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Paladar Latin Kitchen - Cleveland


edsel
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Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar is the formal name. This is a new place from Chef Matt Mytro. The theme here is "Nuevo Latino", a modern and upscale take on Latin American cooking. There are South American, Cuban, and Caribbean influences - an interesting mix.

As the name implies, they have an impressive selection of rums, and create a variety of rum-based cocktails.

Pomegranate-Ginger Mojito

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This was well-balanced and had a sugar cane stick garnish. :smile: They also make a more traditional Mojito, which I didn't try. I followed this up with a Caipirinha - Cachaça and lime, with plenty of essential oils from muddling the lime wedges in the glass.

We shared a couple types of guacamole, one spicy and the other not:

Guacamole with three types of chips

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followed by a trio of ceviches:

Ceviches: Ecuadorian Shrimp, Tuna and Watermelon, Coconut-Lime Salmon

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And then a selection of appetizers shared by the table:

Tiny Tacos

Rum Smoked Mahi Mahi, Pickled Jalapeños, Malanga Boat

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Grilled Chorizo Papusa

Smoked House Chorizo & Chihuahua Cheese Stuffed in a Salvadorian Masa Cake served with Pickled Cabbage Slaw

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Black Bean Empanada

Latino Turnover Filled w/ Queso Fresco & Topped with Pico De Gallo & Smoky Aioli

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I think that everyone was pleased with the appetizers. I was expecting several of the dishes to be a bit spicier, but it all were flavorful and made with fresh ingredients. A good start to the meal.

More to follow...

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We had a hard time deciding what to order for our entrées. So many of the dishes sound really good. (menu is online here). I wound up getting the scallops:

Sofrito Basted Scallops

Roasted Cauliflower with Huacacini Sauce, Fingerling, Preserved Lemons

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The name of the sauce was spelled differently on the printed menu, so I'm not sure which is correct. Nice plump scallops, perfectly seared. The sauce had a strong element of turmeric (I think) to it, giving it a vaguely curry-like aroma.

Adobo Rubbed Tuna

Boniato Gratin, Crab & Jicama Fricasee, Jalapeno Basil Sauce

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Nicely seasoned rare tuna. I especially liked the vegetable accompaniment.

Caribbean Red Fish on the Plancha

Smoky Corn Grits, Watercress Salad, Mango Chimichurri

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Beautiful fish, but the real hit of the dish for me was the smoky corn grits. The smoke was subtle, but the grits weren't bland at all - terrific corn flavor.

I didn't snag a picture of the fourth dish, Grilled Skirt Steak Churrasco served with Sofrito Rice and Beans and topped w/ chimichurri. This was tasty enough, but probably the least exciting of the dishes we tried.

We barely had room for dessert.

Coconut and Caramel Flan

Coconut Custard, Caramel Sauce, Fresh Berry Garnish

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Cuban Bread Pudding Brulée

Rum Soaked Raisins, Diced Cuban Bread, Vanilla Bean Custard, Crunchy Sugar Topping

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Both desserts were well executed. I thought that the coconut custard worked quite well as a variation on the more typical milk-and-eggs flan.

The restaurant has been open for about a week now. I was impressed by the dishes coming out of the kitchen, and the service was good overall. We did wind up with the appetizers coming out somewhat sooner than we would have liked (we were still working on the guacamole), but that's hardly a major complaint. We just needed to juggle dishes around on the table to make room.

The decor is sleek and modern, with a high ceiling and banquettes lining the walls. There's a reasonable amount of room around the tables, which is nice to see - some "modern" places crowd the tables together more than I would like. Paladar is located at Eton-Chagrin in Woodmere.

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Well, I finally made it to a Matthew Mytro restaurant (I'm still waiting to get to Boulevard Blue - I was supposed to join a group there in June, but I fell on the driveway bringing in the mail just before we were supposed to leave, and messed up my knee).

For a restaurant open for only a week, the food and service were fabulous, though there were a couple of hiccups. I expect it will only get better! In my mind, I could not help but compare Paladar to Cleveland's other "Nuevo Latino" restaurant, Momocho (Momocho Photos).

As Edsel mentioned, we started with cocktails and guacamole. I had a "regular" Mojito, which was lovely:

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Cocktails are an area where the two restaurants compliment one another - Momocho emphasizes unusual Margaritas, whereas Paladar focuses on Rum. Viva la difference!

Next up - the guacamole. Though I have to give a slight edge to Momocho here - Paladar can also make this treat for me any day!

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The Regular

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The Spicy

I have to say that the chips each place serves are very different, and I like them all for different reasons. Paladar uses what their menu says is a combination of Plantain, Yucca & Tortilla Chips. If any of these were tortilla chips, they were very fine and a tad greasy. The Plantain and Yucca chips were excellent, however.

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The problem is that the chips couldn't stand up to the texture of the vessels in which the guacamole was served, so it was hard to dip them.

The server did not offer us bread service (and we really didn't need it, since we had appetizers coming after the guac), but we were intrigued by what we saw on the next table and asked for some. The rolls were fresh and warm (and helped in cleaning out the remainder of the guacamole!):

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For dip, Paladar offers something rather unique - Annatto Oil. It had a distinctive flavor and color:

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I won't repeat everything Edsel posted about the appetizers, but I wanted to add a couple of points. I ordered the Tiny Tacos - Rum Smoked Mahi Mahi, Pickled Jalapeños, Malanga Boat:

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I agree with Edsel that it wanted more spice. While the rum flavors came through distinctly, it also had a lot of mayonnaise flavor and texture that was crying for some hotter peppers to cut through it.

My husband ordered the Grilled Chorizo Papusa, Smoked House Chorizo & Chihuahua Cheese Stuffed in a Salvadorian Masa Cake served with Pickled Cabbage Slaw; I regret not getting a photo of it cut open to expose the yummy cheese, but this photo gives you a little more insight into the lovely sausage:

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Last, Edsel's Black Bean Empanada, Filled w/ Queso Fresco & Topped with Pico De Gallo & Smoky Aioli; here is a view with the tasty filling:

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I thought the appetizers were every bit as lovely as those I've had at Momocho, though I would have liked a little more heat.

On to the entrees - and again, I won't repeat everything that Edsel posted. I will post my photo of my Caribbean Red Fish with Smoky Corn Grits, Watercress Salad, and Mango Chimichurri:

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What made this dish for me, in addition to the absolute freshness of the fish (which in Cleveland one is never assured of until one digs in), was the sweet chimichurri. It was almost like a syrup, which complimented the fish and the grits perfectly.

Here is a photo of the Grilled Skirt Steak Churrasco, over Sofrito Rice and Beans and topped w/ chimichurri, which my husband ordered:

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The steak was perfectly cooked, and the ingredients harmonized beautifully. Again, though, we'd have liked a little more spice.

Finally, the Tuna Entree probably won the award for most interesting plating. Edsel's photo shows one view, this frontal view shows the lovely "fans" of tuna (which were quite tasty, if non-descript):

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The Tuna was fanned over a "Boniato Gratin", which you can see here is like a savory Napolean:

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It was all very good, but none of the flavors really jumped out at me. Edsel's scallop dish was fantastic - redolent of curry due to the generous application of tumeric.

No need to reprise the desserts, though I regret not photographing the bread pudding after we cut into it - the layers worked well together and it was quite a winner, as was the flan.

All in all, Paladar is highly recommended.

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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