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La Sombra

January 26, 2011

Sit back, relax, have a margarita.  That’s what I did this past Friday night at La Sombra.

This eatery is located in the Rosedale neighborhood on Burnet Rd, a centrally located spot that is easy to get to from any part of Austin. La Sombra’s menu is heavy with Central and South American fare featuring pisco sours, yuca, pulled pork, cebiche, empanadas, and (my favorite) plantains.

Atmosphere:  The decor was clean and modern with a South American touch. The ambiance was cool and intimate, perfect for grabbing a cocktail with a friend during happy hour or for reserving a table for two on date night.

Drinks:  The drink menu includes beer, wine, and cocktails.  For me it was a toss-up between a pisco sour and a margarita, and I ended up with a margarita.  My boyfriend ordered a fig and basil martini.  Although we enjoyed the margarita, we agreed the martini tasted little of fig or basil. Next time, I’ll try one of the pisco sours, which seems to be their specialty.

Food:  I’ll preface this by saying my love for plantains is almost as deep as my love for sweet potatoes and butternut squash.  I could eat them every day of the week.  I had my appetizer planned hours before leaving my apartment.  So for starters, I ordered fried sweet plantains (top, left picture). Yes, they were fried, but they didn’t taste unhealthy.  Instead of being breaded like most fried foods, they were fried with cola.

Next we ordered the braised plantain soup, cebiche del dia (with red fish being the fish of the day), and grilled quail skewers. My favorite was the soup.  It had just the right amount of starchy hardiness, spice, and sweetness to satisfy my appetite for plantains.  The cebiche was fresh and light, spicy and citrus-y, just like a cebiche should be (I’d recommend getting the degustacion de cebiche, a tasting of three). The sauce served with the skewers is a must-try.  I thought it tasted of olives or capers, but we were told that the unique flavor comes from huacatay, a Peruvian herb.  Whatever it was, it was good.

Service:  The service was great.  We were greeted right when we came in the door.  We opted to sit at the bar and the bar tender was knowledgeable about the menu and ingredients used in the dishes. Most importantly, our food was brought to us in just the right amount of time.

Price:  The drink prices were a little high ($9 for a fig martini that didn’t taste like fig), but overall everything was priced right for this type of establishment.

Overall:  4/5 stars. I’d go back again, there are still a few menu items I’d like to try!

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