness, it just created a dense, pasty blob of goo. Two bites into it, I was done (but still hungry.)And then there was my buddy, gorging on most of the short rib angelotti, but I didn’t have a smidge of food envy because the bite I had was dry, watery and under-seasoned.

The best dish of the night was the black bean soup, which was flawless (and can also be ordered during happy hour where you don’t have to empty your wallet.) Like a pretty girl with no personality, the Prado would be great to impress at parties, but you wouldn’t want to hang out otherwise.

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