Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Indigo Grill - San Diego

No Blues about Indigo
Atmosphere: Neon warmth reading, Indigo Grill, in bold, scarlet font reflected off a silver exterior in direct contrast with the rainforest-esque essence pulsing through its woodsy dining room (a tree grew from floor to ceiling behind the hostess stand.) Indigo’s earthy appeal made me feel as if I’d fallen down a rabbit-hole and discovered a lost culture whose native cuisine was gourmet.

Appetizers: We might have needed a dictionary if our friendly server hadn’t helped us with “Indigo lingo.” Menus trimmed in copper offered a variety of unusual dishes with ingredients that peaked my curiousity as much as my tastebuds.

Oven roasted mussels and clams– were champions of the evening and a must order item for anyone who visits here. They were served with chipolte mojo, a broth so creamy and spicy it could masquerade as shellfish bisque (with a bite). When I tell you that this broth danced on the tongue, it sambaed. Served with parmesan, scallion flatbread (for optimal sopping) and shipped from Prince Edward Island (known for its ultimate seafood), these were the tastiest clams my bivalve-loving-buddy had found on the west coast. Even if you’re a little skeptical of mussels, this dish will put your mind at ease- small, plump and succulent.

Caesar salad - I'm a sucker for a good Caesar, though this variation didn't satisfy my needs. I loved the whole, grilled leaves of romaine and addition of fried capers, but the chipotle-anchovy creme wasn't my favorite and though I liked the fig jam and flatbread, it didn't quite connect with the rest of the dish.

Brie covered in pipian and plantains – arrived with accoutrements of every type heaped on the platter: grilled tortillas, scallion flatbread, mole negro, marinated nopales, roasted garlic and jalapeƱo jelly - great for sharing.

Entrees: Blueberry lacquered lamb chops – were a sweet and savory concoction delivering juicy, blissful bites, then upped the ante with a pot of gooey, cheesy potatoes that pulled on my heartstrings as much as they did my fork. Indigo must have slipped something in those taters because I felt my eyes getting heavy and landed in a comfort-food coma directly afterwards (counting lambs, not sheep.)

Pecan encrusted rainbow trout- topped with orange-pasilla buerre blanc, swirled crunchy bits of pecans with salty/sweet butter. Oven roasted potatoes and corn salsa didn’t add much to the dish, but the featured fish made up for it – quite the catch.

Pipian- rojo chicken – turned me off with its pungent flavor. “Just say no to rojo”, since the spices overwhelming the bird (stuffed with goat cheese, pancetta, dried fruits and arugula) made this chicken foul. I still had hope for the polenta cakes that had me longing for some pan fried goodness, but instead they only offered up tasteless squares of cornmeal.

Hickory & apple smoked pork ribs - were coated in a Morita-Kahlua glaze and full of fall-off-the-bone goodness. Not too smokey, plus their sweet and tangy zip from the caramelized Kahlua melded well with sides of Indian corn pudding and shaved pear salad with cilantro vinagrette and walnuts.

No comments: