after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Stop and Smell the Rosa Blanca

leave a comment »

t says:  It’s been a while since we’ve dined at a Jose Garces joint.  Sure, Amada will always hold a special place in our hearts, it’s a bit too pricey for “normal” weekend dinners (as is Tinto).  JG Domestic has pretty much fizzled out in our eyes.  Distrito’s a bit of a hike.  Village Whiskey is fun, but I can’t put away those shortrib-smothered-fries like I used to.  Garces Trading Co is pretty much dead to us now, after deciding to charge corkage, the disbanding of the market, and a previous bad experience. So now what?  Enter the new Cuban Diner inspired Rosa Blanca.  The crew met up a week or so ago and put it through its paces …

March 2014, Weekend Dinner, Party of 4.  The atmosphere’s cute.  Garces is trying to walk the line between a take-out business and a sit-down business, so the front of house has this come-and-go feel, while the main dining room is more “formal” … but don’t let that word scare you – this is not a formal place by any stretch of the imagination.  To be honest, it’s probably the most casual Garces restaurant I’ve been to.  I was happy to see children around – it really added to the diner-esque atmosphere!


I don’t remember what these were – I want to say they were the croquetes de jamon.  It’s funny because my memory fails me, but I do recall the urge to eat them forever, as they were fried to perfection and filled with oozy cheeze.  It was like a chicken cordon bleu … without the chicken …


Empanada de Picadillo with beef and green olives.  This empanada was fantastic – g’s not even an olive fan and she enjoyed her share of empanada with nary a crumb left on the plate.  v agreed that the filling was pretty spot-on (oh, did I mention that v is Cuban?)


You know, when it comes to bread, there’s either “yea, here’s some bread” or there’s “hey, check out this bread”.  This was much moreso the latter.  I believe this was yuca bread, and it was phenomenal.  The textures were just right, balancing an outer layer of crisp with an inside of some kind of intriguing gummy texture that I couldn’t get enough of.


Cordero al Caribe.  This guy stuck out as the oddest dish – I wasn’t expecting such a curry-ful lamb dish.  Maybe there is a secret Indian-Cuban fusion somewhere in the Cuban culture?  In any case, with such beautifully cooked down lamb and such depth of spices, I wasn’t complaining.  Best darn Indian-Cuban dish I’ve ever had (I apologize if this shows both my ignorance of Cuban and Indian cuisine).  In the background was that RIDICULOUS ropa vieja, with brisket and rice – it was insane.  Probably the best thing we ate – I declare g the winner of the evening.


Pollo a la Brasa: rotisserie chicken.  Once again, garces nailed it with a succulent chicken presented in such a casual manner that it looks like child’s play – seriously – after eating this, you wonder why it is you have ever come across a dry chicken before.  And, of course, well-seasoned, well-dressed, and nothing we wanted to change, as it really hit that home-made chicken note.


Masitas de Puerco.  Chunks of fried pork shoulder?  How could you go wrong?  You can’t!  Well – maybe you can, as there is only a limited quantity in the plate.  v confessed that she could have housed a heaping mountain of these guys (and maybe she has when her family has made it).  I would have liked to have seen slightly larger pieces this way beyond the crispy exterior would be more of a tender interior, this way you’d get some more textural contrast, but as far as flavors go, I got nothing bad to say.


Dessert smorgasboard!  You see the flan, which was ok (it was flan – nothing really to report there) as well as a a chocolate dulce-de-leche cake that vanished within seconds of being put on the table.  v went for the sorbet-shake-thingee and smiled for the rest of the evening.

In all, the gang was really happy with Rosa Blanca.  It’s definitely not fussy, not fancy, not pretentious Cuban-inspired cuisine.  v felt that there was a lot of faithful representations in there, with some notable exceptions (e.g. that curry lamb, and apparently there was one dish that was Puerto Rican, not Cuban, which for some diehards could be a point of contention).  The service was still working out the kinks and trying to hit the right balance of pace, smiles, and confidence in what they were doing.  Certainly the kitchen is doing a fabulous job.  I only hope that the uniqueness of Cuban cuisine is enough to keep us coming back for more.  It’s tough because the style of food is almost weeknight-ish, but done up a little (and priced up enough for) a weekend dinner … where there’ll be a lot of competition from the likes of Kanella, Mercato, and company.  I guess time will tell … but trust us – the food is good!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 April 2014 at 7:13pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: