Tuesday, May 13, 2008
A Sneak Peek of Alma
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Hawks Cay was meeting San Francisco chef Johnny Alamilla and getting a sneak peek of his inventive Nuevo Latino eats at the soon-to-open Alma. The restaurant will be similar to the restaurant of the same name Alamilla helmed in San Francisco, serving what the chef terms "West Coast Latin cuisine." Lots of malanga, yuca, green chilis, and jalapeno. The chef speaks Mayan, Spanish and French and this type of cooking jives with his Mexican and South American roots. For this Duck Key outpost Alamilla plans to incorporate local produce into some of his signature dishes. He's got a delicate style but isn't afraid to use spice, which is always a good thing in my book. We tried:
- grouper ceviche marinated in lime and Florida grapefruit and mild green chili (below)
- grilled Cuban bread salad with shards of manchego, argula and citrus jalapeno vinagrette (above)
- pan seared duck breast, sweet potato flan, ancho chili black berry sauce
-dulce de leche pot de creme
All the dishes deftly balanced the spicy, tangy and delicious. I couldn't get enough of the sweet potato flan and the custard-like dulce de leche was a unanimous hit. All in all a nice indication of what is to come in the Keys.