Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Checked out a new restaurant tonight, SonJazz

Hello there,

I decided to start up a blog today. I mostly want to focus it on experiences and reviews of various venues and activities. Also it should make a perfect place for bitching and moaning.

Anyhow, we visited a new restaurant in Arequipa tonight. It's called SonJazz and is located in Cayma near the intersection of Ejercito and Cayma (on the Leon XIII side). It just opened up a month ago. The decor is top notch for Arequipa and the environment reminded us of some of the better restaurants/lounges in Lima.

The food itself was a bit lacking. The causa lacked spice, though the trout tiradito pieces on top of it were great. Too bad there is no trout tiradito in the menu. The empanaditas of cheese and mushroom actually had some cheese, but no mushroom. Instead they had lapas inside, which was a bit surprising. The overall flavor wasn't too bad, but the chirimoya cream sauce on them was much too sweet for me. Though I'm not a fan of many sweet empanadas.

It was supposed to come with pulpo al olivo, but when we got was something completely different. The closest thing I've had to it in the past was in France. The flavor was light and while slightly bland, it was enjoyable. Apparently this was based on a Greek dish.

The final part of our piqueo was pork ribs in a semi-sweet sauce. Their flavor was quite enjoyable, but there was a bit of lack of meat. The sauco sauce was very good.

The bar selection was quite good. There was a good variety of vodka, whiskey, bourbon, rum, and various specialty liquors. I had a Jack Daniels and the pour was quite pleasing. My wife had a Cosmopolitan which missed the mark a bit (and was a special order, not on the menu). It was too sweet and did not have and cranberry juice. Our second round was better. I had a Gran Cruz Mosto Verde. It was tasty and powerful. She had a nice Cabernet. All of the glassware was top notch for Arequipa.

The prices were extremely surprising for Arequipa. The best restaurant in town, the Trattoria del Monisterio, has prices significantly lower and food much more refined. Our 2 person piqueo was 70 soles. If the meal had been exquisite the price may have been worthwhile, but the meal was a far cry from perfection. For further comparison, 70 soles would get a 2 person parillada with beef, lamb, chorizo, chicken, pork, and more which would be sure to fill any 2 people. Our meal left us wanting for more, but a bit frightened by both the price and food quality. We decided to pass on another course and dessert.

Quality: 6
Flavor: 4
Presentation: 8
Selection: 6
Value: 0
Environment: 10
Overall: 4

Since the restaurant was new and local, we decided to talk to the Chef. She is a Greek woman, whose name I could not grasp after 2 attempts. She explained a good deal about the restaurant and that the assistant chefs were all new. It was their first night handling the kitchen without her. She told us that she encourages creativity and adventure in the kitchen. This explained a bit about our food. We didn't read the intro in the menu, but hopefully it was some sort of disclaimer. She explained to us that the local Chef schools did not provide enough raw materials for the students to really experiment and learn on. They generally graduate with little real experience. So she was working with them and allowing them some freedom to learn (though sometimes at the customer's expense, more so in the pocket book than the pallet). It sounds like this place could really develop into a quality restaurant with time, but it's a bit of a risk at the moment. I wish them luck in their endeavors.

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