Monday, March 21, 2011

Tastebuds American Bistro

If Vietnamese, Tex-Mex, and Mediterranean fare are all featured on the same menu, it often means that at least one of them isn't worth eating.  The opposite is true at Tastebuds, which I tried for the first time a couple weeks ago.  The diverse menu was beautifully executed and affordable, especially for the quality of each dish.  

On Tuesday-Thursday, Tastebuds offers a three-course, Prix Fixe menu for $18.  A glass of house wine is only $3.50 if you order a Prix Fixe dinner, and the red that I tried was very drinkable.  

In addition to the fixed meal, three of the four people in our group also ordered a small plate to start.  We sampled the "Duck-Leek Spring Roll with Ginger-Pear Dipping Sauce, " "Pork Adobo Taco with Mole Sauce and Corn & Black Bean Salad," and "Mozzarella & Basil Risotto Croquettes with Fra Diavolo."  All three had a satisfying burst of flavors and textures, and were prepared with fresh ingredients.  

I don't think I've ever been noticeably impressed by a salad, however, the "Spinach, Shaved Red Onion, Goat Cheese Crumble & Lemon-Parsley Dressing " salad was basic and perfectly balanced.  

For my entree, which could have been any off the regular menu, I chose "Crispy Salmon Pho with Rice Noodles, Snow Peas & Mushrooms in Lemongrass Broth."  The server warned us that there wouldn't actually be a lot of broth in the bottom of the bowl, so it wasn't so much a soup, but it was delicious.  I didn't detect a lot of lemongrass, but  I took about half of it home for dinner the next night, and added a little soy sauce and Sriracha to enhance the other flavors.  If I ordered it again, I think I would at least ask for a little hot sauce to wake everything up.  The salmon was tender and the snow peas were crisp, and everything was light and healthy tasting.    

I also sampled Davy's "8 oz. Organic Beef Burger with Yukon Gold Potato Hash, Sweet Onion Relish," which was heavenly, and the "Greek Sirloin & Shrimp Skewers, Cucumber Crema, Feta & Red Bliss Potato Cake, Sautéed Haricot Vert & Tomatoes."  The skewers were definitely the highlight of the meal.  The potato cake and cucumber crema provided an ideal complement for the succulent, well-seasoned meat.  

A chocolate crepe was the third course of the Prix Fixe, and when it arrived, I was so pleased with all of the food that I didn't think I could fit anything else in.  That didn't last long, of course.  It only took one bite of the thin chocolate crepe, with its warm chocolate filling, for me to switch gears into defending my dessert territory.  

Tastebuds won me over in just one visit, and maybe even with a simple spinach salad.  My advice is that you try it soon, and go with friends to sample as many types of cuisine as possible.  No matter the origin, you won't be disappointed.  

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