Monday, 17 June 2013

Mi Casa by Jose Andres

Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve
100 Dorado Beach Drive
Dorado, Puerto Rico

(787) 626-1100

In her opinion:
I was flipping through a tourism magazine in our condo in Old San Juan when I found an article on Mi Casa by Jose Andres. I had actually pinned his restaurant on my Puerto Rico board on Pinterest; but, quickly forgot about it as soon as it was pinned thinking it was an impossiblity. Edgar, of course decided that it was a must try since we were on the island...he did the same thing with Eric Ripert's Blue at the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman.

We decided on breakfast(the restaurant only serves breakfast and dinner) and made a reservation. I'm glad we decided on breakfast as we didn't want to drive around Puerto Rico in the middle of the night since the resort is kind of tricky to find.

The resort is the Dorado Beach by Ritz Carlton Reserve and it's absolutely gorgeous. Jose Andre picked an outstanding location for this restaurant. Once we entered the resort property we were driven to the restaurant via golf cart (the preferred method of transportation at the resort) and greeted by a lovely hostess who showed us to our table in the bright open dining room. 

Having studied the menu prior to the visit, I had a very good idea of what I wanted to eat even before our attentive waitress came to take our drink orders.

I ordered coffee to start and the "Torrijas con Mango y Cajeta" or brioche French toast with mango and cajeta (goat's milk caramel).

I will start by saying that this was the best French toast that I have ever had in my entire 44 years of existence! Sorry mom! The custard soaked brioche was cooked to a golden deliciousness. It was topped with toasted puffed cereal which I had originally mistaken for some kind of nut. The cajeta provided the right amount of sweetness and richness. The mango added a lovely clean feel to the whole dish. This was perfection! It was extemely rich and filling. 

My overall experience at Mi Casa by Jose Andres was excellent. The service was impeccable, the coffee very good and the food absolutely delectable. I wouldn't hesitate on suggesting Mi Casa to anyone who enjoys a refined experience.

In his opinion:
The decision to try this restaurant was made in seconds and I'm very glad we made it. Jose Andres is a well known chef from Spain and famous for being both a pupil and a friend of Ferran Adria, the father of molecular gastronomy and the brains behind El Bulli. He came to the US, bringing his tapas and Spanish cuisine influences and has since opened many restaurants in the U.S. plus Mi Casa in Puerto Rico.

Mi Casa is situated inside the exclusive, ultra-chic, ubber expensive Dorado Beach Resort by Ritz Carlton Reserve. Getting to the restaurant is an experience in itself. First good luck finding it, as even some local cab drivers get lost on the way, although I was lucky enough to drive myself to it without a glitch (thanks to my wife the super navigator). Once at the gate, security resembles Fort Knox and you are simply directed to the parking lot near the  main lobby. From there it's a golf course ride through the lavish gardens to the beach side building where the restaurant is located.

Finally at the restaurant, a brief walk through the bar area and a turn by the washrooms, you encounter as huge room, well lit with floor to ceiling windows facing the ocean or the infinity pool area. The space is well appointed with a mix of tables and booths and a private room for small parties. For breakfast, they setup many tables of choices for what they call "the Breakfast Experience" ($70). We chose to order "a la carte" and missed out on the complimentary mimosas that comes with the buffet experience.

From the breakfast menu, the item that spoke to me was Huevos a la Cubana (Eggs Cuban style), described on the menu as just like Jose Andres' mother used to make. It consists of fried eggs in olive oil, with bacon, tomato in a bed of perfectly cooked rice. There is such a simplicity and punch of flavour about this Cuban export to Spain. A variety of flavours and spices enveloped every bite and I was savouring it all, very slowly.

The coffee served was good, not great but just good enough.The bill came in a little house (casa) adding to the theme/name of the restaurant. After our meal we strolled the ultra chick grounds of the Dorado Beach that serves as a backdrop for this gem restaurant by Jose Andres. I now know why he picked this place for his first island restaurant.

The Good: Amazing setting, great food and excellent service, things that are hard to find all in one restaurant.
The Bad: Location is a bit out of the way for non-driving vacationers or locals, especially getting to it at night for dinner.
The Verdict: Top notch resort with a restaurant to match. It's a great treat to eat at this restaurant and sample some of Jose's dishes. A must if you are visiting Puerto Rico. A must if you love good Spanish influenced food. Would love to one day return for dinner...and stay at Dorado Beach of course!

I give it 4 out of 5 Olives as rating

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