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The Gossiping Gourmet: View, food worth a visit to Las Brisas

June 11, 2010|Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
(Don Leach )

Any restaurant perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, serving margaritas and nachos, is likely to be a gold mine no matter what the food is like, but to have a spectacular location and to offer excellent food as well is a rarity. We had not dined at Las Brisas for several years, having no out-of-town guests to impress, but our previous experience had been a good one, and we wanted to see if the quality of food and service was still in place. To our delight, we found everything to be better than ever.

Even on a busy night, the service was very attentive, and our waitress, Malena, was gracious and professional. If you have never dined here, we issue this warning: "Beware, the corn muffins!" These warm, spicy little gems come to the table before anything else, and it's very easy to overdo.

You can get your nachos at the terrace bar along with other casual food, but the dining room serves authentic Mexican coastal cuisine with a creative, contemporary flair. For example, the gazpacho, featuring a surprising dollop of tomato sorbet in the center, was one of the best we had ever tasted. This is not the chunky, cold veggie soup you might expect, although the delightfully fresh tasting tomato puree, with an undertone of spiciness, had some finely chopped cucumber and red bell pepper for a bit of crunch. The most intriguing element was the icy sorbet with a touch of tomato flavor and just a hint of sweetness. The experience of tasting cold and colder together was a tongue-tingling treat.

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Our camarones al ajillo appetizer was another inventive variation, this time on classic shrimp scampi. Three large, plump, perfectly grilled shrimp sat atop an interesting mélange of red beans, corn, yellow squash cubes and a little bit of garlicky sautéed spinach.

A delicate lemon butter sauce provided the final liaison for this tasty potpourri.

Fish and seafood are the specialties of the house whether you order from the menu section featuring favoritas de Mexico (traditional style Mexican dishes), which includes combination plates with seafood enchiladas, soft tacos, tamales, etc., or the especialidades, which are fusion style entrées like pasta with seafood or filet mignon in tequila-truffle glaze. Mero con tomatillo is halibut with tomatillo sauce from the especialidades menu.

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